Rich Paxson

I’ve been watching Foyle’s War on Netflix. Although the series is a little over ten years old, I’m viewing it for the first time; and thoroughly enjoying each episode. The last episode I watched was “A War of Nerves,” which reflects several coincident subplots. I’ll write about just one, which resulted not in a “who done it,” but in a “why he done it” revelation.

Asst. Commissioner Rose shows up in Detective Foyle’s office early in the show, ordering Foyle to drop everything to work on a new investigation personally ordered by Rose. Foyle must investigate the activities of Raymond Carter and Lucinda Sheridan, ostensibly because they were publicly avowed Communists in wartime England. It turns out though that Lucinda Sheridan is Rose’s daughter, who had changed her name, and was no longer speaking with her father, presumably for political reasons. Foyle resolves Rose’s indiscretion through sharing the facts of his investigation with Rose, who owns up to his motives and withdraws his illicit orders.

I felt sorry for Rose when his duplicity was uncovered. Rose made a wrong turn at the intersection of personal angst and official duty; and Foyle gave him the opportunity to retrace his steps. As I write this, I recognize similarities between Foyle’s solution, which I think of as ‘pragmatic equity,’ and an earlier one in the show involving another character.

Pragmatic equity was something I tried to keep in mind as a tax auditor. I remember a time when a red-faced, by-the-book reviewer confronted me about my resolution of a particular case. How could you have let this man off like that, he asked. I reflected his energized concerns back to him, and then explained some specifics I had not written in my report; and this time my reviewer relented.

Sometimes pragmatic equity is warranted, but judgement calls like this can be mine fields. They require the sound reasoning and deft handling portrayed so expertly by Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle.

[ I’m no genius at remembering dates and character names, but require the resources of a website like this one: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0582092/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt ]