Thursday, 9 October 2014


Oxford-set British detective drama Lewis (Inspector Lewis in the US), a spin-off from Inspector Morse, was launched in 2006. Although it was assumed that Series 7 would be its last, ITV announced in February 2014 that DI Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately) and DS James Hathaway (Laurence Fox) would return for an eighth series.

Series 8 premiered last week on American network PBS (Lewis is co-produced by ITV Studios and Masterpiece) and will start tomorrow night in the U.K. 

The previous series of Lewis split the traditional feature-length episodes in two 60-minute instalments aired over two consecutive weeks. This inappropriate change in the momentum of each story (conveniently turning three episodes into six), added to a drop in quality, didn't hurt the ratings. Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox having expressed their desire to move on, the elegant last scene of Intelligent Design, the "finale" episode, saw Lewis and Hathaway enjoying a pint as the former retired and the latter left the force. PBS and French pubcaster France 3 stuck to the two-hour format.

Given all this, the commission of six new one-hour episodes (three films) looked rather surprising if not unnecessary, especially with the seventh series being such a letdown. But at least the return of Lewis and Hathaway in Entry Wounds, written by Helen Jenkins and directed by Nicholas Renton, was done properly thanks to everyone involved. Robbie lives with pathologist Laura Hobson (Clare Holman) and struggles to adapt to retirement when Chief Superintendent Innocent (Rebecca Front) uses a little trick in order to get his return on a contractual basis.

After an extended break from the Oxfordshire Police, James is now a Detective Inspector. He investigates his first murder case, a neurosurgeon shot in the head, with his partner DS Lizzie Maddox (the excellent Angela Griffin) when his ex-boss arrives. Far better than the whole previous series, Entry Wounds is a successful balance between a well-handled relaunch and a good story. Fans of Lewis won't be disappointed and let's hope the couple of other two-parters will keep them satisfied.

Ace Bhatti and Kara Tointon are amongst the guest stars. Lewis is exec produced by Michelle Buck and produced by Chris Burt. Rebecca Eaton is the executive producer for Masterpiece. The music, superb as usual, is composed and conducted by Barrington Pheloung. 

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