DVD Review– Foyle’s War: The Complete Saga
With television drama seemingly infatuated with deeply flawed antiheroes, Foyle’s War stands out with a protagonist who never wavered from his moral compass. When the series first started in 2002, it began as a really good historical mystery series, opening in the early years of WWII, when the outcome of the war was very much in doubt. As it progressed, Foyle’s War became increasingly deep and profound, attacking corruption, dishonesty, and evil in all aspects of public and private life.
The central character of Foyle’s War is Christopher Foyle (the superlative Michael Kitchen), a police detective who is considered too old for military service but who eventually comes to realize that his role solving murders on the home front is crucial to keeping the nation safe. Honeysuckle Weeks is a consistent delight as Samantha (Sam) Stewart, Foyle’s driver, enthusiastic investigative partner, and honorary daughter. Anthony Howell gives a terrific performance as Paul Milner, Foyle’s right-hand man who was severely injured in the war. Howell is absent in the last two seasons, and his presence is deeply missed. Other recurring characters include Ellie Haddington as the intelligence agent Hilda Pierce and Julian Ovenden as Foyle’s son, Andrew.
Most episodes feature murders, though the clueing and plotting are rarely as strong as the acting, writing, production design, and moral messaging. The great theme of the series centers on what happens when people compromise their ethics. The morality of wartime tends to put what is easy or effective over what is right, and Foyle is constantly at odds with all levels of society that insist that ends justify means. That’s the real conflict at the heart of the series—not even the war against Nazism and later, the Cold War against communism, when Foyle is drawn into the world of espionage in the final seasons. Foyle’s War is one man’s battle to be a single candle of virtue in a dark world of iniquity and corner-cutting. The series consistently emphasizes that we can’t do evil in order to bring about good, and each episode is a powerful indictment of the morality of expediency.
This complete series contains all twenty-eight episodes, along with special features. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment for fans of great mystery and historical drama.
Foyle’s War: The Complete Saga