Dark Matter, the third installment of season three of Inspector Lewis, is available online from September 13 through October 12.
In this episode, Professor Andrew Crompton, an amateur astronomer and the Master of Gresham College, is found dead at the foot of the University Observatory stairs. Lewis and Hathaway investigate the dark goings on among family, friends, colleagues, and staff. Two murders, one in broad daylight, baffle them until a crucial piece of evidence is revealed. The initial murder is set against the backdrop of Gustav Holst’s The Planet Suite, Mars: The Bringer of War.
In fact, Holst’s fabulous music and the city of Oxford take a front seat as the murderer goes about doing dastardly deeds and Hathaway and Lewis canvas the streets and university looking for clues and talking to suspects.
We also learn more personal details about Dr. Laura Hobson, who plays 3rd clarinet at the gala memorial concert, which our detectives have paid to see but must leave as they pursuit the murderer. Before this happens, Lewis enlists Hobson to spy on her fellow orchestra members, notably Gwen Raeburn, also an astronomy lecturer; her husband, Sir Arnold; and the guest conductor Malcolm Finniston.
As I watched this particular episode I realized why I generally prefer shows produced for British television – middle aged people, indeed those who would be considered elderly, are allowed to find love and romance and are not relegated to stereotypical Golden Girl or old codger roles. The BBC employs skilled and seasoned actors to portray the characters, not some flavor of the month or pretty boy pinup.
Actors like Robert Hardy (Sir Arnold Raeburn), Warren Clarke (Roger Temple), Sophie Ward (the grieving widow, Isobel),
Diana Quick (Gwen Raeburn), and Annabelle Apsion (Babs Temple) are at the top of their game.
It is simply a pleasure to watch them create a world in which I can immerse myself for an hour and a half.
Even the young actors, like Ruby Thomas, aren’t just cookie cutter pretty. They can hold their own against their more seasoned counterparts.
I solved the murder mystery fairly quickly, but I didn’t care. Its the relationship between Inspector Lewis and Hathaway that keeps me in thrall and tuning in to PBS Masterpiece Mystery every Sunday night. In fact, these episodes give me an excess of joy.
- Dark Matter, PBS Masterpiece Mystery
- Listen to Gustaf Holst’s Mars: The Bringer of War
- Listen to a fragment of Holst’s The Planets: Jupiter conducted by Alasdair Neale
- Find the recording of the music in this episode at this link. LMO record the penultimate film for Lewis series 4 with Barrington Pheloung.