The sensation of Downton Abbey has made PBS a hot channel once more for culture vultures. While the boost in viewership has been a good thing, each season of Downton is around 8 episodes. This means PBS is constantly looking for other quality English shows to import so viewers will stick around and donate during pledge week. Foyle’s War has been playing for a while as part of the network’s Mystery! banner. The ratings for the World War II detective series have received a ratings boost in recent years thanks to the Downton Effect. Foyle’s War: Set 7 contains the three feature length films from the most recent season which just wrapped up on PBS.
“The Eternity Ring” is a fine spot for new viewers to start watch the series instead of going back to the beginning. The previous seven seasons were about Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) investigation of crimes during World War II. Along with the normal crimes, Foyle would become entangled in military matters that would test his ability to deliver justice. The new season starts with Foyle returning from his trip to America. He’s no longer working for the cops which makes him the ideal candidate for MI5 to recruit him for the intelligence agency. The Cold War has started with the Soviets doing their best to snoop around England. Foyle is able to bring along Samantha Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) as his assistant. She’s getting used to the government office that operates at a different level from her experiences back on the police force. Sam’s husband Adam Wainwright (Daniel Weyman) wants to run for a spot in Parliament as part of the Labour Party. Foyle’s first case is to bust up a Soviet spy ring. Along with the usual espionage tracking, Foyle must deal with an associate recovering from his time as a POW in the Pacific Theater. The show delves into England getting its bearings after years at war which is what makes it more than a mystery series.
“The Cage” tackles a top secret complex in England. Foyle is put on a case involving the deaths of several Russians who had switched sides and were now helping British intelligence. Who is killing them? Is it a Soviet mole within the agency that’s getting revenge from Mother Russia? Or perhaps a English agent who just doesn’t trust the Soviets. The big interference on the case is that Foyle can’t get any real information about the military complex that involved Russians. He struggles to get classified information that he thought he could gain easily with his MI5 post. Instead Foyle feels like he’s stuck back at his old police gig dealing with the military. Turns out the military complex is where they devise new torture techniques. Sam’s husband looks good for winning the seat, but during a campaign stop he meets a woman looking for her missing daughter. This turns out not to be a simple runaway incident.
Foyle needs to investigate the threats against a Nazi that’s now a member of MI5 in “Sunflower.” The agency had scrubbed his past to make him a Dutch citizen. His job is to root out Soviet spies. Turns out that the former Nazi had also scrubbed his past to remove his possible involvement in an operation that slaughtered unarmed POWs. So basically this guy can be stalked by Soviets, Americans, English and Nazis. It would be a faster episode if Foyle tracked down the people who wouldn’t want this guy dead and dismembered. Sam’s marriage is getting tense since winning the seat has taken up most of her husband’s time. He must investigate a farmer in his district who wants his land back from when the military used it during the war.
Foyle’s War: Set 7 is a trio of feature length mysteries that a bound to entertain the PBS viewers addicted to Downton Abbey. Foyle emerges into a new England where the enemy is now hiding a Russian accent instead of a German tongue. He’s still facing the same issues of military clearance as he proceeds with a case. Now as a member of MI5, Foyle does have more connections to get around these official roadblocks. This is an exciting time to pick up watching the show since Foyle and England is in a massive transition going from World War II to the Cold War. The world has changed once more for the detective.
The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers bring out the details in the period furniture and sets. The audio is 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. This comes into good effect during a few of the action scenes and outdoor locations. The movies are subtitled in case you need help with the accents.
Introductions (5:00) are featured at the start of each film featuring creator Anthony Horowitz. He’s been writing the show for 12 years. He does a fine job of setting up the movies in historical and fictional context.
Brief Series Recap (6:00) sums up the previous six sets. There were a lot of explosions around Foyle’s neighborhood during World War II.
Origins, On the Set and More (26:56) explores it takes to make the show. They show was started by ITV to replace Inspector Morse. They chose World War II since it was a time when things drastically changed for people in England.
Old Friends & New Faces (14:15) discusses the characters brought back and created for the new MI5 version of Foyle’s War.
The Stylings of Foyle’s War (26:55) takes us into the hairdos, wardrobe, production design and art direction that makes the show look the period. There’s talk about why you wouldn’t find furniture from the early 1940s.
The Sunflower Massacre (17:44) explains the historical events and how the producers had to alter facts for the movie.
Photo Gallery (2:02) are shots from the set.
Foyle’s War: Set 7 is the perfect time for newbies to jump in on the tales of Christoper Foyle. He’s no longer a police detective. Now he’s an MI5 agent investigating Russian spies and Nazi defectors during the Cold War. England is changing, but Foyle won’t let that alter justice.
Acorn Media presents Foyle’s War: Set 7. Screenplays by: Anthony Horowitz and David Kane. Starring: Micheal Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Ellie Haddington, Tim McMullan and Daniel Weyman. Boxset Contents: Three movies on 3 DVDs. Released: September 24, 2013.