Foyle’s War is a British detective drama television series set during (and shortly after) the Second World War, created by Midsomer Murders screenwriter and author Anthony Horowitz and commissioned by ITV after the long-running series Inspector Morse ended in 2000.
It began broadcasting on ITV in October 2002. ITV director of programmes Simon Shaps cancelled Foyle’s War in 2007, but complaints and public demand prompted Peter Fincham (Shaps’ replacement) to revive the programme after good ratings for 2008’s fifth series. The final episode was broadcast on 18 January 2015, after eight series.
Foyle examines Pierce’s top-secret role during the war within the SOE after she is shot outside MI5 by a man saying “For Elise”. Pierce survives and is visited by an ex-SOE colleague, Sir Ian Woodhead (the current director of MI6). Foyle discovers that “Elise” was the codename of Sophie Corrigan who was a SOE agent during the war. And that it was her brother Miles who shot Pierce, blaming her and others for his sisters death behind enemy lines in France, during May 1944. Foyle suspects the shooting may be connected to the hunt for a traitor within SOE, code-named Plato, who may also have been behind the deaths of eight other British SOE agents in France. He is aided by MI5 agent Elizabeth Addis, who investigated and made a list of those suspected of being Plato. Foyle manages to track down both the top three suspects on Addis’ list and Miles Corrigan. Due to Foyle’s findings, Pierce realises it was Woodhead who is to blame for Sophie Corrigan’s death and the eight other British SOE agents. After confronting him about the deaths of Corrigan and the other agents, she murder-suicides in his office, using a hand-grenade.
- The first two episodes were broadcast at 8:00 pm on ITV, the final one was transmitted at 9:00 pm.
- “Elise” was broadcast in the United States as Foyle’s War VIII, on PBS’ Masterpiece and on Acorn TV.
- Set: January 1947.
- Guests: Katherine Press, Emma Fielding, Tony Clay, Leo Gregory, Daniel Peacock, and Conleth Hill.
- A major subplot in the show is that of racketeer Damian White, a man who has become wealthy from illegal clubs, bars, dealing in black market goods, and more recently, the sale of state secrets to Russia. Sam Wainwright is faced with a dilemma when her husband Adam is persuaded to crack down on the black market, but is arrested when contraband cigarettes are planted in their home. Defending his innocence, she discovers the collusion of police Chief Superintendent Usborne of East Peckham with White. At great risk, she convinces Harris, her husband’s secretary, to accompanying her when she follows Usborne, to get evidence of his collusion. Photographing them together, she gets them both convicted – White for treason; Usborne for receiving stolen goods – through providing the photos to Foyle, and her husband is cleared. The series ends with Sam finally telling Foyle she is pregnant – technically PWP (pregnant without permission) as they subtlety joke, flagging the gender discrimination at the time – and her touchingly asking him to be the baby’s godfather.
- According to letters found in Pierce’s apartment, the story takes place a few days after 03 January 1947. Real events which influenced this episode include Operation NordPol, a successful German intelligence operation in Holland in 1942 and 1943. Other ongoing themes include the post-war black-marketing of food and other goods, meat substitutions, as well as building material shortages. One scene refers to entertainment at the time, showing a Happy and Glorious film poster, starring pre- and post-war, stage, screen and radio comedian Tommy Trinder.
Foyle’s War Series
You can find a full index and overview of Foyle’s War here.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 18 January 2015.
- Running time: 89 minutes.
- Rating: 15.
- Country: UK.
- Language: English.