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Foyle's War, Series Seven (2013)


Outcry and popular demand brought about additional installments of the wildly popular crime drama Foyle’s War chronicling the cases of a keen British detective protecting the home front while a world is at war. Penned by Anthony Horowitz, the most recent installments may honor the end of one war but begins the start of a new, equally threatening one.
 
England is not the same place it once was. The horrors of a second world war are still raw in the minds of the people and upon his return to his homeland Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) is reminded of the stark remnants. Just back from America, two things consecutively happen soon as he sets foot on British soil. He meets again with a former policeman he once worked with in Hastings just released from spending years as a POW and his services are requisitioned by MI5 leading him again into the acquaintance of the formidable Miss Pierce (Ellie Haddington). Disinterested in working for the government spooks, Foyle is compelled to help them uncover a Russian spy ring known as “The Eternity Circle” until he learns they are looking at Sam (Honeysuckle Weeks) as a suspect when presented with photographic evidence. Not believing that his former driver could in any way be involved, Foyle agrees to help MI5 in order to make sure no harm comes to Sam and her politically minded husband, Adam (Daniel Weyman).
 
Pushing forward in his investigation, Foyle learns that working among his colleagues involves learning the ins and out of politics – and that protecting the wrong people is MI5’s business. He soon discovers there are more shady dealings going on inside the walls of the MI5 offices rather than out, and it becomes a question of figuring out who is trustworthy and who is not.
 
Nothing ever stays the same. This is something we know, but golly, it’s hard when we have to wave good-bye to such a beautiful piece of nostalgia. And if we were honest, this series is just that. Not in the traditional sense, this series experienced a gripping identity to its stories and more poignant moments than any unsuspecting viewer would ever expect, we are now given a duller, less shiny version of that. Where it once managed to be quaint and terribly brilliant, it feels as if there's a weight on the shoulders of everyone. Seeing this come to a close was the end of an era and seeing it return (in 2011) was a joyous occasion, one that seemed unable be matched and upped. Now, a new year brought us three all new installments and people, oh my stars are you in for unexpected and sometimes, sad changes.
 
Instead of moving viewers with the things that easily humanized the stories – like the needless, tragic deaths of those on the home front – missing in these new installments is the same focus on people, now the angles zero in on political schemes and governments protecting former war enemies. It’s a new mine field for everyone to navigate, leaving us and oftentimes Foyle more exasperated than satisfied justice is being served. The first few minutes of ‘Eternity Circle’ starts out well presenting a group of people who possess a very dangerous, terrifying knowledge before it kind of fizzles out. The character’s seemed only half-hearted, the mystery written poorly and not at all as intelligent as some of the prior chapters. Part of me understands the emotions of this series – a long and hard fought war is still fresh in the mind of these people, and another part misses all the spunk, humor and cleverness of what this series built itself on. Fortunately, the final episode is the best of the group (more on this later) and also has a wonderful conclusion to what seemed an untouchable situation.
 
Those who are unfamiliar with this series may suffer in places from a lack of knowledge as the show references an American entrepreneur who once escaped Foyle’s reach or the history there is between Samantha Stewart (now Wainwright) and Foyle, and has undergone some (glaringly) obvious shortcomings and changes from what was once a more "solid," character relationship. Sam is no longer the same plucky girl we laughed with and ended up loving; now she seems weary and less up for a bit of sleuthing whereas before she was eager and willing to do nearly anything. There is one scene involving her husband’s political run that was typical Sam and for a moment, we were again reminded of who the old Sam was and it was a ray of sunshine. She and Adam are cute together (in rare moments of spontaneity) but if memory serves correct, I preferred the actor who portrayed this character in the last series better.
 
