‘Foyle’s War: Seasons 8 and 9’ on Netflix

Honeysuckle Weeks and Michael Kitchen in 'Foyle's War.'

Foyle’s War: Seasons 8 and 9 continues and, ultimately, concludes the acclaimed and beloved historical mystery series from Britain in the years after the end of World War II.

Returning from a trip to the United States, the retired Inspector Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) is recruited by British Intelligence for the new challenge: fighting the Cold War in the malaise of post-war Britain, where conditions have yet to improve. In fact, he’s recruited merely as a matter of convenience in the first mystery, “The Eternity Ring,” which revolves around a conspiracy of double agents in Britain smuggling atomic secrets to the Soviets, but Foyle cuts through the level of intrigue and impresses the intelligence officers enough to remain on. Foyle’s war is now the Cold War and his talents (and his uncanny ability to cut through hypocrisy and political compromise) are just what they need, though they don’t always appreciate his practical approach to political problems.

He also recruits Sam (Honeysuckle Weeks), who is now married to a war vet who decides to run for office on the Liberal ticket (Sam is decidedly conservative), as his secretary, driver, junior assistant, and all around sidekick. (Movie buff trivia: her married name is Sam Wainwright – hee haw!) Together they investigate the deaths of recent Russian defectors in “The Cage” and threats against a former Nazi officer feeding intelligence to the British in “Sunflower.” Foyle’s moral compass points in a different direction than the political interests of his superior officers.

The ninth season is also the final season for Foyle, and while he cuts through the tangled politics of crimes that reach beyond the borders of Britain, Sam and her husband Adam (Daniel Weyman), an idealistic Member of Parliament, take us through the social and political realities of post-war life for ordinary citizens. In “High Castle,” the murder of a translator at the Nuremberg war crimes trials leads back to an act of treason in the war. “Trespass” deals with the conflicts over the emigration of Jews to Palestine and the rise of a Fascist party stoking anti-immigrant anger in Britain. “Elise,” the final episode of the show, weaves the story of a conspiracy within the intelligence service reaching back to the war with black market activities in the present, and it ends the show in a way that leaves the door open for yet another revival.

Series creator Anthony Horowitz scripts five of the six feature-length mysteries himself, including all three shows of the final season, and he takes the opportunity to explore Foyle’s superiors at MI-5 (Ellie Haddington and Rupert Vansittart), who slowly put their trust in his intelligence and sense of justice in a culture of compromise and secrecy.

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Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.