Category Archives: Television

Lewis 9.31

Lewis Series 9
31 “One for Sorrow”

(Originally Aired in UK 6 October 2015)

A new boss arrives at Oxfordshire Police, and he begins to question Lewis’ role as a consultant. After an exhibition of anthropomorphic taxidermy, the body of a young avant-garde artist is found. Lewis, Hathaway and Maddox must delve into the worlds of social media, drugs, taxidermy, alternative art and the homeless East European community. Meanwhile, Hathaway confronts his father and sister, with whom he does not have a good relationship.

Again, a plot that changes and shifts, never leaving clues as to the actual murderer. Is it about drugs, taxidermy ?

Turns out it was all about the Stanford prison experiment. Who saw that coming ? Only the writers.

And Then There Were None


And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by English writer Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to write. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939, as Ten Little Niggers, after the British blackface song, which serves as a major plot point. The US edition was not released until December 1939; its American reprints and adaptations were all re-titled And Then There Were None, the last five words in the original American version of the nursery rhyme (“Ten Little Indians”).

The book was adapted in 2015 to a television serial that was first broadcast on BBC One from 26 to 28 December 2015. It was adapted by Sarah Phelps and directed by Craig Viveiros.


  • Douglas Booth as Anthony Marston: Accused of killing two children, John and Lucy Coombes, by reckless driving, which he acknowledges.
  • Charles Dance as Justice Lawrence Wargrave: Accused of murdering an innocent man by sentencing him to hang.
  • Maeve Dermody as Vera Claythorne: Accused of murdering Cyril Hamilton, a boy in her care, having encouraged the child to swim out further in the hope that he would drown so her lover, the boy’s uncle, would become heir to the family estate.
  • Burn Gorman as Detective Sergeant William Blore: Accused of murdering a homosexual in a police cell. The actor was also in the Dr Who Torchwood Series.
  • Noah Taylor and Anna Maxwell Martin as Thomas and Ethel Rogers: Accused of murdering a previous employer.
  • Sam Neill as General John MacArthur: Accused of murdering a fellow officer having an affair with his wife.
  • Miranda Richardson as Emily Brent: Accused of being responsible for the suicide of her maid by abandoning her when she became pregnant.
  • Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard: Accused for killing 21 men in Eastern Africa for diamonds.
  • Toby Stephens as Doctor Edward Armstrong: Accused of killing a patient during surgery while drunk.

This starts very slowly, intense shots of scenery and faces, every word seeming to have meaning. Then the killing starts, and the viewer it invited to work out who did it. It’s not until part two that the intensity increases and the body count mounts. A lot of the story is told in flashback, sometimes unnecessarily repeating. Then, at the end just when we think it’s all worked out and we know who did it – a final twist of the knife before all is revealed. Then it becomes apparent why this is considered Agatha’s best story.

Lewis 8.30

Lewis Series 8
30 “Beyond Good and Evil”

(Originally Aired in UK 7 November 2014)

Thirteen years ago, Lewis successfully apprehended hammer killer Graham Lawrie. Now Lawrie is on the verge of freedom thanks to new evidence. Lewis fears the worst, but nothing can prepare him for a string of murders resembling the original case. With his mentor’s reputation in jeopardy, Hathaway races to catch the killer.


The last of the season and best of the season. This is due to the simplicity of the story. It’s a basic did-he-do-it plot. Was Lewis wrong in his original arrest of Lawrie. Is there someone else and who will die.

Alec Newman plays Graham Lawrie and gives a great portrayal of a psychopathic killer.  Hathaway finally gets to show some leadership as Lewis is fading into retirement.



Lewis 8.29

Lewis Series 8
29 “The Lions of Nemea”

(Originally Aired in UK 24 October 2014)

Lewis, Hathaway and Maddox’s abilities as a team are severely tested when they investigate the brutal stabbing of an American classics scholar. The bizarre case that follows takes in the cocaine trade, astrophysics and ancient drama, but the truth is hidden in plain sight: a heartbreaking tragedy made possible by the most ordinary of secrets.

The body count mounts in this twisting tale. Trouble is, it involves so many people things get confusing near the end. I did guess that the lost play was a fake. Unfortunately there are no clues early on to point you the real killer. It’s all up to the Police to lead us along as numerous co-incidences lead them to an inevitable arrest.

Lewis 8.28

Lewis Series 8
28 “Entry Wounds”
(Originally Aired in UK 10 October 2014)

Hathaway starts work on his first murder case as an inspector with the help of a new partner, DS Lizzie Maddox. But as the pair delve into the worlds of neurosurgery, blood sports and animal rights, Hathaway’s theories are challenged by alarming new developments. He realizes he needs the insight of the retired Lewis to close the case.

Another good crime story from the BBC. The story successfully navigates between multiple suspects until a final revelation that catches the killer. As usual there is little violence (apart from the murders) and everything is would up in a very British way. Interesting use of Indian actors, who I suspected were never the killers and got what was probably their best acting parts in years.


Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy (1875)

The novel was published in serial installments from 1875 to 1877 in the periodical ‘The Russian Messenger’. Tolstoy clashed with editor Mikhail Katkov over political issues that arose in the final installment therefore, the novel’s first complete appearance was in book form in 1878. Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Anna Karenina recounts St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina’s life story at the backdrop of the late-19th-century feudal Russian society. Having considered War and Peace not a novel, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel. Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared it “flawless as a work of art.” His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired “the flawless magic of Tolstoy’s style,” and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as “the best ever written.” The novel remains popular, as demonstrated by a 2007 poll of 125 contemporary authors in Time, which declared that Anna Karenina is the “greatest book ever written.”

After reading ‘War and Peace’ on a Palm Pilot over the 2008 winter, I had anticipated also reading this novel. However the public broadcast of the 2012 film by Joe Wright was an alternative and shorter means of absorbing the story.

A lot of the story takes place on in a theatre, with actors changing the scenery between each scene. It’s a device not seen before and at first is a novelty but soon becomes distracting.

The best part of the film is the production design, costumes and score. The music really takes over at times, making the film a visual and audio feast for the senses. However the main problem is the story. This is surprising given the screenplay by Tom Stoppard. There is never a sense of involvement with characters. Their backgrounds and motivations are not clear and the result is that the story comes across as a cheap melodrama.

Having red War and Peace, I know that Tolstoy put more into his books than this. Maybe the story would be better told as a miniseries. There have already been seven TV adaptions, so maybe one of these is better than the film.

In the end this film it was a case of style over substance and after an hour it became boring and I gave up.

Recommendation: Read ‘War and Peace’

24 Day 2

The second season of the American drama television series 24, also known as Day 2, was first broadcast from October 29, 2002, to May 20, 2003 on Fox. The season begins and ends at 8:00 a.m.

This season can essentially be broken into two acts:

The first act involves CTU attempting to stop a Middle Eastern terrorist cell from detonating a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles.
In the second act, Jack and the CTU try to prevent a misdirected retaliatory strike from the U.S. by investigating a possibly forged piece of evidence, as the strikes might touch off a world war if successful.

This season pushed the melodrama up another notch. Lots of close shots of people whispering and conspiring. Jack surviving torture then a few hours later taking on a crack team of assassins. The absurb-o-meter really gets cranked up to nuclear proportions in this season.

24(1) 2:00PM – 12:00AM


Yet more absurd twists and turns. Agents do stupid things, leaving doors open, not looking behind them. But most annoying being a sniper played by an actor who had obviously never held a rifle before. It ends, then end and ends. The plot has more endings that ‘Return of the King’.

Palmer looks more like a goody two-shoes one dimensional character that just becomes more annoying. His wife is the better character, actress Penny Johnson Jerald played Kasidy Yates in Star Trek DS9.
She is great as the Machiavellian wife that pushes her husband. The Palmer couple could have been based on the Bill & Hillary Clinton, but even more accurately Frank and Claire Underwood from ‘House of Cards’.

Despite the plot holes and absurdities of the plot, it’s still a good and tense ride for the 24 hours.


24(1): 3:00AM – 2:00PM



Jack follows a lead from Walsh’s card. At CTU, Nina Myers and Jamey Farrell (Karina Arroyave) decide to go against George Mason’s (Xander Berkeley) orders and help Jack. Kim is handed off to Gaines’ men while Janet is taken to the hospital.

Palmer meets with reporter Maureen Kingsley (Devika Parikh), who explains that she has two separate sources accusing his son Keith Palmer (Vicellous Reon Shannon) of murdering his sister Nicole’s (Megalyn Echikunwoke) rapist. Kim and Rick (Daniel Bess) are taken to Ira Gaines’ compound on the outskirts of the city. Jack finds an unidentified body connected to Gaines in the trunk of a car. Alan and Teri wait in the hospital as Janet undergoes surgery.

Jack and Teri are briefly reunited at the hospital, where Jack warns the doctors not to let anyone near Janet. Gaines contacts Jack and tells him that he has kidnapped Kim. Jack must follow Gaines’ orders if he wants to ever see his daughter again. Teri leaves the hospital with Alan to continue searching for Kim. Palmer discovers that his entire family has been keeping secrets from him, but he needs them if he is to come clean before Kingsley breaks the story herself. After Jamey helps identify the body from the car, Nina calls Teri to tell her that the cadaver is the real Alan York.

Acting on Gaines’ orders, Jack returns to CTU to interfere with the decryption of the key card. He is then ordered to shoot Nina, but manages to do so without actually harming her. Teri escapes from Alan’s impostor, but is captured by more of Gaines’ men.

Nina Myers and Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) realize that Jamey is the mole inside CTU and is communicating with Gaines. Using instructions and equipment from Gaines, Jack gets in to see Palmer’s appearance at the San Clarita power plant. Jack soon realizes that the terrorists plan to frame him for the assassination.

Sherry Palmer (Penny Johnson Jerald) tries to convince Maureen Kingsley not to run her story. Jack is taken into custody while Kim and Teri encounter more problems at Gaines’ compound. Nina and Tony pressure Jamey for information about the assassination plot. After leaving and returning to the room where Jamey is held they find Jamey with her wrist slashed in an apparent suicide attempt.