Where the first two installments aren't the best of the bunch (humbly, this is just my opinion and as with any form of entertainment, fans may disagree with that), 'Sunflower' is brilliant! Saving it for last was a great strategy as it whets our anticipation, wanting more and it's all the harder to say good-bye when the screen goes black. (Plus Foyle gets an epically good moment at the end!) It is dark as it covers a frightening period of the war and counteracts these tendencies by offering the human side of the story through Foyle's eyes and his determination to always look for truth and justice in those investigations. Avid fans will pick up on the little changes. They add up and offer new perspectives, sometimes for the better, oftentimes they leave the show worse for the wear as if the war took its toll behind the lens of this history piece of cinematic entertainment – there is a dullness where once this was a bright copper penny; the creativity seems “zapped.” That being said, don’t let my cynical ramblings ruin anything, any fan of this ITV series (myself included!) will enjoy set seven - it's really the bees knees; Horowitz puts out another solid edition of mystery, mayhem and of course, the keen investigative eye of Christopher Foyle is on the case. That’s worth any flaws.
 
Foyle's War will air on Masterpiece summer 2013.
 
(Parental concerns: There are a handful of deaths, including one under the ruse of suicide [blood is splattered on the wall] and another finds a man badly injured stumbling into the hospital covered in blood. There is talk of the horrors of war [including a home that is still being used for emotional torture - holding a blank gun to someone, playing music 24/7, etc.) and one man is mentally ill as the result of being shot in the head [we catch flashback glimpses and hear the shot]. References are made to extra-marital affairs; it's revealed one man is a homosexual/transgender and belongs to a "club" [everything regarding this is subtlety discussed]. A minor British slang or profanity may be present although nothing comes to mind.)
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Rissi
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25 comments:

  1. I wasn't aware this had aired in the UK already! I'll have to hunt it down. I'm not surprised the creativity is less than previous seasons -- when you finish something and then are told to create more, it leaves you grasping at creative straws. Sometimes, you just need to let a good show END while it's still good!

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    1. To be honest, neither had I Charity - one day it was just OUT on DVD and I was like, "well... that's cool!" When the set didn't arrive prior to one of our weekends mom and I were disappointed but hey, we got to watch it the next one - and it was worth the wait. ;)

      I think like with most everything when I re-watch these, looking at the "bigger picture," I'll find them quite clever. Mainly it was probably the adjustment of seeing so many changes. It just wasn't the same. Curious for your conclusions! :)

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    2. Well, I watched the first one last night -- and I liked it. I kind of miss the smaller format of solving murders against a war backdrop, but the characters are consistent and it could be interesting seeing Foyle working for MI-5.

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    3. i was SO touched by the amount that sam trusts foyle: enough to tell him of her very personal matter and i was touched by how loyal foyle was to sam--- the only reason he got involved in the bloody MI-5 was for her :-)

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    4. I've always loved their father/daughter dynamic. As soon as she got weepy-eyed, I said, "Oh, she can't have kids!" Saw that one coming a mile away. Foyle's just... a sweetie.

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    5. Charity - yay! Love that you saw the first episode and liked it. It was interesting seeing Foyle in a new environment. I don't deny that but... there was just something "missing." Or that was my feeling. I also liked how there's a "replacement" in the episodes for Milner - the first one was the guy returning from being a POW and later a man who works "off the books" on one mission for Foyle.

      Seeing Foyle work on a new playing field opens new doors and presents new challenges - he's a "small" fish in a very big, political minefield and I admire the writer's for changing it up.

      I really need to add a few things because I missed talking about several things I loved! *sigh*

      Excited for your conclusions. :)

      Rachel - jumping in...

      The Foyle/Sam relationship has always been wonderful - I agree with Charity. That trust and easy-going teasing is possibly the BEST thing about the series. It keeps me coming back time and again. :)

      Hoping there is more to come!

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    6. Watched the second episode over lunch. I actually really miss Milner and the smaller setting. I'm not sure I'm keen on all the new episodes revolving around Russian spies (but at least the final one is about a Nazi ... it looks good. I might skip doing anything productive this afternoon and watch it, heh). Can't say I agree with Labor politics, either. ;)

      Dang it, if I were twenty years older and lived in the 1940's, I'd rope Foyle into marrying me. That's how much I love him. =D

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    7. My dad did also! When he was actually watching the episodes (mom and I watched them mostly), he was like, "where's the other guy!?" He didn't like them as well because of that - and other things. I missed Milner also but I'd have missed Sam even more. I guess knowing he wasn't coming back helped because I wasn't expecting him to show up... maybe he'll return if there is an eighth set...? We can only hope.

