The fourth installment of Inspector Lewis, Season III, starts off with an August Bank Holiday that has emptied Oxford University of professors, students and all but a handful of staff. A small group is assembling for a Bank Holiday Quizaholic Weekend.
The members of the group introduce themselves in teams, including Ethan Croft, an obnoxious, boozing primary school teacher, whose once promising career as a linguist at Oxford U. was derailed by a sex scandal.
The teams include two older Oxford academics, two students, two young mothers, soldiers, and lawyers.
The cash prize for winning the Quiz is £5,000 lbs, but before the first round even gets under way, Mr. Croft is found floating face down in an ornamental fountain. Lewis and Hathaway interview Jean Croft, the dead man’s stunned widow. She confesses to wanting to kill him for his infidelities. The viewer quickly eliminates her as a suspect, as do Lewis and Hathaway.
They mull over the situation a bit more. Was the murder a crime of passion?
Ethan’s old flame, Robyn, appeared at the event with her friend, Eve Rigby (Sally Bretton). Ethan is instantly smitten with Eve, and hardly gives Robyn a glance. Robyn realizes that he does not recall their relationship, when she was 14 to his 16. Later she appears to be angry. Could she have killed Ethan out of jealous rage?
Then Eve is killed, and Hathaway and Lewis must deal with a second body. They are convinced that the two murders are somehow connected. Could the two soldiers, British Army Lieutenant Diane Baxter and Color Sergeant Brian Kaye, have killed the victims on behalf of the government.
As Lewis and Hathaway find out more about a secret project that Croft was involved with, it would not be out of line to suspect the soldiers of killing him on behalf of the Government.
Professor Milner’s young wife had the affair with Croft, which ended his career at Oxford.
As they wait for Hathaway and Lewis to solve the murders, the teams are allowed to compete in the Quiz game.
Different possibilities present themselves, including the Quiz organizer whose shady business practices might have been uncovered by Croft. Or was the mysterious project that he was working on as a linguist responsible for his death?
One by one, the clues tumble into place and before the 90 minutes are up, Lewis and Hathaway have solved the murders and the quiz contestants can go home – all save the killer.
I loved this episode for the continued deepening of the relationship between Lewis and Dr. Laura Hobson, and Lewis and Hathaway. Their personal back stories are revealed slowly, like peeling the layers of an onion one story at a time.
The mystery of Your Sudden Death Question was splendid, and this time around I did not solve the murder until the end. I give this episode of Inspector Lewis, written by Alan Plater, three out of three Regency fans! You can watch the episode online at this link from Monday, September 20 to October 19, 2010.
Inspector Lewis, Season III