Youthful professor Adam Capstone, being all perky first thing in the a.m., glances out his office window to see a young woman cast a dubious look in his direction. Paying her little mind, he goes to his desk and opens an innocuous-looking package that came in the morning mail. Only, that package isn’t innocuous at all. It contains an explosive device that…
We have our first corpse in “What Lies Tangled,” the this-time-we-mean-it final episode of Inspector Lewis.
Everything here is tangled up in knots, mathematical knots that are the basis for a field of study known as knot theory. It’s a complicated, mind-bending thing that even smarty pants DI Hathaway (Laurence Fox) can’t explain easily.
The central question, which we do understand, is this: Who would want to murder a 34-year-old professor of geometric topology?
The list is surprisingly long. Adam Capstone might have been a prodigy, but he was no prince. An arrogant philanderer, possibly even a rapist, Adam had lots of enemies.
David Capstone (Oliver Lansley), Adam’s brother and fellow genius, suggests disgruntled former student Kate McMurdoch (Emerald O’Hanrahan), who claims the brothers stole her research and put it forth as their own.
Then, there’s Adam’s wife, Elizabeth (Zoë Tapper). She’s not the least bit distraught over his death. Does that make her a suspect?
Or, perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Guitteau, the grieving parents who blame Adam for their daughter’s suicide. They had a motive and they might have had means.
Let’s not forget the shifty grad student from New York (Tosin Cole), the chemist with a gambling problem (Peter de Jersey), the caregiver (Mali Harries) tending to Elizabeth’s ailing father (David Warner), and even David Capstone himself. Lots of people might have found the world to be a better place without Adam Capstone in it.
Inspector Lewis (Kevin Whately), Inspector Hathaway, and DS Lizzie Maddox (Angela Griffin) will pick them off one by one until they find the culprit. But, not before more murders are committed, and not without threat of grievous bodily harm to themselves.
Lewis recognizes that he’s too old for this stuff—especially when things start blowing up around him. Nevertheless, he’s more frightened by the prospect of leaving it all behind. He’s even thinking about opting out of a “trip of a lifetime” to New Zealand with Dr. Laura Hobson (Clare Holman), just so he can stick around and stay useful. Laura’s determined to drag Lewis out of his comfort zone. He’s worried he’ll return to find his services are no longer required and his contract won’t be renewed. He’d rather work until they carry him out in a box, he tells her. “Like Morse,” Hobson observes. (And weren’t we thinking just that?)
So, what is the proper way to bid farewell to Robbie Lewis, the reliable, dogged detective we’ve known for nearly 30 years? Does he go out in a blaze of glory? A poignant ride into the sunset? A romantic happily-ever-after? This episode—written by Nick Hicks-Beach, a longtime EastEnders writer who’s also written for Law & Order: UK and DCI Banks—chooses none of the above.
We end as we began in the Inspector Lewis pilot, with Hathaway as the airport driver holding a sign for “Lewis” and Lewis wearing the same tropical print shirt he wore when he arrived in England from his sabbatical in the British Virgin Islands, way back in 2006. (You knew it looked familiar, right?)
It’s a sweet, if somewhat lackluster, conclusion with a hint of promise. The door has been left open for Lewis to return to Oxford again and for Hathaway and Maddox to continue as the next generation under the Morse-Lewis-Endeavour banner. I hope they accept the invitation.
Leslie Gilbert Elman is the author of Weird But True: 200 Astounding, Outrageous, and Totally Off the Wall Facts. Follow her on Twitter @leslieelman.
Read all of Leslie Gilbert Elman’s posts for Criminal Element.