Follow Here To Purchase Best of Foyle's War

Actors: Anthony Howell, Michael Kitchen

Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC

Number of discs: 6




On October 27, 2002, writer Anthony Horowitz’s Foyle’s War debuted on British ITV. It soon became a critical and popular success. Set during World War II, the first 19 episodes revolved around the investigations of Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) who is based in Hastings on the southern coast of England. Foyle would rather be directly involved in the war effort, but he’s simply too good at his job of uncovering murderers and his superiors won’t let him go. As revealed in the first episode, “The German Woman,” it’s also clear Foyle is a man of high moral caliber who will often butt heads with these superiors as well as officials of military intelligence agencies. Over and over, in their opinion, Foyle goes beyond his purview when he digs into crimes directly related to their turfs of interest.

The first episode also introduced the three primary supporting players who work with Foyle. There’s the engaging Samantha "Sam" Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) who first is assigned the role of being Foyle’s driver. But she soon becomes more involved with the investigations due to her drive and curiosity. Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell), after losing a leg in combat, becomes Foyle’s, ah, legman who follows up on various leads and clues while Foyle is chasing down other angles. Andrew Foyle (Julian Overden) is Foyle's RAF pilot son who becomes obliquely involved with his father’s investigations when crimes are occurring within his unit.

Throughout the run of the first 19 episodes, the time frame is an important element of the stories. None of the murders are unrelated to the war. Many of the crimes deal with attempts to engage in war profiteering, or unscrupulous and amoral officers and scientists who use national defense as a means to cloak criminal activity. While some of the details are anachronistic, Horowitz went to considerable effort to present the mysteries full of the flavor of the times. As a result, each feature-length episode is a historical drama with a rich tapestry of ethical dilemmas unique to that era. For example, in “The German Woman” Foyle doggedly hunts down the murderer of the title character despite claims that she was only a German and therefore an enemy of the British. The killer felt himself too indispensable to national defense to be arrested, and Foyle’s boss was involved in a cover-up with the woman’s husband.

The Best of Foyle’s War is only six 90 plus minute episodes chosen by Michael Kitchen as his favorites. This is roughly 1/3 of the stories from the first four seasons, and many have hints of sub-plots and ongoing relationships ostensibly developed in other outings. In addition to Kitchen’s choices, previously released bonuses include an interview with Anthony Horowitz recorded while he was writing the fifth episode. It sheds considerable light on the formation of the series. In a separate interview, Anthony Howell and Honeysuckle Weeks talk about how they felt about their roles and how their characters evolved throughout the series. There are production notes for several episodes and a 24 minute behind-the-scenes featurette demonstrating how the fiery crash of a Spitfire plane was shot.

All of Foyle’s War—excluding the three episodes scheduled for 2013—are already available in various boxed sets, so this collection is really a means to reach out to new viewers not already familiar with the series. That included me, a viewer who only caught a few broadcasts on my local PBS station. But now, alarmingly, I’m hooked. Six stories are not enough—I will have to seek out the rest of the saga as this set had only two dramas apiece from series one and two, and only one sample each from seasons three and four. The set doesn’t include the final story set on VE Day, which once concluded the series, nor anything from the post-war years when Foyle comes out of retirement. So try this one at your own risk—it’s addicting, charming, engrossing, and even educational. Not all time capsules taste this good.

   Follow Here To Purchase Best of Foyle's War