“Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”
The quote today is a bit of a cheat, since the title of the Lewis episode in question is Whom the Gods Would Destroy. It transpires that it is the first episode ever, which is mildly interesting since…well, it’s always nice to see where something begins, don’t you think?
Anyway. Lewis is a spin-off from the Inspector Morse detective series, which I haven’t actually seen. But since Morse does not in fact feature in this series, it doesn’t really matter. Lewis also happens to be one of my favourite detective series, mainly because it is set in the beautiful city of Oxford. Also slightly because of Laurence Fox, who plays Hathaway, Lewis’ sidekick. Hathaway is an intelligent detective. He knows things about ancient Greek and Euripides and things. Which allows the whole series to take on a slightly more intelligent feel, because you can have riddles and all sorts of other puzzles to think about. About which to think. (Sorry, pedants.)
So this episode, as the title suggests, had a slightly ancient Greek theme to it. There are references to Furies and Greek gods and Sophocles. One of the characters wears a Dionysus ring. “I’ve seen that before,” says resident genius Hathaway. So they go off to a museum to look at a similar one.
As you do.
Why take all the trouble to drive to a museum, pay the entrance fee or at least flash your police badge at the receptionist, find the right gallery and find the right exhibit when you could look it up on the internet, or, God forbid, a book? They seem to spend all their time in libraries anyway.
There are some unexpected twists and turns, but, via several grisly deaths of the kind you only see in murder mysteries, an angry wheelchair-bound drunk and a chamber music concert, eventually, of course, the mystery is solved and everyone goes home.
So. Lewis. The thinking person’s Midsomer Murders.
At least all those murders are more plausible in a university city than in a small Somerset village.