Monday, February 19, 2007


I was a great fan of Inspector Morse, the morose but cerebral Oxford police inspector whose long running TV advantures ended with a heart attack (and the sad death of John Thaw who played him), a few years back. ITV have resurrected the franchise by giving Morse's batman, Lewis, a series of his own after a successful pilot last year.

Last night's first episode of Lewis was, I thought, excellent. The old ingredients of college politics, wronged women and nasty posh murderers were all in place. While nothing could replace Thaw's masterclass in understated acting, I thought that Kevin Whately as Lewis was as excellent as ever.

The reason for the note on this blog is that Lewis's sidekick is one of the very few (the first I can remember for years) unremittingly positive portrayals of a Christian on British television. Hathaway, the police sargent who helps Lewis, is an ex-theology student. He is clever, young, good-looking and morally upright. The writers of the series do not roll out the cliche of his becoming a policeman because he lost his faith. Rather, he simply wanted a career where he could right wrongs and make a good living. Lewis himself lost his faith when his wife was killed by a hit and run driver. His inability to forgive and move on is shown to eat him up and warp his moral judgement. Never before have I seen the loss of faith portrayed as a damaging event on British TV.

Compared to the BBC's Waking the Dead, which bashes the Church every week and treats the faith of the Catholic policewoman as an object of scorn, Lewis is a breath of fresh air.

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