” Lewis and Hathaway are Oxford’s answer to Batman and Robin”
Settling down in front of the TV last night, we were treated to some magnificent rooftop views of Oxford courtesy of the opening titles of the new series of Lewis. Swiftly followed by shots of a young couple punting on the canal and a group of botanists discussing their work in the early morning sunshine
With all this peaceful scenery it’s almost possible to forget that in order for Inspector Lewis to make an appearance (something which is pretty much a given, since the programme is named after him) some sort of murder or similar wrongdoing must shortly be about to take place.
Then, with the tranquility of the setting at full throttle, the woman leading the group of botanists announces, “Today we’ll be digging up ‘Rhododendron Ponticum’ as the rest of the group scatter across the forest. Suddenly we’re acutely aware of the likelihood of one of them digging up something a bit more lively than a rhododendron something-or-other. The discovery of a buried body (let’s be honest, not entirely unexpected) signifies to the viewer the start of a long and complicated murder investigation (when is it ever simple?) and inevitably requires the assistance of… that’s right, you guessed it… Lewis and his faithful Sergeant Hathaway.
It strikes me that Lewis and Hathaway are Oxford’s answer to Batman and Robin. Lewis has all the braun, and by braun I don’t mean hard muscle (he’s too busy policing to spend any length of time in the gym), I’m referring to the weight and power of his position within the police force. He’ll knock down people’s doors and sniff out a villain from miles away, but it’s Hathaway who has a lot of the brains, and may I say the beauty (pause for swoon). In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much he doesn’t know.
Having thought about it, Hathaway may be not be Oxford’s answer to Robin at all, more Oxford’s answer to Einstein. And it seems ironic that academically apprehensive Lewis ended up with a Sergeant who can not only speak Latin, but also seems to be an expert on Theology, Philosophy and ancient Lewis Carroll poems.
Wednesday saw the start of series six (series seven has already been commissioned by ITV). The episode is hinged on the efforts of several students and professors to find the meaning and elusive ‘answer’ to Lewis Caroll’s theological poem, ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ and our Inspector strongly believes that the poem will lead them to the murderer. In every other part of the country people are usually murdered because of drugs, money or violence. In Oxford however, it only takes a work of fiction and some angry students eager to get into the prestigious Wednesday Club to send you to an early grave, so watch out.
At any other university a club on a Wednesday would usually constitute some sort of sports club. However, something tells me Oxford University’s Wednesday club for geniuses does not consist of rugby players drinking pints through each other’s dirty socks.
Celia Imrie makes a triumphant entrance to the episode after DI Innocent (Rebecca Front) warns Lewis and Hathaway of a ‘nutcase alert’ at the station. Cue Imrie as Michelle Marber, an incessant police nuisance, chattering away about conducting her own ‘wider investigation’. In fact, it is Imrie’s emotional development of her character that really makes the episode, she even manages to coax Lewis into discussing his grief over his late wife; something he usually keeps bottled up.
Although the main plot lacks a little ‘oomph’, the sub plot centred around Celia Imrie’s character, as well as Lewis and Hathway’s various interactions with her, really help to drive the story forward. Some brilliant acting from the main and guest casts, but whilst this episode is not the most gripping or exhilarating, I still have my faith in Lewis and Hathaway’s crime solving abilities because let’s be honest, there hasn’t been a pairing like them since Batman and Robin.
- Early ratings show Lewis returned with 5.21million but was beaten by The Apprentice.
- ITV have already commissioned a seventh series to air in 2013