I recently finished watching the first six seasons of the British television series, Foyle’s War.
IMDB (the Internet Movie Database describes Foyle’s War like this:
It is 1940 and Britain stands almost alone against the might of Nazi Germany across the continent. The terrors of nightly bombing raids are only matched by the fear and hysteria of the population at the prospect of the seemingly inevitable German invasion. It is in this environment that Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, of the Hastings Police on the south coast of England, works. Denied a transfer to the war effort, Foyle is nonetheless forced to confront the darkest acts of humanity on a daily basis. With his official driver, Sam, and his subordinate, Paul Milner, Foyle investigates murders, looting and theft, crimes of opportunism, crimes of war, crimes of passion and crimes of greed, because crime isn’t stopped because of warfare.
Foyle’s War follows the exploits of Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle on the southern coast of England during World War II. Foyle is a veteran of the ‘Great War’ who tries unsuccessfully to rejoin the military. Instead he contributes to the war effort through his police work. Foyle is masterfully played by veteran actor Michael Kitchen in an understated fashion that’s a joy to watch. In addition to being a great show, this is a wonderful study of how a society responds to ‘the end of the world as we know it’ (TEOTWAWKI)…if our society was faced with the same threats and deprivations as Hastings, England was in the early war years, I’m afraid there might be rioting in the streets.
Most episodes center around two interrelated storylines, one of which is usually directly related to war preparations, war deprivations, war profiteering, etc. Essentially, Foyle and his colleagues have to deal with the frayed edges of a society under a great deal of stress.
The stories primarily take place in Hastings which is on the southern coast of England roughly halfway between Brighton and Dover. During the war years this part of England was subjected to fear of Nazi invasion in addition to all the other deprivations that England suffered during the war years. The stories feature treatments of the effects and workarounds necessary for food shortages, material shortages, labor shortages, diet changes, family separations, personal loss, Axis bombing, Prisoner of War issues, racial tensions, technology’s effects on society (and warfare), war driven moral relativism, changing social mores including the entry of women into the work force. Simply put, the Hastings of Foyle’s War is experiencing a TEOTWAWKI event where everything has changed from how people cook (butter and meat shortages), travel (petrol rationing and rubber shortages), work (all production converted to war material production) to how they live (anti-hoarding laws, few consumer goods available and blackout curtains required).
Each episode is a reminder that when placed in stressful situations some rise to the occasion and some try to take advantage…this show focuses on a society that needs a moral compass like Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle.
My daughters joke with me that I don’t enjoy any movie or television show where they don’t blow things up…which they do a bit of in Foyle’s War (it was called the Blitz after all) but it’s a remarkably low key drama/whodunit…and it’s nice to watch a police procedural without a heavy reliance on science or Hollyweird science as the case often is.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 22 episodes of Foyle’s War that are currently available and can’t wait to see more. It’s a pleasure to watch a show that’s so well filmed, well acted and is also largely free of salacious elements. Additionally, I love the design elements from the forties. The uniforms, the suits, the hats the vehicles (all museum pieces which explains why there’s never a dirty vehicle in the show), and even the aircraft.
This is one to watch for the acting, for the history, for the stories and for the study of how people react to the TEOTWAWKI. Check out Foyle’s War…it’s available free for streaming video for Amazon Prime and Netflix members…and is well worth the cost of membership in and of itself.