“Foyle’s War” (British detective series, available on PBS) is much more than a number of detective stories about the prowess and talent of an honest man and a good crime investigator – Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen). It is a film about idolatry of “our country” (Britain) during pre-war, war and post-war times, when hate towards the enemies serves as a justification for immoral behavior in some our own soldiers, officers and high-ranking officials. The film concentrate on the following types of crimes, misdemeanors and immoral behavior (political and privately motivated murders, profiteering, impulsive acts as a result of emotionally “exaggerated” hate for the enemies, careerism when human actions become overzealous and ineffective and laws are disregarded, violation of military rules and codes in order to advance “our“ causes). Inspector Foyle is modest, a quick thinking man with natural humility. He never disregards codes of decency as of secondary importance.

Among people investigated by Foyle some of them are on secret governmental assignments. That is why the film is called Foyle’s war, meaning not only war against an external enemy, but against those who serve “our side” and violate the laws and behavioral codes in the process. Foyle rejects the idea that it is possible to help our country through illegal behavior because then it would stop to be a democracy and become like our enemies. And this, for him, is the essence of what it means to try to destroy “our country”. Those on “our side” who fail to follow the principles of decency, nobility and legality are in reality working against their country whatever their conscious intentions happened to be.

For many of those whom war transformed into hot heads Foyle can be dismissed as an idealist without real war experience, but the film again and again proves to the viewers that he is not an idealist – he is just human being who lives for truth, not for success. We see (in the film) many high-ranking British officials who use war and even the existence of the enemies for their private gains, to promote themselves and who like to shine in the midst of blood and filth of war. Even when their actions are not formally illegal and they won’t be officially charged the film provides us with the satisfaction by watching Foyle’s confrontations with such people. Some of them are doing morally ambiguous things which can seem to be immediately effective but can endanger our country on the long range. Their tactically precocious and vigilante actions create unintended consequences which damages good cause of defending democracy. The film builds its conceptuality and action around WWII, when Britain was under the menace and attacked by Nazi Germany, and during the arm race between West and Soviet Union).

We see dozens of human destinies, when lives of Brits, Americans, Germans, Russians and Jews intersect in one giant cauldron of modern history. Men and women, militaries and civilians, public and private lives, city and country people pass in front of our eyes, as if they live with us, the viewers in the same common world we share. Actors play their characters in the tradition of British realistic acting, genuinely, elaborately, emotionally stimulating and without exaggeration.