Lewis came to a gently poignant end this week after seven series, with a good two-part episode called Intelligent Design. The episode title had a suitable double meaning, since it seems to me that Lewis certainly has been a cleverly designed series. I admit I wasn't attracted to the premise initially. Much as I'd enjoyed Inspector Morse, I didn't think a series of sequels featuring his sidekick would work. But I was wrong.
There was a combination of reasons why they became a success. Kevin Whately is a reliable actor, and what Lewis lacks in flair he makes up for in humanity. His slow-burning relationship with Hobson the pathologist played very well, partly because Claire Holman's portrayal of Hobson was so reserved yet appealing The scripts were generally good, and of course the setting is superb,and the photography made the most of it.
But what I liked about the series above all was a character Colin Dexter didn't create, the new sidekick, Hathaway, played by Laurence Fox. The dynamic between Hathaway and Lewis was, in its way, as engaging as that between Morse and Lewis. And a word, too, for Rebecca Front as Chief Superintendent Innocent. She too was very likeable, and made the most of a fairly limited role.
Intelligent Design was a typically convoluted story, about a professor whose release from prison sparks a disastrous chain of events. There was a cameo performance from another Fox, Edward, and though I didn't believe in the scam at the heart of the story for a minute, that didn't really matter. It was good watching, and overall I'd rate Lewis as one of the very best traditional detective series of the last ten years. I'll miss it. But wait - we're promised Endeavour next. The Dexter franchise keeps on running!