Review by Matt D., Unreality TV
I have to admit that I am a fan when crime shows participate in crossover episodes such as the recent Hawaii 5-0 and NCIS:LA episodes or the classic Magnum PI and Murder She Wrote double bill, so this week imagine my delight when it seemed that Lewis would be inviting the latter half of Starsky and Hutch onto his show. Indeed David Soul did feature in this week’s episode of Lewis, however he wasn’t playing his most famous character but instead Professor Paul Yellad who had been invited to Oxford to discuss his new method for measuring criminal behaviour and after seeing several people with threatening glares watching him in the audience, it was clear that he was tonight’s victim which for me at least was a damn shame.
The first motive seemed to be that Yelland’s new technique would involve racial programming, which meant that protestors broke in during his talk to accusing him of being a bigot a point that was backed up later by student Nina Clemens. It seemed that Nina was also involved in her own separate story involving housemates Will and Emily the former being a childhood friend and the latter being in love with him we were also given the idea that these two were important to the story as they were viewed in the opening sequence winning big at a dog race. Nina’s importance was heightened when she found Yelland’s dead body, which was made to look like a suicide, later that evening which was of course when the police came in.
For me Lewis and Hathaway’s entrance was later than usual, although they’d both been viewed briefly in the opening scenes, but I’m guessing that was so a number of motives could be built up for killing the man formerly known as [Ken] Hutchinson. The first piece of evidence was a letter with four separate fingerprints including those belonging to Lillian Hunter and Stephen Pettle both of whom were seen looking suspicious earlier on at the speech. It turns out that both of these people had a connection to the professor which went back long before he even starting developing his criminal detection methods. Another piece of evidence was a heckle heard during the protest when an elderly lady told the professor that ‘this isn’t over’; however, that linked to an entirely different plot in which Yelland had ripped off someone online who was after completing their set of collectible vases. There were also other people in the frame including Professor Ann Rand, who had invited Yelland to Oxford in an attempt to convince him to give her a job in the States, and her husband Robert Fraser who had been conducted an affair with Nina so at the day basically all the characters we met had some sort of motive.
As I said last week you do have to expand your disbelief a great deal when watching an episode of Lewis as the number of potential suspects seems to grow every single minute. I’m all for creating an element of suspense, as well as letting the audience try and guess themselves whodunnit, but I found some of the reasons for killing off the professor ridiculous. Take the case of the collectable vases for instance I failed to believe for one minute that intellectual like Yelland would bother with an online way of making money when he had better things to do with his time sure he probably needed the cash, but I’m sure there was a much better way to present him as a swindler than this. I also found the ninety minute runtime way too long and for the second week in a row it seems that our appetite for murder has to be satisfied by killing another character off about halfway through the show so that we don’t drift into boredom however this does mean that Lewis and Hathaway have to go through the same rigmarole of interviewing everybody once again.
In my previous review I mentioned that I’d like to see more of Lewis and Hathaway off the job so at least the former had his own storyline but I was a little disappointed that it was a comedy plot in which he suffered from toothache throughout the investigation with various characters offering to book him at their dentists. I would’ve like to have seen more of the potential romance between Lewis and pathologist Dr Hobson who hinted several times that they might go out on a date together however as this was the final episode of the current series I suppose fans will have to wait till the next instalment to find out if anything did happen here. Though it seemed that at least Lewis had something going on as all we knew about Hathaway’s personal life was that he liked to drink scotch alone and that he was a big fan of Dickens. I’ve got no problem with the overall performances of the cast, but I feel the detectives on show here simply serve as a way of telilng us who they consider as prime suspects when I believe they should be presented as more fully-rounded characters. Now all we need next series is for Starsky to pop up as a way of avenging his former partner then things might liven up in the dull world of Oxford University.
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