Teri acquires a cell phone and calls Jack, giving him clues to her whereabouts. An Acting Director, Alberta Green (Tamara Tunie), arrives at CTU and declares Jack a fugitive. Jack follows a lead from Jamey’s computer to a Los Angeles businessman named Ted Cofell (Currie Graham).

Jack poses as the driver of Cofell’s limo and soon interrogates the businessman on his family’s whereabouts. Initially Jack has no success but after Jack breaks Cofell’s wrist, Cofell curses him in Serbian, which Jack recognizes as a link to the day’s events. Cofell suffers a heart attack and dies. Jack then runs into Cofell’s contact, Kevin Carroll – the man he knew at the hospital as Alan York – and interrogates him. Carroll agrees to take Jack to where Teri and Kim are held in exchange for his life. Nina and Tony grow more concerned about the possibility of another mole inside CTU. Andre Drazen (Zeljko Ivanek), Gaines’ superior, orders the deaths of Kim and Teri.

Jack makes it into Gaines’ camp and enlists Rick’s help to secure for a vehicle in which to escape. Gaines quickly finds out when Carroll is found unconscious and chaos ensues. Jack manages to escape the compound with his family and Rick until the tire of their van is shot out. Continuing their escape on foot, Teri and Kim make their way to the rendezvous point while Jack and Rick hold off Gaines and his men. Rick is wounded but manages to escape with Jack. When Palmer tries to talk to Dr. George Ferragamo, his son’s therapist, he soon discovers that there are men inside his own campaign that are willing to commit murder in order to protect him.

Jack has a final confrontation with Gaines who, fearing retribution from the Drazens, chooses death over helping Jack. Jack, Teri and Kim are airlifted back to CTU. Rick manages to escape from the compound, fearing that he would be jailed for his involvement with Gaines if he turned himself in. Palmer plans to talk to the DA about Dr. Ferragamo’s murder, but Carl Webb (Zach Grenier) tries to stop him. At CTU, Nina discovers that a second assassin has arrived in Los Angeles, which means that Palmer’s life is still in danger.

Kevin Carroll, having escaped the compound with a small group is killed by Alexis Drazen (Misha Collins), who is mopping up the remnants of the first team of mercenaries. Jack returns to CTU, but is not authorized to see his family. Tony refuses to tell Alberta Green and Ryan Chappelle (Paul Schulze) what he knows about Jack’s activities. Nina escorts Kim and Teri to a hospital, but comes across evidence that they may still be targets. Palmer discovers a link between himself and Bauer, and decides to take matters into his own hands — demanding to see Jack personally to confront him about the day’s events.

Bauer is great is these episodes, combining the skills of a super-spy and showing some vulnerability when holed up in the construction office. The problem is Palmer, he is becoming less realistic as an ambitious  politician. Now willing to make tough decisions he is overshadowed by his wife ans aides. And finally when the assassin’s boss meets his end… we get a re-start and another threat.

24(1): 12:00AM – 3:00AM


The first season of the American drama television series 24, also known as Day 1, was first broadcast from November 6, 2001, to May 21, 2002 on Fox. The season’s storyline starts and ends at 12:00 a.m. on the day of the California presidential primary.

It’s the eve of the California Presidential Primary. Jack Bauer’s (Kiefer Sutherland) daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), sneaks out of the house to go out with friends. As Bauer’s wife, Teri (Leslie Hope), searches for Kim, Jack is called in for a meeting at CTU Los Angeles in response to a threat on Senator David Palmer’s (Dennis Haysbert) life that is believed to take place within the next 24 hours. Bauer discovers that there may be a mole inside CTU. Senator Palmer gets a disturbing phone call at his downtown Los Angeles hotel.

Jack’s plans to find his daughter are sidetracked when he gets a call from CTU agent Richard Walsh (Michael O’Neill), who is being stalked by assassins connected with the David Palmer hit. Walsh meets another CTU agent, Scott Baylor, who is subsequently killed. Mandy (Mia Kirshner) passes the ID card of a dead (presidential) photographer to Ira Gaines (Michael Massee), the man leading the assassination plot. Kim realizes that she and Janet York (Jacqui Maxwell) may be in danger, while Teri and Alan York (Richard Burgi) search for them. As Jack and Walsh escape from the assassins, Walsh is gunned down, but manages to throw a keycard to Jack, which contains information about a mole within CTU.

The files on Walsh’s key card finger Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) as a dirty agent. Kim and Janet try to escape from their captors while Teri and Alan continue their search.

Wow ! It’s been 15 years since the series was aired. The obvious precognition is the black senator looking to be President. It was in 2008 that this actually happened. The first plot problem I had was that Bauer cut off the finger of a dead assassin so he could get a fingerprint match. This was done to establish his character, despite being a family man, he was tough and brutal when necessary. The problem was that the way to scan the fingerprint was to use a portable scanner. Something he could have done without removing the finger. Next is the obvious ‘damsel in distress’ story-line of his daughter. It may be the 21st century, but this trope just won’t die.

It’s apparent that the use of constant background music is setting the tense tone of the series. It’s unrelenting and sometimes could do with some toning down. Still, a good start to an iconic thriller.