The twist of discovering crimes while on mundane duty as security brings a fresh new plot concept. Perhaps season 5 of Pie in the Sky, the concluding season of this series, is the best of all. Goodbye to DI Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths) but not without a full season of tasty plot recipes. Viewers will not know from these episodes that season 6 did not happen (I wonder if the cast knew.)
Maggie Steed (`Clatterford') is back as wife Margaret and prominent in action for each episode. Malcolm Sinclair as ACC Fisher, always in Crabbe's face, never lets up. Nick Raggett (Henderson the veggie grower and kitchen help) as well as Nicholas Lamont (Chef Gary) return as well. Some new faces fit in so well they seem like regulars from the start.
All 8 episodes have SUBTITLES and multiple plots of crime and restaurant action. If you are new to "Pie in the Sky," I'd really recommend beginning with Series One and then continuing through all 5. But it is NOT necessary, just sit back and enjoy the humor, detective work, characterization and interaction. The cast is like family.
1 SQUASHED TOMATOES: Begins with Henry ordered to head of the Public Duties Squad, or private security team. Help is not the former Cambridge, but now W.P.C. Morton (Mary Woodvine-`Space Precinct') and PC Guthrie (Derren Litten-`Perfect World') and fill the spots well for 7 episodes. Area residents target the new development Crabbe's crew must protect. Meanwhile, Henderson's Green Zebra tomatoes don't conform to gov. reg's. In the kitchen, Gary dislikes Nicola's replacement, Sally (Marsha Thomason-an early look at this big-yet-rising star).
2 UGLY CUSTOMERS: Crabbe's team must protect a jury of a fraud trial. Jury intimidation gets very confusing, and includes foreman Dunfries (Keith Barron-`Haggard'). A restaurant customer threatens a legal charge. Crabbe seems to be coming and going, as always.
3 PORK PIES: A meat factory & animal-rights investigation offers surprising Trubbs sausage stuffing facts. Rich widow Julia (Sheila Gish-`Highlander'), Margaret's friend, struts her stuff for a dishy young broke pilot (Julian Wadham-`Middlemarch'). 2 spicy plots for Crabbes to deal with. Watch this one with a banger (sausage) sandwich.
4 CUTTING THE MUSTARD: Henry's team looks for bullies at a boarding school. They discover something being made in the school chem. lab. Gary concocts his own compound in the Pie in the Sky kitchen. The mustard could go national. Both locations get spicy before all is spread in the open.
5 RETURN MATCH: Fisher wants Kirk, aka DC Thomson (Neil Stuke), ex-pro, playing for the police soccer team. But Kirk has a drink problem and is suspect in local crime. Crabbe's team finds much more to do than football.
6 THE APPRENTICE: Is a new teen kitchen help, $$ theft, and teen disappearance connected? Crabbe tracks Nicky to a violent gang. An evil female instigator of the gang is played by Kelly Reilly (`Poldark' `Sherlock Holmes'). Nicky gets new job training--this time with the police. You get to see a short but sweet ballet dance by twin little girls.
7 IN THE SMOKE: Mr/Mrs Crabbe holiday in an ex-cop's empty London flat. Margaret finds a packed suitcase, a phone message warning, and a corpse, while Henry finds a hiding killer. On the savory plot side, the restaurant temporary help comes in the form of a bickering spouse duo. Kevin (Benedict Sandiford-`Garrow's Law') is squabbling with wife Carol (Nicola Walker-`MI-5' `Touching Evil') causing Pie in the Sky ruckus.
8 SMELLING OF ROSES: Crabbe can't smell or taste. But something still doesn't smell right when fisher orders an investigation of a businessman. Why? For what? Another HUGE steak and kidney pie is presented for your visual feast without a recipe, or smell-o-vision. It's criminal! And what will happen to the restaurant and staff for this final episode of this final season? I'll not SPOIL the fun.
It's is sad that history proves Pie in the Sky did not continue after this season. Sad, as all 5 seasons were quite enjoyable. Top notch, bully entertainment pastry! A different drama mix of crime mystery and food fun. Well worth owning, and a return to series one for a full 5-series repeat viewing. Entertainment as BIG as Crabbe's BELT.