      Yes! Skip being productive - watch 'Sunflower.' It was VERY good. Mom and I (and Rachel!) all thought it was the best of the trio. Happy watching.

      Foyle is awesome. Nothing gets past him - he's compassionate in ways we never expect (what with that "stiff upper lip" of the Brits and all) and as a result, he has become more than a character - or Michael Kitchen has made it so.

      Can I come with you to visit 1940's England? ;)

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    8. Finished it. Was glad for Sam and Adam, although he's learning how to deal in politics the hard way. I'm also glad that bloody Nazi isn't going to get away with anything -- let the Americans execute him! Isn't that what we do best? ;)

      Foyle's a darling, SO MUCH BETTER than his son will ever be.

      You may, but keep your hands off Christopher -- he's mine! :D

      (Any chance Sam will name the baby Christopher? ;)

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    9. Me, too! Wasn't that last scene with them precious!? Who wouldn't wish for them a happy ending...

      Did you have an opinion on which actor you preferred in the role of Adam?

      That ending for 'Sunflower' was "wonderful" - especially given the fact that Foyle had to walk away way back when in a similar fashion. Seeing him able to get justice was brilliant and it was excellent. Spoiler: Glad the Americans took him away - him I will shed no tears over. Sometimes that's what we do best... most the time we're too worried over being PC. ;) End

      Always had a soft spot for Andrew. Why I do not know. Too bad he doesn't pop in now and again because with maturity I think he could be a man who rises to any occasion. Whether or not he would... that's another thing altogether. Until then, I'll settle for seeing him walking the grounds of Downton. ;)

      Message received: I can accompany you but am not to speak with Christopher. I can live with that. ;)

      Yes! I think Sam would name her wee baby Christopher - that'd be the best!

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    10. I liked the first actor as Adam better. Even my mother noticed they switched husbands on Sam -- and she hasn't watched the series in a long time. I showed them the first episode last night and they agree with me -- good but not as great as when they were investigating small crimes in small communities. I'm not sure I like the idea of Foyle working for MI-5.

      Andrew... is a jerk. Nuff said. Never liked him. Glad Sam found a NICE guy instead.

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    11. So do mom and I - we watched 'The Russian House' last night and the first thing I said to mom was that I preferred this other actor better. In S6, they have a sweeter chemistry/connection; there was more of a spark there.

      Bottom line: I really liked these new installments. They were excellent albeit lacking in... some element that I cannot put my finger on. I missed the smaller scale of the mysteries and the like but don't think that was "everything" for me. His working at MI-5 wasn't the issue though... it was the characters. I think. Watching a S6 episode reinforced that.

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  2. i think this is some of horowitz's deepest and most amazing writing yet.so dimensional and such a reflection of the atrocities of the war and its aftermath. for me, the sam/foyle relationship was strengthened--more familiar and comfortable---but never, ever having wavered. it's currently airing in canada for those who are on my side of the pond :-)

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  3. Horowitz said on twitter that he felt Sunflower ( the third episode ) was his strongest yet. What did you think of that one? I thought it was dark; but so necessary.

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    1. Great thoughts, Rachel.

      In the sense that this entire series was a representation of what war does (how it changes landscapes, people and ways of life), yes, these were wonderful. That feeling is evident in every nuance of these three installments - it was very indicative of what tragedies the horrors left behind. Watching through these, I just felt like there was something... missing. As if Sam wasn't quite the same and the writing was (marginally)"insulting" to Foyle's intelligence because of the cases he was put on.

      Knew I forgot to mention something. *makes note to add to review* Yes! 'Sunflower' was the best. I liked how they saved it for last because it was really good. The suspense of it was nicely dealt with and the resolution? It couldn't have been better!

      Glad it's airing in Canada now - hope everyone is enjoying it. :)

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  4. Ooooh wow!! Rissi, you just MADE MY DAY!!! I didn't realize this was out yet! Foyle's War is one of my favorite shows (still hoping the set goes back on sale again at Christmas!!) and I've been WAITING for this!

