Under the Radar

'Foyle's War' Transitions to the Cold War Era

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The current series of Foyle's War (now playing on PBS) arrvies today on DVD and (for the first time with this series) Blu-ray. The three new episodes take place in the summer of 1946 and, although DCS Christopher Foyle as retired from the police, he's given the opportunity to move to London and join the newly-formed MI5 intelligence unit.

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There, he's reunited with his longtime driver/sidekick Samantha Stewart and the two take on cases involving Russian spies instead of the Nazi spies and British collaborators so familiar to the show's fans. Det. Sgt. Paul Milner is gone and there's a completely different vibe now that the characters have moved to the big city. Foyle still has his outsider's perspective, but now he's in the thick of the action with the bureaucratic higher ups who previously frustrated him from a distance.

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Michael Kitchen's wry performance as Foyle remains the best reason to watch the show. He's like a British Columbo, arching his eyebrows and waiting until his suspects talks themselves into a corner.

What's always been most interesting about Foyle's War is how creator Anthony Horowitz uses the Masterpiece Mystery format to explore a more complex version of World War II-era history. There's a lot of attention to historical details (cars, clothes, props) but he's using that detail as a tool to explore the cracks in the official Good War narrative, digging up real-life incidents and opposition to the war to create a more interesting picture of the era.

There's plenty of opportunity to continue that approach through the Cold War era, so don't be surprised if we see another Foyle series a couple of years from now.

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The new set includes a recap of the first six series and over 86 minutes of bonus documentary features plus introductions by series creator Anthony Horowitz. If you're interested in streaming the full-length episodes online, they're available at the new subscription Acorn TV website, which you can access on your TV via a Roku box or via a YouTube app.

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