“It’s Oxford, isn’t it? No shortage of people who like ill-informed rants.”
Oh, didn’t you know? Lewis is back in Oxford.
Well, actually. He’s recruited from a rather cliched Old Detective’s Retirement of DIY and wistful staring out of windows back to a stretched Oxfordshire Police where Hathaway, newly promoted to Detective Inspector, is busy making himself unpopular with the sergeants and investigating the murder of the owner of a shooting range –
– Look, you do know that those are the university offices and not the police station, right? Good. Just checking.
Anyway. Lewis is back. Talk about flogging a dead horse.
Maybe that’s slightly unfair. I do still have a soft spot for Lewis, as a Murder Mystery with an air of intelligence (even if that air is, after all, only an effect generated by the presence of the city of Oxford), and I’ve always liked the dynamic between the introspective, Oxford-educated Hathaway and his more streetwise superior: not more or less intelligent, rather a different kind of intelligence. Of course, that dynamic gets upset somewhat in this new series, which is…interesting, I think, as neither is quite clear on who is leading the investigation (Lewis being only a kind of helper, whose close relationship with Hathaway somewhat annoys his new sergeant). There’s an interesting disjunct in their teamwork which we haven’t seen before, a disjunct encapsulated by a little vignette in which Lewis assures a suspect that “Nobody’s accusing you” (always a dangerous thing to say in a Murder Mystery) only for Hathaway to wander over and arrest said suspect.
I’m not really a fan, though, of ITV’s decision (not a new one, incidentally – they did this last series as well) to reformat the storylines as two one-hour episodes instead of one two-hour episode. I understand that it’s more viewer-friendly, but they are simply not the same thing. The new arrangement effectively reduces the complexity of possible plots, simply because no viewer, however avid, can remember every twist and turn in the first episode long enough for the second episode to make full and perfect sense. If I can’t remember the character’s names three hours after I’ve watched the first part, I sure as hell am not going to remember them for a week.
Also, can we stop pretending that Oxford undergraduates wear gowns to classes? They don’t. Because that would be stupid.
I’m fairly interested in seeing where this new series goes, though. Will Hathaway ever get on with his sergeant? Will Lewis be able to deal with the fact that he’s basically a member of UCOS now? Who murdered that brain surgeon? And how many shots of the Radcliffe Camera can the director get into the next episode?