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I see that Amazon Prime is offering at least the first season of this British crime drama. My late wife and I watched it when it originally came out, almost two decades ago, and enjoyed it. It appeals to my sense of vicarious nostalgia, my longing for a time I never experienced and a romanticized and idealized simplicity that I’m pretty sure never existed.
“Foyle’s War” is set in Hastings, a town on the British coast south of London. The series begins in the summer of 1940: France has just been invaded, and the British people are on a wartime footing, afraid that a German invasion of their island is imminent. Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, played in a charming and understated way by British actor Michael Kitchen, conducts the business of law enforcement under the shadow of invasion.
The producers of the series invested a considerable effort, particularly in the early seasons, in accurately portraying wartime Britain. Every episode reveals interesting details of British life under blackout, curfew, rationing, and wartime mobilization. Without showing us the horror of the London bombings (though one episode touches on them) or actual military combat, the show nonetheless conveys something of the profound challenges the war inflicted on the British people, and something of the resolve with which they met those challenges.
I rewatched the first episode of the first season today, and was reminded again how much I admire our cousins across the pond for standing alone, and for so long, against the German war machine. And, on this watching, I realized that while many have been or will be touched by personal tragedy in our current travails, this epidemic finds us richer, more secure, and better prepared than the British were, and facing a vastly less threatening opponent.
It’s a fine series full of pleasant and sympathetic characters, set in an interesting place and time. I recommend it.Published in