In case you haven’t heard, Foyle’s War is returning for its seventh series this Sunday on PBS (it’s technically the eighth series, but in the US two series were combined at one point so for us it’s seven). We got an advance copy of the DVD set to review. I’m going to review the entire new series and then at the bottom, you can enter to win one of 2 copies of the Foyle’s War Bluray that we can give away.
So, it’s been a few years since we last solved a case with Christopher Foyle – just what has he been up to? When last we saw him, the War was over and he was on his way to America to settle a score and Sam was on her way to get married.
The first episode in the new series is called The Eternity Ring, which focuses on Christopher’s return to Britain where he gets drawn into an MI5 investigation of a Russian spy ring in which Sam has been implicated.
Foyle’s War Series 7 picks up six months or so after the events of the last series. We first see Foyle returning from America. This is the one thing that will disappoint fans on the return of this show – we don’t get to see his adventure in America where he settles his score with an industrialist who murdered someone in cold blood. I don’t want to give too much away – but it’s settled off-screen (but at least we find out what happens).
Foyle immediately gets involved in an investigation with MI5. They’re not to happy with his exploits in America, which were apparently damaging to Anglo-American relations but they feel that he has some service left in him. After all, throughout the war, he repeatedly tried to get involved in intelligence instead of languishing in Brighton solving petty crimes.
Sam is now happily married to Adam, so we don’t get the pleasure of seeing their wedding, another disappointing event that happened off screen. You may also notice that Adam is portrayed by a different actor, the original – Max Brown – was not available when they filmed this new series. Christopher’s Son, Andrew, is also noticeably absent from the entire series.
These are very much new stories and they take place in a new world – post-war Britain, which is trying to find its place in the world after the conflagration of World War II. Things are not shiny and rosy, there’s still rationing and destruction is still evident everywhere. On top of that, there’s a sinister new war going on – the Cold War, which is going to be an endless source of interesting stories for show creator Anthony Horowitz.
My only real complaint about the new series is that it takes place after the war. It still feels like there were many stories left in the dark from the war that could have been told. Anthony Horowitz himself has said that he had to scrap scripts taking place during the war due to the show always being cancelled then revived. So, while the Cold War is interesting ground for stories, I miss the actual war in the title.
The First Episode – The Eternity Ring – is an excellent tale. And while hardcore fans will be a little disappointed with what was left out, there’s still much to love. Michael Kitchen is still awesome as the quietly enigmatic Christopher Foyle and really many of us would watch him reading silently, whether or not he had crimes to solve!
There are two more feature length episodes in this set:
The Cage - The disappearance of a Foreign Office official appears to explain the deaths of a number of Russian agents working for British Intelligence. An apprehensive Sam is also now working at MI5 HQ while helping her husband Adam, who is standing as a Labour Party candidate at the Peckham by-election. While on the campaign trail, Adam meets a woman who asks for his help in finding her daughter Evelyn who has been missing for three days. Back at MI5, Sam notices documents referring to Evelyn Greene, the missing woman from her husband’s potential constituency. But as Foyle continues with his enquiries, the wall of silence surrounding a mysterious military facility leads him to question the motives of his own colleagues.
Sunflower - Foyle investigates a former Nazi, now working for MI5, who says he is under threat, while Sam is concerned that Adam has no time to spend with her because of his new parliamentary role.
The Cage was a serviceable story but I found Adam’s attempt to run for parliament a bit trying, especially with Sam bumbling all over the place. It felt very tacked on and not part of the main story. But it’s still lovely to watch his character trying to build a new world, instead of having an ulterior motive, unlike most other characters in this show. It’s really a challenge to keep Sam in the stories as she has moved on from the innocent driver during the war – she has a life and that doesn’t always involve Foyle, who’s become a close friend.
I particularly enjoyed Sunflower, which is a story that does harken back to the war. It focuses on the grey world of British intelligence employing former Nazi’s so soon after the war because they served a purpose. This is a topic of particular interest to me (I’m fascinated by the fact our space program could not exist without the help of ex-Nazi’s).
Overall, it’s a very enjoyable series. We get to watch Foyle do what he does best – investigate crimes and expose dubious acts by his employers.
The DVD Set features all three new episodes plus:
- Series 1-6 Recap
- 4 Behind the Scenes Featurettes
- Introductions by Anthony Horowitz
- Photo Gallery
We viewed the Bluray set. This is the first time that Foyle’s War was filmed in HD and it looks beautiful so definitely pick this up on Bluray if you can. It’s a very well done DVD set.
Foyle’s War airs over the next three Sundays on PBS Masterpiece Mystery – check your local listings. The DVD will be released on September 24th. It will also be available on AcornTV in due course.
This will not be the last we see of Christopher Foyle. Anthony Horowitz has said on Twitter that another series is heading for production.
Now, how would you like your chance to win a Foyle’s War Series 7 DVD Set? Enter your name and email address below. You have until Friday September 20th to enter, at which point we’ll pick two winners (we have two copies to give away).
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