Inspector Lewis: “Lions of Nemea”

Lewis and Hathaway (Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox), ever the dynamic duo.
It’s all Greek to me, and to you, in this episode as we dust off Sophocles and Euripides for tales of hubris, and vengeance, and murder.

We know virtually nothing about Felix Garwood (John Light), he’s barely said a word (it’s still the opening credits, after all), yet we’re already aware that he’s an embodiment of hubris. He’s talking on his cell while cycling through Oxford, ignoring traffic laws and common courtesy, and generally being a entitled jerk. So, when he’s deliberately sideswiped by a car, it’s easy to figure he’d probably done something to deserve it. Chalk one up for vengeance.

Next stop, murder. But whose?

About ten minutes into the episode, the first victim surfaces. She’s Rose Anderson, a graduate student in Classics, who’d gone out for a run about 6 p.m. one evening and turned up dead the next morning. Dr. Hobson (Clare Holman) and DS Lizzie Maddox (Angela Griffin) are already on the scene when Lewis (Kevin Whately) and Hathaway (Laurence Fox) arrive. Rose was stabbed twice in a methodical way that would indicate whoever did it knew how to do it efficiently.

Now, who might that be?

Time has passed since Lewis and Hathaway resumed their partnership, and Hathaway seems to be feeling more comfortable steering the investigation. Keeping in mind that this is Hathaway, and he’s never truly comfortable in any circumstance. At any rate, he’s chalked up a drug bust in the interim without Lewis’s help. So he seems to be all right in charge.

DS Maddox is settling in, too. At least she’s not threatening to ask for a transfer anymore. Still, it’s strange to hear Lewis and Hathaway calling for “Lizzie”—not to mention hearing Hathaway referring to Lewis as “Robbie.”

Dr. Hobson is slowly accepting that Lewis is back at work and not puttering around the house being “a bad-tempered old grouch who smells of wood glue.”

Hobson’s relationship with Lewis often seems to involve mock strangulation with his tie.

And yet…

For me, this episode didn’t fulfill its promise. Start me off with Euripides in Oxford, throw in some scenes filmed in the stunning Radcliffe Observatory, add a cast that includes Andrea Lowe (taking a break from her role as Annie Cabbot on DCI Banks), and I’m yours. Yet I found the story, based on an idea by Tahsin Guner (co-creator of the Father Brown mystery series), and written by Noel Farragher and Nick Hicks-Beach, just a little too implausible.

Without spoiling it—which you know I don’t do—I’ll just say that Hathaway needed minutes to unravel a hoax that had fooled the great minds of Oxford for years. Why he could discern this particular incongruity and no one else could, when there were red flags waving all over the place, is a mystery to me. And you know I’m forgiving about most things Lewis-related.

Philippa Garwood (Andrea Lowe) is fond of the classics, and possibly of Hathaway.
Nevertheless, there were some interesting wrinkles in the story, I thought I detected genuine chemistry between Hathaway and Philippa (Andrea Lowe), and I loved the fact that Jennie Brightway (Sian Brooke), the optometrist’s wife, is wearing a skirt made from eyeglass-print fabric. Plus, the last scene left a tantalizing element of doubt. “Nothing has more strength than dire necessity,” wrote Euripides. Ah, Hathaway…where are you going?

We have one more episode of Inspector Lewis next week. Perhaps we’ll find out then.

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.


  1. Maggie Boyd

    Loved this episode. So glad to have another season with Hathaway and Lewis.

    • Jan

      So what did Rose know?
      Why was she murdered

  2. Terrie Farley Moran

    Love Annie Lowe and was happy to see her here. Wonder when we are going to see DCI Banks again.

  3. 8James

    I had your same thought on how Hathaway was able to figure out the fraud. But I think he was able to do it because he had Rose’s research in front of him as a reference. He was reading the notes of someone who had figured it out.

  4. ChelseaWoodall

    Can anyone tell me why Paul Brightway killed Rose Anderson? I can understand the other murders, but what was his motive in killing Rose? There’s absolutely no motive.

  5. JANEA

    Did the murder have to do with the drugs? But how did that tie in?

