Inspector Lewis, series VI – review

Oh, Lewis, you know I love you. From your tongue in cheek fun at academia’s expense, all the while unabashedly slinging literary references left and right, to the drollness of your Detective duo and your interesting mysteries, not to mention the picturesque Oxford scenery, you are far and away my favorite cozy British stalwart.

However, that said, I do have to say I thought this series of Inspector Lewis wasn’t quite up to snuff. Last season (V in the UK, IV in the US, heaven knows why) was all around top notch, but sadly series VI (sticking with the UK numeric) is frankly a little awkward. Oh the mysteries are fine, generally speaking – the pieces all add up – but they just feel a little rough around the edges. Plus an odd dynamic kept springing up between Lewis and Hathaway, where Lewis seemed to bumble and Hathaway would take charge and toss off all the answers just a little too easily, as if he no longer had anything left to learn. I do like Hathaway showing his smarts, but it always seemed to be done at Lewis’ expense, and it felt out of character for these two – usually they both get to demonstrate their cleverness, in their own particular way.

But by far the most glaring omission this season was the utter lack of character resonance. Lewis has always had fun with the give and take between its two leading men, but at its best this show laces a subtle touch of heft into their repartee. The creative team did a brilliant job of this last season – feathering in a possible career change for both of them and even developments on the coupling front – which it why I was so disappointed to find nothing of the sort at all this season. This time around, not only does my beloved detective pair seem to be a bit off their rhythm – the witty repartee we all know and love often fell flat – but what passed between them was entirely shallow. Nothing of meaning was said, in stark contrast to the lovely, affecting moments of last season, and I missed that depth to their relationship.

Honestly, all around it felt like a spark was missing from series VI – and I have to wonder if the creative team let Lewis slide a bit this season as their attention was wrapped up with Endeavor, the launch of the Inspector Morse prequel. Still, I always enjoy watching these two – sharp, cheeky Hathaway and gruff but sweet Lewis – and even at their most awkward and stilted, they are still one of my all time favorite detective pairs (honestly the duo in Endeavor doesn’t even come close).

This series may not be the best this show has to offer, but it was still more than enough to leave me eagerly awaiting the next series. See you next year, lads.

Inspector Lewis returns this Sunday at 9 PM on Masterpiece Mystery.