|Index||4 reviews in total|
All of the Inspector Lewis mysteries are beautifully produced, well acted, and respectful of the intelligence of the viewer. This episode delves once again into the back structure of Oxford, with numerous and varied views of the institution and its participants. The story this time revolves around the participants in a theatrical group and their associates. There is the requisite quantity of suspects, motives, and opportunities to keep things interesting. There is also the continued development of the relationship between Lewis and Hathaway. Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox are great in their portrayals in this episode, as in the entire series. One can only hope that another series of "Inspector Lewis" is forthcoming. I, for one, am anxious to enjoy many more of these intelligent and well executed presentations.
This chapter cleverly studies effects of corruption on idealistic
students by misguided campus authorities and also develops in pensive
fashion the association between its leading characters, Detective
Inspector Robert Lewis (Kevin Whately) and Detective Sergeant James
Hathaway (Laurence Fox), who discovers during the course of a double
homicide investigation the identity of the perpetrator in the
five-year-old cold case murder of Valerie Susan Lewis, late wife of his
As Oxford University Thespians prepare for their opening night performance of a William Shakespeare Play, "The Merchant of Venice," Doctor Emma Golding (Daisy Lewis) directs them to aspire to great heights, as this adaptation could create stars of the lot of them.
This student cast includes Sally (Jo Herbert), Alison (Sonya Cassidy), Isabel Dawson (Abby Ford), Barham Rezvani (Tariq Jordan), (Antonio?) Webster (William Petrie), and Richard Scott (Daniel Sharman) in the role of Shylock the Money-lender.
For rehearsals on the eve of opening night, the troupe prepares its outdoor stage to perform for a roster of 20 guests, including Professor Denise Gregson (Maureen Beattie) a singer and Theatre Department Head; Professor James Alderson (Nicholas Pritchard) an Archaeologist and ex-husband of Denise; Simon Monkford (Ronan Vibert), a former embezzler, staying at Randall Hotel; Phil Beaumont (Bryan Dick), an Oxford dropout and playwright, returning from Edinboro, and working as a gardener and waiter; and Joe Myers (Geoff Breton) a current student and Understudy for the role of Shylock the Moneylender.
But, backstage, Sally screams when she stumbles across a body, the victim of a stabbing, with a note beside the body, reading "Neither a borrower nor a lender be," from Shakespeare's "Hamlet."
The team of Detective Inspector Robert Lewis, Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, Doctor Laura Hobson (Clare Holman) and Chief Superintendent Innocent (Rebecca Front) is called to investigate the homicide, they strangely discovering that only one of many suspects weeps for the loss of the victim.
Amanda Costello (Shereen Martineau), a journalist and theatre critic who has graduated from Oxford two years ago arrives on the afternoon of opening night to review the Play, she also remarking upon the absence of feelings from the higher-ups, but is invited to the opening night celebration, at Prospero's Bar, just the same, when a second body is discovered, the victim of strangulation by string, again with a note beside it, this reading, "I will lead them up and down," from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Lewis and Hathaway investigate, they questioning suspects together and separately, while obtaining additional information from Christine Harper (Annabelle Dowler), the sister of Simon Monkford; Mrs. Scott (Penny Bunton), the mother of Richard Scott; Graham Wilkinson (Shaughan Seymour), the former Second in Command at Oxford P.D.; Terry Bainbridge (Gwilym Lee), the Editor of Oxford student newspaper; and Duffy (Aled Pedrick), the Desk-clerk at Randall Hotel, all in search of a blonde wig.
But when James Hathaway learns which suspect is responsible for the vehicular homicide of Valerie Susan Lewis, he pensively confides with Chief Superintendent Innocent for the manner in which he should inform Robert Lewis, who also pensively confides similar thoughts to Chief Superintendent Innocent regarding James Hathaway. Neither over-acts over inspiring appreciation for his partner, but handles his emotions professionally and without excessive sentiment.
A break-in at the residence of Professor Denise Gregson, which she shares with several professors and students from time to time, leads to another Forensics investigation and, ultimately, to Lewis and Hathaway's showdown scene once they are able to figure their solutions for "The Quality of Mercy" which Lewis may see fit to bestow.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Obnoxious student Richard Scott is brutally stabbed while he and his
fellow students are preparing to give a live performance of The
Merchant of Venice. Keen to see Lewis is stage manager Emma Goulding,
who explains she's keen to open the next night with Jo Myers set to
jump into Richard's shoes to play Shylock.
The characters are brilliantly created and realised, it is very much a character driven story, the kind of episode that made Lewis utterly unmissable. Beautifully acted Ronan Vibert and Daisy Lewis are particularly good, arguably Vibert steals the show, as he so often does, hugely underrated talent.
One of the best from a purple patch of the show. All the elements that made Lewis great are here and on show.
This episode of Lewis isn't as obnoxious as the last one. It is, still,
inconsequential. The pace is slow, choices of killers seem illogical,
and Lewis "made it personal" to boot. It was totally unrelated to the
story, but you know, best sellers have to include the "personal motive"
cliché in order to "catch everybody quickly" :(. I assume if you're a
Shakespeare's "Merchant in Venice" fan, you'll enjoy this episode as
you see a quote repeated like 3 times over the film. Yes, the one about
"mercy" (thus, the title). Rehearsals, the meanness of the director,
journalist/ critic and actors are all there. As a "social critique" of
Oxbridge's class system, how money makes a rich Iranian "be in" and a
poor Northerner who also happens to be a genius (but Marxist, clichés
anybody?) to drop out and take many minimum wage jobs. At least we
didn't have to endure "psychoanalytical cravings" from the writer (like
on the awful last episode, "Allegory of love"), so it's a start.
Shakespeare is better than Freud Vulgate.
Enjoy... if you can!
PS: Ronan Vibert as "Simon Monkford" is the only good character. With a profile similar to a psychopath, he doesn't feel anything, and even tries to bargain a deal with Lewis (right after "apologizing"), what makes the CI really angry. So, they're speaking two different languages: Lewis the one of emotions, Simon the emotionally tone-deaf psychopath. Good to watch. PS2: Emma Golding is really unbearable!
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