Episode is loosely based on the Taman Shud case, a real life mystery in Somerton, Australia. A man with no tags in his clothes was found dead propped up against a tree. His suitcase was found in a railway locker. The only thing found in his pocket was a line of poetry. The identity of the man was never discovered. See more »
The action takes place in 1959 or 1960. Blake, talking to Davis, mentions Malaysia, but the Federation of Malaya did not become Malaysia until 16 September 1963. See more »
'The Doctor Blake Mysteries' may not quite be among my favourite shows of all time, but it's a riveting series that keeps getting better and one of the better detective drama shows in recent years. It is always fascinating to see a mystery series from outside England and America, and 'The Doctor Blake Mysteries' is one of the better examples.
Unfortunately, 'The Doctor Blake Mysteries' tends to be buried within daytime television scheduling, both on the BBC when first getting into it three or so years ago and on not as much watched channel (i.e. Alibi). It also tends to be aired at a time where most people will be at school or work, for me it was during sporadic periods when not needing to go into music college. The series deserves much better than that when it has consistently been one of the better shows to be aired in the early afternoon.
Season 2 is still very good. So is "A Foreign Field", if not as much as the previous two Season 2 episodes. Unlike those two films, it does get a little too complicated in spots. By now, having said that, 'The Doctor Blake Mysteries' felt like it had found its feet and had established things well by this point. Relationships and characters continue to deepen, the mysteries are even twistier and the pace has more lustre.
Like the rest of the series, "A Foreign Field" is exceptionally well made. The post-war period is beautifully evoked in the sumptuous but also atmospheric settings and scenery and charming costumes and period detail. It is beautifully shot and atmospherically lit, the dark grey-ish tinge being very appropriate and adding much to the overall feel of the episode. It is scored sensitively and the haunting theme tune gets embedded in the brain, while the direction is suitably restrained.
Writing continues to be very good with the tone established very well. There is great thought-provoking dialogue that always makes the mystery elements interesting but the atmosphere doesn't ever feel too grim. The story is mostly riveting, suspensefully written and you care about having it solved. The denouement is neat and unexpected, if not the easiest to wrap your head around at first. The characters are well written and more than just stereotypes, Lucien Blake still has it in how fascinating a character he is.
Craig McLachlan is superb in the role as well, quite possibly his best role and certainly the best acting he's ever done. He seemed an unlikely choice at first, but the character suits him perfectly. All the acting is very good actually, and seldom if ever any less. The relationships between the characters are well worth investing in.
In summary, very good. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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