    But I'm devastated at the news that Adam is played by a different character! I LOVED that actor and it won't be the same having him gone I guess his commitment to Beauty & the Beast show got in the way of reprising the role. A tragedy. And sad about the changes in Sam. :(

    But since I still just love Foyle's War, the concept and the type period in general, I will definitely be tracking this one down like the old Samantha herself. ;)

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    1. Oh, yay, Kellie! I am glad you enjoyed discovering this - and more glad yet to find another fan of Foyle's War. This series will air on Masterpiece this summer and should be on DVD well in time to be on your Christmas list - give it a top spot. ;)

      Yes, I miss the "old" Adam. I don't remember specifically but I think I liked him better. Ironically I just learned he was in Beauty and the Beast so I am (of course!) looking forward to "meeting" him in that environment.

      Sam is still a bright spot... but at the same time she was different. I missed who she once was but am hopeful should there be another series (the implication suggests there should be), she will be more like her old self.

      You'll still love these, Kellie - I know this avid fan did. :) With time, I think I'll form more solidified opinions and may even tweak my thoughts. Anxious for your thoughts - on everything. Oh, and let me know if you find Samantha. ;)

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  5. This was one show I have never seen and one I have always had in the back of my mind to see...I couldn't quite tell if it was going to be a bore or not...but I would love to commit to at least the pilot first episode...I just need to take the plunge and see where it leads :)) Thanks for sharing and as I always respect your opinion I have moved this one up in my netflix queue.

    P.s. it just took me like 20 seconds to figure out how to spell queue...there is one word with entirely too many vowels smashed together. But I suppose I'd better get used to using that word from now on ;)

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    1. Have you seen Marple or The Bletchly Circle, Jeanine? If you liked either one of them, you'd enjoy this series. It's high class mystery at its finest and the acting? It's brilliant! To be honest, I see where someone may think this "boring." It does move slowly and is prone to a lot of meaningful looks and quiet moments.

      If/when you see the first episode, let us know what you think! Anxiously await your respected opinion.

      LOL! Yeah, that word always stumps me also. It's puzzling to be sure. For me, I think it's because it's a word I rarely find myself using.

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  6. I've never seen Foyle's War (although it's been on my "to watch" list for ages). You're convincing me that I need to remedy this!

    I've read your blog for awhile, but for some reason, your reply to my comment at Sew Technicolor finally forced me out of seclusion over here. Yay for similar opinions on Downton Abbey (and Merlin and Robin Hood)! :D

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    1. You'd love it, Tayler - if you are a fan of British drama and well, I can tell that you are. :) Hope you do remedy it sometime because the show is excellent for any crime-drama lover.

      Thank you for coming out of seclusion and commenting! :) Anytime you are most welcome here and I appreciate you stopping by - please do so anytime. It was great to read your comments on Sew Technicolor about 'Downton'! Always nice to meet someone who shares a similar opinion of something so controversial.

      Lovely to meet you, Tayler.

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    2. Awww, thanks Rissi! It's nice to meet you too. I'll plan on being back with more comments in the future. :-)

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    3. I'll look forward to that, Tayler. You are welcome anytime. :)

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  7. Nice review! When I first heard they were making 'yet another' series of Foyle's War, I was skeptical. As you mentioned, sometimes you have to stop a series when it's at its best and not yield to public. When I saw the trailer for this series, I wasn't really enthusiastic, I missed the WWII background (how can you miss a war....) and the trio of Foyle-Sam-Milner (I already missed him in the previous series). But, I will still watch it ofcourse, I love(d) Foyle's War sooo much and I would watch practically anything just for the wonderful acting of Michael Kitchen.

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    1. Thanks (as always) for reading, Birdienl. :)

      My father missed Milner also. I didn't as much; had Sam been missing, that'd be another story. ;) I think what I missed was the crime-fighting trio not so much the character although I LOVE Milner. He did pop up in two of the three S6 episodes and we just re-watched one last night which did make me realize that Milner was missed and a great character.

      Like what you said about missing the war: this is true but in the case of Foyle's War, that is the environment it was best in.

      Anxious for your thoughts on S7. Will be curious to know what conclusions you reach! :)

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