Friday, June 13, 2008

Foyle's War: The German Woman

Yes, it's foreign, but it's English language and so doesn't need subtitles.

Our exploration today of Dads in Media, a blogathon hosted by Strange Culture, took the form of wondering about those Mystery! detectives' families. Not many of them seem to be fathers, do they? Sherlock Holmes as a dad? I don't think so. Poirot? Inspector Morse? All of these seem more suited to the child-free bachelor life. Brother Cadfael is a brother but not a father. (No spoilers here.) Miss Marple? Well, never mind that one. A couple of them may have families in the wings to serve as useful subplots. For example, Rumpole shares his life with She Who Must Be Obeyed and has a son who lives in America, but Rumpole's function as a dad is minor.

Foyle is the only one I can think of in which the main character is a dad and where that is integral to the story. The German Woman is the first episode in the series. It introduces us to Foyle as he tries his best to get a transfer from the police services to more active war-related work and as he discovers his son has been called up for active duty. The interactions of father and son are priceless. Foyle is reticent and neither is demonstrative or overtly emotional, but their love for each other and Foyle's concern for his son shine clearly. More is said through their facial expressions and their body language than is often expressed by more talkative but less emotionally honest folk. With these 2 men it's as if each knows how the other feels and so not as much needs to be spoken aloud. Perhaps part of the reason for this closeness and how well they read each other is that Foyle is a long-time widow, so the pair have spent much time alone together, and yet I can picture the family together with Foyle smiling as he watches his wife put their young son to bed or sitting with his head bent close to his son's while working on some project.

Their relationship is touching -an obvious yet unspoken devotion. Sometimes actions do speak louder than words.

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