Cops and food go together like a police cruiser parked by a donut shop. Yet it’s rare that a cop show brings together the joy of eating and crime solving. Mostly it’s fast food and donuts for the beat patrol. Why can’t law enforcement agents be seen as hungering for truth and good steak? Perhaps the closest crime series to mingle these concepts was Cannon featuring an ex-cop being a gourmet cook. Pie in the Sky dared to finally give a man that’s a detective in the field and chef in the kitchen. But cooking was a hobby and not a second career. Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths) is a semi-retired cop who runs his wife’s Pie In the Sky restaurant. She (Maggie Steed) is not a foodie so he can’t lose himself in police work without a fear of the place falling apart. Pie in the Sky: Series 2 gives us 10 cases that sometimes have a tasty treat at the end of the investigation
“Hard Cheese” reveals a peeping tom prowler. He’s turned on by old women. Crabbe gets dragged into the case. While the modern cops use computers, he goes back to colored pins on a map. This gives him a sense of a pattern. He makes the horrifying realization that the reports duplicates his cheeseman’s delivery route. How can he have worked so long with a pervert? How will he get his cheese after the bust? He has to get to the bottom of this mystery to know if his Gouda is tainted. “Brown Bread” is every restaurant owner’s worse night: a dead customer in the bathroom. They call this “Pulling an Elvis” in the dining business. Crabbe’s second worse nightmare happens when the body vanishes. Hard to make the clientele happy diners when your place is crawling with EMTs and cops. The only clues about the missing dead customer leads Crabbe into a counterfeiting operation. “The Policeman’s Daughter” has him searching for a runaway that’s taken up the hippie life. They’re squatting on a field owned by a Crabbe’s pal. Can he link things together. Can he really get the girl to take a shower and go home to her folks? Will he tempt her to a normal life with a good meal that isn’t granola flavored?
“The One That Got Away” makes Crabbe help out another food supplier. His trout supplier’s fiance might be murdered. They can’t find the body, but the police have their suspect in the supplier. The Chef-cop has figure out what’s fish tale and who is holding the hook. He needs a free fishmonger. “Dead Right” gives us a psychic who can’t identify the sender of death threats. She begs for low key police help. Can Crabbe tolerate a psychic that needs the police’s help? “Black Pudding” sticks a cooking writer in a mucky situation. She’s allowed an evil nephew to have power of attorney. She’s dumped in a retirement home while he lives the good life off her legacy. Crabbe needs to get her back in charge of her life.
No matter how involved the police case, the restaurant is always on Crabbe’s mind. “Swan in His Pride” takes him out of town to investigate the death of an undercover female cop. Back at the kitchen, a major pipe blows. How can he focus on a case when his oven is floating away? “The Mild Bunch” mixes con women with bread and butter pudding. Easy to figure out which angle really interests Crabbe. “The Mystery of Pikey” puts a burglar on the loose. The locals wants Crabbe to catch the thief. But their hero is completely focused on pike. “Lemon Twist” lands the restaurant a major rave review. He finally achieves a waiting list for the dining room. Will culinary success finally let Crabbe drop his dayjob?
Richard Griffiths’ is most popularly known as Uncle Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter movies. Cult film fans recognize him as Uncle Monty from Withnail & I. His girth and deductive expressions makes him perfectly suited for the role of Crabbe. You can’t believe him as a cook and a detective. He makes the crimes entertaining without getting too gruesome. The series has the same tone as Matlock. Nothing is too shocking or jarring in the action. The business in the kitchen brings humor to even the bleakest of cases. Pie in the Sky: Series 2 gives us an investigator who knows you can’t solve a crime if your stomach is grumbling.
“Hard Cheese,””Brown Bread,””The Policeman’s Daughter,””The One That Got Away,””Dead Right,” “Black Pudding,” “Swan in His Pride,” “The Mild Bunch,””The Mystery of Pikey” and “Lemon Twist.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The series looks like it was shot on video. The transfers don’t have any major glitches. There’s detail in the image including the glow to kitchen. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. It’s not the most dynamic of mixes. They’re not looking to shock the audiences during the pursuits. The subtitles are in English.
Richard Griffiths Biography is a text article that you click through. An interesting fact is that both of his parents were deaf.
Cast Filmographies are given for Richard Griffiths, Maggie Steed and Malcolm Sinclair.
Pie in the Sky: Series 2 mixes gourmet dining with intriguing crimes. Even when Crabbe wants to get away from his police life, the kitchen provides little sanctuary from the criminals outside. He is doomed to be a cop and a chef. The tone of the series makes it more appealing to fans of Matlock than fanatics of CSI. Always have dinner before watching an episode of Pie In the Sky
Acorn Media presents Pie In the Sky: Set 2. Starring: Richard Griffiths, Maggie Steed and Malcolm Sinclair. Boxset Contents: 10 Episodes on 3 DVDs. Released on DVD: January 26, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.