As we watch this episode, it’s been announced that this is to be the final case for Lewis, as season nine will be the last (see the news story elsewhere on this site). Will it be as traumatic as the final Inspector Morse, or will Robbie be allowed to slip into comfortable retirement with the fragrant Dr Hobson? Or with Hathaway?
Good to see a figure of the stature of David Warner appearing in this last two-parter, anyway.
Smoothie Prof Adam Capstone (Tristam Summers) receives a parcel bomb which blows him out of shape, which is ironic as he’s a professor of topology (not to be confused with topography, Hathaway remarks, as if he’s suddenly become a maths genius).
Interestingly, the incident takes place at the Andrew Wiles building, which is a genuine part of Oxford’s mathematics faculty, constructed only in 2013.
Capstone has been working on DNA knotting, but has received threatening letters – possibly from disgruntled ex-employee Kate McMurdoch (Emerald O’Hanrahan, who sounds like she may be a mate of Philomena Cunk and Barry Shitpeas).
Another suspect is Adam’s brother David (Oliver Lansley) who gets to deliver the familiar ‘That’s what he tells his students… sorry, TOLD his students’ line. Overshadowed by David, he’d argued about selling their research .
Then there’s Adam’s wronged wife, chemist Elizabeth (Zoe Tapper); the parents of Adam’s ex-student Paula Gitteau, who had accused Adam of rape then committed suicide; Adam’s sponsor (and Elizabeth’s father) Donald Lockston (David Warner), though he appears to be on his last legs; and his snappy carer Sarah Alderwood (Mali Harries), who (we quickly figure out, before Lewis does) has had a secret child with Adam.
Chief Superintendent Moody is his usual officious self as the investigation swings into action, and the first stop is the Gitteaus, or Gitteaux. They clearly harbour nothing but ill-feeling for Capstone, but deny knowledge of the threatening letters or the bomb.
After the compulsory shot of the Radcliffe Camera (what possesses so many suspects to walk past the most striking building in Oxford time after time?), Maddox questions Kate McMurdoch, who claimed that the Capstones stole credit for her work, but of course denies any wrong-doing.
The bomb was made of fulminated mercury (shades of Breaking Bad here…), so who had access to the chemicals? – Capstone’s chemist wife Elizabeth, perhaps; colleague Prof Dimmock (Peter De Jersey), who has a gambling scam going with David Capstone; or American student Djimon (Tosin Cole), who has a thing going with Kate McMurdoch.
The threatening letters are traced to Frank Gitteau (Ian Puleston-Davies), but while he admits to sending them, and he does have access to mercury through his recycling job, as we suspected, he can’t be put in the frame for the bombing.
David argues with Dimmock over their gambling scheme, and next thing we know, David too has received a letter-bomb, which he flings out of a window as Lewis and Hathaway arrive with more questions.
But we have our doubts – the package is different, and the bomb explodes without the package being opened – has David sent it to himself, to divert suspicion?
What with all this excitement, Maddox looking like she might leave to be with her errant husband, and Lewis failing to buy a present for the new baby, it looks like the proposed trip to Australia might be postponed – in fact, will Robbie make it to retirement at all?
Next week is the clincher.
For our episode one review, go here
For our episode two review, go here
For our episode three review, go here
For our episode four review, go here