The government’s public sector cuts may be eating into staffing and efficiency of real-life cops and serious investigations may be more perfunctory than they once were, but at least murderers on the loose aren’t usually so cocky as to up their score while the police are actually pursuing them. Because if I lived in Lewis’s Oxford, I’d be up at county hall asking for a rebate on my council tax. The corpses were just piling up like those in a Greek tragedy this week following the slaying of American post-grad classics student Rose Anderson in the first episode – with Lewis (Kevin Whately), Hathaway (Laurence Fox) and DC Maddox (Angela Griffin) playing the chorus as the drama unfolded – nice to know that after all these years plots pinched from the likes of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides can still draw us all in.
After finding that their favoured suspect for Rose’s murder has been battered to death in his observatory while stargazing, our cops head off to feel the collar of the slimy classics don and Euripides fan Simon Flaxman (Clive Merrison). Hathaway quickly outed him as a fraud after a close reading of that “lost” Euripides play the old codger had crowed about finding.
Yeah, well we had guessed the professor had built his literary reputation on a lie – the answer was in the stars all along, as the battered physicist would also have known. However, that wouldn’t necessarily make the classicist a killer – or would it? As Hathaway says, he’s gone from “a con to a don in seven years”. His besotted secretary (played by Rosie Cavaliero) certainly seems desperate to deflect suspicion from him.
Poor Maddox, lest we forget, has been roughed up by another suspect in both deaths – drug dealer Harrison Sax (Michael Ryan), however, Hathaway seems unconcerned about the welfare of his deputy – leaving caring Lewis to kiss her boo-boos better. No sooner is she over this than Sax’s girlfriend Chloe is found stabbed in a similar manner to her housemate Rose.
We know Hathaway is an ascetic – so austere and monkish that he makes Gandhi look like Russell Brand. He probably lies on a bed of nails at night – and has he ever got his leg over with anyone? But he takes a melancholic shine to Philippa (Andrea Lowe) the dead physicist’s wife – and the classics lecturer who taught Rose. And he seems to have discounted her as a suspect in any of the killings – to the point where he is making cow eyes at her and offering gardening tips. As displacement therapy she is attacking what she believes is bindweed. “It’s not bindweed, it’s Japanese knotweed,” he tells her mournfully. Japanese knotwood – the Ebola of the horticultural world, it grows like wildfire – indestructible, undermining foundations and destroying everything in its path. How apt.
Her sister and brother-in-law, on the other hand, seem a more likely prospect when a startling fact emerges about the paternity of their dying daughter Tabitha and her unborn ‘saviour sibling’, whom they’re having through IVF to provide life-saving stem cells for big sister.
Incidentally, while our hard-pressed trio are burning rubber and shoe leather in pursuit of the killer, we should be calculating the police precept component of the council tax bill because we really should know what Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent (Rebecca Front) actually gets paid to do all day – apart from sitting around in Laura Ashley frocks and carping at Lewis’s clue-solving. Please writers, give her something important to do soon.
For our episode one review go here
For our episode two review go here
For our episode three review go here