  6. Ellie F

    **SPOILER ALERT** – message for Janea and Chelsea

    Hi Janea and Chelsea,
    I think Paul killed Rose because he felt she was going to kill Felix (she hit him with her car, remember) and with Felix dead there would be no way for the daughter (who needed the steam cell donor) 5to live. I thought the idea that Rose would kill Felix was pretty silly and killing Rose was pretty silly, but I still enjoyed the show.

  7. Chelsea Woodall

    Hi Ellie F – thank you so much for chiming in! Yes, Rose was intent on killing Felix and Felix was the sperm donor for the savior child for Paul & Jennie. I just thought that it was such a stretch for us to believe that Paul murdered Rose so she wouldn’t kill Felix. I love the show so much that I really don’t care what the mystery entails, but if it provides an outlet in which I can discuss it further – I’m all in!

  8. JaneA

    Yes, even with a questionable plot, I love the show. It is a good mix of characters, actors, suspense, and mystery. And I loved all the scenes of Oxford.

  9. harry prins

    Does anyone know which music Simon Flaxmore listens to while he is reading a book in the bay window? Its a boys choir. Afterwards he sits before the bust of Epicurus.

  10. John Autin

    I love the characters, how they’re written and played. The plots aren’t as strong.

    Consider the early hint they gave us that Flaxmore was a fraud: He refers to the author of “Oedipus Rex” as Aristotle. It’s not merely wrong; it’s so wrong that it can hardly be just a slip of the lip or a “senior moment.” Aristotle didn’t write plays, as far as I know, at least not any classics that might cause a classics scholar to confuse him with Sophocles.

    Okay, giving us a hint is good. But this particular hint undermines the credibility of the whole plot: If this “professor” made such blunders, how would he not have been unmasked long ago?

    The device by which the writers have him tripped up — his “ancient” play uses a name that hadn’t been coined yet — is as old as the hills. I remember it from an “Encyclopedia Brown” tale I read 40 years ago. It might have been invented by Euripedes himself.

    But it’s not only hackneyed. It’s also implausible that the quoted passage would not have been questioned by some scholar soon after it was published. Obviously, a lost play by Euripedes would have gotten the fine-toothed-comb treatment. Those scholars would have a good feel for names and phrases. If they read a reference to “the twin lions,” they’d either recognize it from other works, or they’d be all over it — “what is this new astronomical reference???” It simply couldn’t be overlooked.

    I don’t demand 100% plausibility, but this was just too far short of the mark.

    There are other problems with the formula they’ve fallen into. There are always multiple murders, usually two more after the investigation starts. It would be nice to think they could sometimes solve a single murder without additional pointers from subsequent killings.

    And, not to get all polemical, but must all the young actresses be so beautiful? I can take a little more reality with my PBS.

    But I still like it. And it would be nice to see Hathaway have a date with Philippa. 🙂

  11. Sarah B

    Just seen this episode and also was confused as to why Rose was killed. Also this is Oxford and to get there from Cheltenham by train means going via Birmingham and takes over two hours in each direction. There is no direct train. So I’m not sure he could have done it in the time given!

  12. lindsay8883

    Anyone know what artist and/or which song plays at the end of episode when the record is played and they are all in the living room? Have tried searching the lyrics that I could understand between the dialogue, but have had no luck. Thanks!

  13. Theresa

    I ended up at this site for the same reason. I’d like to know the song and artist at the end.

    • Diana

      I have also tried to find out the name and artist of the song for over a year. I hope someone sees this question and responds soon!

  14. David

    Can anyone explain the last conversation in the episode? It comes out of nowhere, seems to have nothing to do with the rest of the story, and the lines seem to bear little relation to one another. I was left completely baffled.

    Lewis: What’s up?

    Hathaway: “Nothing has more strength than dire necessity.”

    Lewis: Don’t tell me – Euripides. (Pause). It doesn’t work like that, man.

    (They toast each others’ wine glasses)

    Hobson (from kitchen): Are you two finished yacking?

    (Apparently meaningful pause)

    Lewis: not for a long time… (leaves living room to go to kitchen. Hathaway stares into the distance).

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