DVD Review: Pie In the Sky (Series 5)

The chef detective was a genius concept that worked much better than Cop Rock. How can you combine two professions? Detective Inspector Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths) thought he was about to retire from the force so he could dedicate his time to his dream restaurant. But his last case ended in a way that his boss kept him as part of the police force. Thus he’s forced to balance time beating eggs and criminal minds. Pie In the Sky went down easy with criminal cases that were solved with a calm enough atmosphere to keep a souffle from collapsing. The tone resembled a cross between Matlock and Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. The first four series were rather constant with Crabbe’s staff in the kitchen and the police station. Like a dessert at the end of a four course meal, Pie In the Sky: Series 5 pleases the palette with unusual and delightful flavors. Crabbe’s final eight episodes switch up cast and direction. Instead of being a shock, the change made the series even more of a criminal-gastronomic delight.

“Squashed Tomatoes” changes up the menu in fast order. Nicola, the hot waitress, has split the restaurant. This upsets the chef (Nicholas Lamont). The only reason he’s not ticked off at her replacement (Marsha Thomason) is Sally’s promise to quit the gig if Nicola returns to Pie In the Sky. The most extreme change happens in Crabbe’s police force. ACC Freddy Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair) wants to combat budget cuts by offering his police men as private security. Crabbe is not happy being sent out on rent-a-cop missions where the customer is always right even if the law says otherwise. His first paid mission involves protecting a new real estate development that’s being hit by vandals. He’s assigned PC Ed Guthrie (Derren Litten) and WPC Jane Morton (Mary Woodvine). Crabbe doesn’t want to merely be a night watchman for a real estate developer. He uncovers a lot of ugliness involving the new houses including how one was build in the middle of a public pathway. Quite a few contractors haven’t been paid including the old security team. Back at the restaurant, Crabbe gets into serious trouble with his special tomatoes cultivated by Leon Henderson (Nick Raggett). Ultimately Crabbe’s boss gets pissed that he’s doing police work while merely being security.

“Ugly Customers” wastes Crabbe’s talent by making him a mere guard for a sequestered jury. He can’t quit being a detective as he tracks down the culprit that’s attempting to sway the jurys’ votes. At the restaurant Sally finds herself receiving unwelcomed attention from a creepy diner. “Pork Pies” sticks Crabbe at a sausage factory being victimized by animal rights fanatics. The cop once more can’t be a robot and delves into what goes in the sausages. It ain’t pretty. “Cutting the Mustard” deals with a posh school’s ecstasy pills outbreak. Who can be supplying the little darlings? “Return Match” gets nasty when a security firm doesn’t like the cops taking away their gigs. They’ll stoop to stool pigeons in the police force to bust criminals for citizen’s arrests.

“The Apprentice” makes a suspect out of Crabbe’s latest hiring. The kid might have made off with the night’s cash. “In the Smoke” sends Crabbe to London for a holiday, but dastardly crimes follow him. He can’t get a break. “Smelling of Roses” is Crabbe’s ultimate nightmare: he can’t smell or taste. How can he run a restaurant if he can’t even taste enough garlic to kill the cast of True Blood? What is the cure? Will he be stuck as a police detective since he’s no help in the kitchen? It’s a fitting farewell episode to the cuisine cop. Pie In the Sky: Series 5 does a fitting job changing up the format for one last go around instead of merely recycling the greatest crimes. Crabbe serves up a desert plate that makes you eager to go back later for another five course meal.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The video transfer is a little bit soft which helps Richard Griffiths. This is a rather soft series when it comes to tension. The audio is Dolby Digital English 2.0 stereo. The levels are fine for the cases. In case you have issues with the various accents, each episode has subtitles.

No bonus features.

Pie In the Sky: Series 5 wraps up the most delicious of police detective shows. The pacing and tone is perfect for people who like their cop shows cerebral without being brainbusting. Griffiths creates a detective worthy of sitting next to Cannon at the donut shop. Don’t watch this without a well stocked pantry.

Acorn Media presents Pie In the Sky: Series 2. Starring: Richard Griffiths, Maggie Steed, Mary Woodvine and Nick Raggett. Boxset Contents: 8 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released on DVD: August 2, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.

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