Videophiled: ‘Foyle’s War’ – The final mysteries

Acorn

Foyle’s War: Set 8 (Acorn, DVD) – Foyle’s War debuted on British TV in 2002 as a mysteries series set on the homefront during World War II, where the cool-headed, rational Inspector Foyle (Michael Kitchen) was assigned to investigate domestic crimes against the backdrop of life during wartime. British TV long had a tradition for mysteries set in the colorful pre-war past, from Sherlock Holmes to Poirot, but this show started a vogue for darker stories in less glamorous settings and troubled times. It became a favorite in both Britain and the U.S. (where it played on Masterpiece Mystery), was revived twice after cancellation, and carried on after the show brought the war to an end war with Foyle working for the secretive MI-5 to fight the Cold War.

This set presents the final three episodes of the show, all scripted by series creator Anthony Horowitz. Set in the late 1940s, each mystery is a fictional take on the real life events and social realities of the era. While Foyle cuts through the tangled politics of crimes that reach beyond the borders of Britain, his assistant Sam (Honeysuckle Weeks) and her husband Adam (Daniel Weyman), an idealistic Member of Parliament struggling to make a difference, take us through the social and political situation of post-war life for ordinary citizens. Horowitz also takes the opportunity to explore Foyle’s superiors at MI-5, who slowly put their trust in his intelligence and sense of justice in a culture of compromise and secrecy.

In “High Castle,” the murder of a translator at the Nuremberg war crimes trials leads back to an act of treason in the war. “Trespass” deals with the conflicts over the emigration of Jews to Palestine and the rise of a Fascist party stoking anti-immigrant anger in Britain. “Elise,” the final episode of the show, weaves the story of a conspiracy within the intelligence service reaching back to the war with black market activities in the present, and it ends the show in a way that leaves the door open for yet another revival. It could happen. Horowitz has said this is the end but in the featurettes he’s careful not to close the door entirely.

On DVD, with “The Truth Behind the Fiction” interviews between Anthony Horowitz and historian and series consultant Terry Charman that explore the real-life history behind the stories among the supplements.

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