Lewis was back last night for an impressive eighth and final series. Having left us at such an interesting and satisfying end last series it is questionable whether we need this new series at all. Nevertheless the return of Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately) and James Hathaway (Laurence Fox) got off to an interesting and perhaps unexpected start. Not least perhaps because after the seemingly final heart to heart between Lewis and Hathaway at the end of the last series it seemed like Hathaway would leave the police force all together. Of course the reality now is the complete opposite with Hathaway having been promoted to Detective Inspector in the true Morse – Lewis – Hathaway and now Maddox tradition. Hathaway’s own sergeant Lizzie Maddox (Angela Griffin) has a rather different relationship from the one’s Lewis and Hathaway had with their superiors. Rather than being the teacher and almost parent like figure guiding their protégé to Morsehood Hathaway seems to have completely rejected his “offspring” in favour of working himself into the ground. So nothing seems to have changed there.
But things have changed of course for Lewis; it was nice to see how his relationship with forensic pathologist Laura Hobson has grown and matured since the last time we saw them together on screen. Lewis himself his displaying all the signs of a copper how just can’t give up the day job and to be honest I don’t think we would want him any other way.
And that’s where we joined Lewis and Hathaway in the midst of a murder investigation that started with an arson. The story was confusing and a little predictable as it was of the same Lewis style that we’ve all become used to – everything seems happy above ground but secrets and lies run deep under the surface. Which isn’t usually a problem but for once it seemed like the supporting cast were rather lacklustre and their characters difficult to sympathise with. In addition the pushing to the side-lines of the university for once seems to have changed the dynamic of the episode but I’m not convinced this was for the better.
The ending to the episode was not altogether surprising but nonetheless shocking. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out for Hathaway and whether this new working dynamic he and Lewis have will change their friendship indefinitely. The plot itself is rather forgettable, leading to me to the belief that unless things change dramatically the show would have been better sticking at the point they ended up at last year.
Another new feature of this series is the format of each episode. Initially I was personally sceptical about having Lewis stories in two one hour episodes as traditionally each story is two hours long and played in its entirety in one night. Meaning we don’t have to wait a week in between to find out what happened to the characters of last week’s stories. It’s one of the things that makes Lewis different to other detective shows out there. However it does mean that the final series will last longer by virtue of this splitting up.
So all in all here’s hoping that next week will cheer up our Oxford detectives.