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Foyle's War: Set 7

Foyle's War

On DVD: 
Tuesday, June 1, 2010

After a three year hiatus, Christopher Foyle returns in the popular mystery series Foyle's War. The original series started in 1940 with police officer Foyle being turned down in his request for government service. Because he is unable to drive, he is assigned a driver, Sam Stewart, who turns out to be a woman from the Mechanised Transport Corps. Now, it's 1946, Foyle is retired but is recruited by MI5 to look into a Soviet spy ring.

Unlike a traditional US television show, UK television often employs a different model, so instead of getting anywhere from 10 to 26 one hour episodes, the series consists instead of a smaller number of what are essentially movies. The first three series for Foyle's War were sets of 4 films, sets 4 and 5 only had 2 films each, and sets 6, 7 and 8 having 3 each. That 4 and 5 were short is why Series Eight is DVD Set 7, so it all gets a little confusing.

The major advantage of this format is that each film tends to stand alone far better than any single episode of a more traditional show would. There is time to give the audience a little background on characters and room to make the stories a bit deeper.

"The Eternity Ring" deals with the aforementioned Soviet spies. With the second world war over, the cold war is beginning to be ushered in. While Folye looks into the spies, Sam, now married, plans for her husband's possible run for Labour MP.

"The Cage" begins with the disappearance of a Foreign Office official and some deaths of Russian agents. Sam begins working at MI5 and notices references in a file to a woman that her husband has learned is missing while on the campaign trail. As Sam and Foyle investigate, a wall of silence arrises around a military facility.

"Sunflower" concerns a former Nazi officer working for MI5 who says he is being threatened.

My favorite part of this series is the character of Sam Stewart. It's nice to have a well portrayed female show up now and again, that she holds her own in what is mostly a man's world is enjoyable to watch. Sadly though, even that is overshadowed by the fact that these films are so... boring. Were they made in America, each would feature chases and shoot outs, action. But being British fare, there is a lot more sitting in rooms and talking. It's a lot more in the head, with mysteries solved through stumbling on details in conversations rather than through any sort of deed or action by the protagonists.

Still though, if that is your sort of thing, Foyle's War are very well made films.

Review by Jason Pace
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