Inspector Lewis

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Ispector Lewis, called Lewis outside of the States, is easily one of my favorite TV shows. Chronicling the adventures of Detective Inspector Lewis and Detective Sergeant James Hathaway the show follows the two as they solve crimes around Oxford, both the town and the university. Many of the crimes are deeply intellectual, giving a nod to the learned inhabitants of the area. The concentration for the show is not on the gore and violence (a problem many an American cop show has) but on the resolution.

DS Hathaway is an intellectual, a Cambridge graduate, trained in Theology. We are told he was a successful athlete who earned the nickname ‘Atta-way Hathaway” for his rowing prowess. Lewis once stated that between he and Hathaway they made “one good detective.” Lewis went on to say, “I, of course, am the brains” but it would be more accurate to say that they are both the brains, just representing the two different sides. Hathaway is the right brain. He knows a great deal about art, literature and music, can translate Latin and is deeply interested in philosophy and theology. When the crimes take an odd turn, and they often do, Hathaway’s knowledge is put to good use.

Lewis is the right brain thinker. He is logical and analytical, fascinated by puzzles and determined to solve them. He has a keen understanding of human nature and an even deeper understanding of the criminal mind. Hathaway often comes up with the pieces of the puzzle while Lewis places them so that they reveal the whole of the picture. Professionally, they are the perfect couple.

I like their personal relationship as well. They behave like typical co-workers; they progress slowly in their friendship, careful to remember that they have to face each other the next morning over the first cup of the day. They aren’t best friends, constantly hanging out but have actual lives which have nothing to do with work. Lewis is the older of the two, with a grown daughter. He is a widower who was devastated by the death of his wife as the result of a hit and run, a crime which he and Hathaway eventually solve. Hathaway takes some valuable life advice from Lewis but his training in theology also enables him to give Lewis some much needed advice as well.

If you haven’t seen the show and like mysteries, I would encourage you to try it out. If you have seen it, what are your thoughts? Any recommendations for other British cop shows?

- Maggie AAR

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10 Responses to “Inspector Lewis”

  1. wendy says:

    How timely. Now that the season has ended for Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfridge I’ve been looking for something to watch. This sounds good!

  2. Sandy says:

    You don’t mention this, so I wanted to make sure you knew that Lewis was the long time sidekick of Inspector Morse, a series that ended probably 10 years ago. I was a huge fan of that show and Lewis was a great character. So, in case you’re not familiar, Inspector Morse had many episodes and they were all great.

    • maggie b. says:

      I SHOULD have mentioned that. I do know but Inspector Morse has so many episodes and Lewis is good as a stand alone so I didn’t mention it. I don’t know if you have seen Endeavor, which is about Morse in his young years but I watched it recently and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  3. maggie b. says:

    wendy: How timely. Now that the season has ended for Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfridge I’ve been looking for something to watch. This sounds good!

    I love Call the Midwife. I sure hope we get a season 3. Lewis is great as is Sherlock. If you haven’t seen Sherlock make that one a priority. And Downton Abbey of course. BBC America has certainly been putting out some excellent television lately.

  4. Tinabelle says:

    I am a big fan of both Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis. Hathaway and Lewis have an interesting relationship and are fascinating characters in their own rights. I have enjoyed watching their relationship evolve over the last 4 series. I also appreciate the focus on the intellectual side of crime solving.

    I would also recommend DCI Banks which is a bit grittier. Again, interesting characters and fresh story lines. Case Studies starring Jason Isaacs about a Scottish private detective is also very good. He has a lot of personal baggage that makes him somewhat of a tortured hero who doesn’t always follow the rules. Midsommer Murders is a bit lighter in tone but does present some intriguing puzzles.

    I see in new Masterpiece Mystery previews that they will be a series called Endeavor about Inspector Morse’s early career. Looking forward to that. Loved the one episode that was aired last season.

    IMHO one of the best shows from Britain is MI-5. It is an absolutely riveting series with stories ripped from the headlines. It is intense and so realistic. It deals with ethical and moral issues in examining where that line exists in trying to protect the country from terrorists attacks. An excellent series that ran for like 10 seasons and ended in 2010, I think, but is still shown in reruns on many PBS stations.

    • Maggie AAR says:

      They are making Endeavor a series??!!!! Awesome! Loved the first one. Kinda sad but really glad. I look forward to seeing more of them.

  5. Tinabelle says:

    Oops! The Jason Isaacs series is called Case Histories NOT Case Studies. Just read that a new series of CH has been airing in the UK. Hope we’ll see it here, too, at some point.

  6. Kay Webb Harrison says:

    Love the Inspector Lewis series. I second Midsommer Murders. Another good mystery series is Rosemary and Thyme, which features two women, one a college professor and one a divorced former policewoman, who form a landscape/gardening business and who keep finding mysteries to solve. I also enjoy Old Tricks, which features four out to pasture Scotland Yard detectives, recruited for a cold case squad headed up by an ambitious and savvy female detective.

    Foyle’s War is a period mystery set in southern England during WWII. I believe that there have been several new post-war episodes made, which will air for the first time on Masterpiece Mystery this summer.


    • Maggie AAR says:


      I just put Foyle’s War and Rosemary and Thyme on my instant streaming que. I am getting New Tricks from Netflix on DVD – that looks awesome.

      I’ve seen several seasons of Midsummer Murders and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I think the show has a total of 76 epis on instant streaming. I am on eip 36.


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