"Foyle's War, Set 5" is now being released to coincide with its Public Broadcasting Service television debut. It is the last of a British historical drama/police procedural series, created and largely authored by Anthony Horowitz (Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Definitive Collection; Midsomer Murders Set 12, for which he deserves our unstinting praise and thanks. It's been just superb, as each episode has combined a mystery, most of them reasonably strong; and solid history, insights into the little-known problems and domestic scandals of the British homeland during the years of World War II. This set of three all new feature-length episodes brings the story to 1945, as the war finally winds down, and Foyle and his team do their best to prepare for uncertain futures. And, thank goodness, the set has been closed captioned.
Michael Kitchen (Out of Africa;Reckless) has played the title character, police detective Foyle, with distinction since its premier on PBS in February, 2003. It has been Foyle's burden, although he would have much preferred to be more actively involved in the war effort, to investigate civilian crimes in the small, historic English seaside town of Hastings; a town obviously directly in the German line of fire. Kitchen has been quoted as saying he could see no future for a series to be entitled "Foyle's Peace:" thus, the series comes to an end.
Kitchen has received strong support from Anthony Howell (Shadowlands) as detective Paul Milner, and Honeysuckle Weeks (Falling) as his driver Samantha Stewart. Julian Ovenden (Cashmere Mafia - The Complete Series) has played Foyle's son. The three, approximately 100 minute episodes are:
Episode 1, "Plan of Attack." set in April, 1944. Milner's unyielding investigation of a transportation fraud has far-reaching consequences. They are most noticeable at a nearby, secret mapping facility; and an ecumenical religious conference, held at Hastings, that is considering the historical question of the morality of the continued Allied bombing of Germany. Featuring Michael Jayston (Nicholas and Alexandra); this is an estimable episode.
Episode 2,"Broken Souls," set in October 1944. At a nearby psychiatric clinic treating troubled soldiers, a doctor's murder turns up a satisfying amount of skullduggery among patients and staff. It also complicates Foyle's friendship with Dr. Josef Novak, the Polish Jewish refugee who heads the clinic; illuminates the situation at homeland German prisoner of war camps, and considers the problems of soldiers returning home after years away. It features Phyllida Law (The Winter Guest; and Graham Crowden (Waiting for God - Season 1). Some may find this episode slow, but I found it very emotionally fulfilling.
Episode 3,"All Clear," set in May, 1945, as all Britain waits for formal announcement of war's end. Foyle is pressured into joining a high-level local committee to keep public order during the celebration to come. But that end comes too soon for two men; the one, a victim of a stabbing, the other, apparently a suicide. As has sometimes happened during this series, the villain is rather overt from the beginning. Still, a shameful, covered up wartime incident is exposed, and the problems of returning soldiers are considered, as are the problems of everyone wondering what they'll do in peacetime.
All good things must come to an end. Still, this series has been highly acclaimed and popular, on PBS and DVD. If you've been a loyal viewer, you might want to get your order in.