Falling Darkness, the final episode of season 3 of Inspector Lewis on PBS Masterpiece Mystery! begins on Halloween Eve, a night when the moon is full and young goblins go from house to house trick or treating.
The viewer is witness to Inspector Lewis’s playful reaction as children in costume arrive at his doorstep. But all too soon Hathaway appears at his doorstep to halt all the fun and announce a murder.
The victim, Ligeia Willard, is found with a stake through her heart and garlic in her mouth. Could it be witchcraft? Or revenge? for Dr. Willard is a renowned scientist at a stem cell research institute and “not overly popular with the spiritually certain.”
Dr. Willard, as it turns out, was also Laura Hobson’s good friend and college house mate years ago. They shared their house with another friend, Ellen, and two male friends, Alec and Peter.
Griefstricken over her friend’s death, Laura removes herself from the investigation. When another murder of a young woman, Rowena, occurs in that same house, the string of clues lead to Laura as the main suspect.
The plot of Falling Darkness revolves around Laura Hobson and events in her past that might solve the mystery. This is an unwelcome development for Inspector Lewis, who must follow correct investigative procedure and check out Laura’s alibis.
The incomparable Rupert Graves, whose portrayal of Freddie in A Room With a View I shall never forget, makes an appearance as Alec Pickman, a hopeless alcoholic, former lothario, and one of the men who shared the house with Laura and her friends.
In this plot we learn more about Laura’s past as Hathaway and Lewis work furiously to solve the murders and clear her name. On a personal level, season III ended strongly with this episode, for Lewis and Laura have developed their relationship to the point where they can hold hands in public, but I did not feel that all the ends had been neatly tied and addressed, such as the reason Rowena was murdered. Neglecting such a detial is bad murder mystery form.
I will miss Lewis and Hathaway and the setting of Oxford tremendously, but with Wallander slated to air next week, I will be amply compensated for their absence.
Watch Falling Darkness online at this link for two weeks starting Monday, September 28th, through October 26th, 2010.