Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Foiling" Terrorism

Foyle's War is a British series airing on American TV and available on DVD that follows the exploits of the soft-spoken yet dogged police detective Christopher Foyle who investigates crimes on the homefront during World War II.

According to the Wikipedia summary...
The programme is set during the Second World War in Hastings, England, where Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) attempts to catch criminals who are taking advantage of the confusion the war has created...Foyle, a widower, is quiet, methodical, and very observant and is frequently underestimated by his foes. Many of his cases concern profiteering, the black market, and murder. Foyle often comes up against high-ranking officials in the British military or intelligence services who would prefer that he mind his own business, but he is tenacious in seeking justice….The series is notable for its attention to historical detail and the drama is frequently moved along by historical events of WWII.
In addition to the historical backdrop, strong acting and set design are hallmarks of the series. Typical of British mysteries, the storylines unfold at a leisurely pace--which is not everyone's cup of tea, shall we way.

We've also noticed a jarring and inappropriate modern political correctness grafted onto some of the stories.

But an exchange at the end of a season three episode called They Fought in the Fields seemingly takes a different approach.

The naive (and perhaps well meaning) commander of a POW camp, Major Cornwall, who had been undermining an investigation by Foyle, feels the best way to get information out of captured soldiers is to be a nice guy, to adopt a friendly approach, which he says has yielded results. He tells Foyle that he tries to see the best in people, and that he spent a year in Heidelberg before the war during which he found the Germans to be civilized and gracious. An apologetic Cornwall admits all this at the end of this particular episode, after it is too late to "foil" the treachery of one of the POWs, a Luftwaffe lieutenant.

Foyle asks the major if he ever played football (i.e., soccer) against them. Cornwall says cricket is his game, but there is a dearth of cricket pitches in Heidelberg. Foyle responds that he played on a police soccer team in that played in Germany in 1936. The German team that met them--and wined and dined them--was very smart, hospitable, gracious, and civilized, Foyle says. The two groups partied all night long. When the British team got to the field the next morning, severely hung over, the found that the opposing team "that ran out to play us were 11 totally different men who'd be in bed before 10, [and] not touched a drop." The British team lost badly, a "complete stuffing" as Foyle puts it.

Foyle concludes: "They use different rules. But if we don't want to lose this war, I think first of all we've got to be sure about what game they're playing. And you're right - it's not cricket."

Good advice for the war on terror and protecting our national security?