Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Inspector Lewis - Entry Wounds - Episode Review

Sidekick promotion has always proved somewhat of a stickler for long-running detective shows. There’s some reshuffling of authority, which can often produce manufactured drama. In Morse the transition was rocky, as an ailing Morse had so little confidence in his sergeant’s abilities that he shadowed him incognito, much to Lewis’s dismay.

This time around, Superintendent Innocent has recruited a retired Robbie Lewis as back-up for newly promoted D.I. Hathaway. Hathaway is not too hip on this idea, and does his usual Brooding number. Unsurprisingly, we only get half a glimpse of his motivations, something involving doubts and faith and insecurity, probably, and also some trip to a church in Spain, and now he’s in a bad mood and nobody knows why, even him. Is this just me? It’s what makes the character interesting, but also frustrating—he is just sort of a vague intelligence without reality. Morse, on the other hand, was constantly displaying tangible flaws, and his existential ponderings had real weight because of it.

Hathaway’s also being tough on his new sergeant. Her name is Lizzie Maddox (Angela Griffin), and she doesn’t seem to have much of a purpose beyond being a Black Female To Remind Us This Isn’t Racist Like Midsomer Murders.

That’s too bad, because Maddox has the practical empathy, and the Leeds accent, to provide a nice, down-to-earth contrast to a cerebral Hathaway. This isn’t entirely her fault: she’s a third wheel on an already established and comfortable duo. On the other hand—there’s a scene in this episode in which she is able to provide a professional but caring response to an issue totally outside Hathaway’s comfort zone. It justifies her inclusion for this episode at least, and I hope we see more of it in future.

The victim is a surgeon whose record was marred by the accusation of being drunk while operating. The accuser was a man who may or may not be having an affair with the surgeon’s wife. Nabeel, the boy in the surgery, is in a catatonic state and is still living with his parents. The nurse who was present during the surgery is related to an elderly lady living in the hunting reserve where the surgeon was killed. Also, there are animal activists, who are angry.

As Snoopy wrote: “Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas a boy was growing up.”

Needless to say, this leaves us with a lot of suspects. Hathaway and Lewis juggle interviews as Lewis struggles with his new status as second fiddle extraordinaire (God knows why—he always has been second fiddle to a smart Oxford drop-out).

An interesting element is the focus on what life is. On the one hand, folk are yelling incoherent things about animal abuse. On the other, Nabeel’s parents wish to end his life, for incoherent reasons. In the end, the motive for murder is a misplaced desire for justice which discounts the importance of human life. All this raises some intriguing questions which are teased, but fade away. One thing I can say for Inspector George Gently: it may be melodramatic at times, but it chases issues right down to gritty reality. Could Lewis afford to do that? Is Lewis brave enough to do that? I’m not sure.

Lest this seem like one long post complaining about the over-arching issues of the show (of course, that is what it is), this was quite a good episode. Solid, if predictable. Like the show itself.

My review of next week's episode

Want something good to watch? Check out my full list of good detective shows.

3/5 stars

Hannah Long


  1. Haha, on the nail as usual. I did enjoy the show, but yes there were certain things that were a bit ill-fitting, if the norm and predictable. Loved Lewis though, and while I didn't care much for Maddox, I didn't dislike her either. I'm just waiting to see if she'll prove valuable to the show.

    And yes, Lewis was always a bit second fiddle, even when he was supposed to be tops. ;)

  2. I didn't like this episode, not even a little bit, which surprised me. It just never congealed for me. I disagree with you though, about Lewis being second fiddle. There is a foundation of strength and compassion within Lewis, and he tends to be the one who often solves the crime. I think he's comfortable with himself and his experiences with Morse allows him to let Hathaway take the reins in a way that will be beneficial for him. Hathaway is obviously intelligent, but not when it comes to people. Lewis recognizes the potential of Hathaway becoming a good DI, but he needs to learn to put aside his 'brain' sometimes and allow his humanity to creep in.

    1. I've never been very convinced of Lewis's strength. I don't think Whately can sell it - it's just not who he is. But I think the point could be argued. Either way, Lewis as a character is condemned to less depth than a more mysterious figure like Hathaway.

    2. Lewis has a stability that neither Morse nor Hathaway did/does. He isn't conflicted, which is why he's so good at his job. He is the strength of the show in my opinion. Hathaway is interesting because of his mystery, his brainiac nuances sustain your interest, but these things also reveal his weaknesses. It is also Lewis, his relationship with Lewis, that has lightened him up and given him substance. He trusts him, he likes him, but more importantly he respects him, something that would be very important to Hathaway. On more than one occasion James has been a conflicted and petulant young man, and it is through his relationship with Lewis that he is learning some control, understanding he has a right to how he feels, but learning to put it in a place where he can examine it without allowing it to control him. His relationship with Lewis has, in my opinion, taught him strength and resiliency. 'James' may hold people's interest because there is a mystery there to unfold, but Lewis is the heart of the show. There is a term for these types of shows but I can't recall it, basically though, these are comfortable little mysteries to sit back and enjoy. There is an underlying intelligence when you pay attention, but its meant to be enjoyable entertainment, not a great mystery. I love a good mystery, great or not so great, but that is what Lewis is, a good mystery... that is something we can count on. I enjoy it for that, and they do it extraordinarily well.

      I saw the new one and was uncomfortable with it. The bond that has grown between Lewis and James then this aspect of James life simply pops out of the woodwork. For me, it doesn't 'fit' with who James is now. The edge is still there, but there's also a temperance. This new information will I'm sure be an interesting story line and it will be nice (maybe) to fill in some of the blanks with James, but at the same time, for me, it mocks the person James is now, and belittles the relationship (I thought) he has with Lewis.

    3. Lewis is definitely on the "soft-boiled" end of the spectrum, which, I'll admit, tends to bore me. I enjoy when it tries to break the mold sometimes. I think that makes it more compelling. But that's a matter of opinion.


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