The Third Series of Pie in the Sky sees Richard Griffin return as Chief Inspector/Restaurant Chef Henry Crabbe. Unlike the first two ten-episode series, this series and the next only featured six episodes.
I’d describe this particular series as mellow compared to the two that came before. From its gentle theme song to its stories which leave plenty of room for character development and light human drama to its lovely small town setting, the show was a series that’s unafraid to walk on the mild side. Only one homicide occurs in the six episodes.
The series kicks off with a shake-up in the first episode as the criminal who has been key to Crabbe being blackmailed by his superior Assistant Chief Chief Constable Freddy Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair). This had been the only reason Crabbe remained on the force while also working at the restaurant. However, a new complication is added in that policies have changed and he can’t take early full retirement and has to wait three more years to do so. This is not nearly as interesting of a hook and the thing I least liked.
Overall, even though the mysteries were not homicide, they were generally interesting and well-written. My favorite mystery was in the episode, “The Other Eden” where Crabbe was tasked with solving the mystery of several stolen gardens and had to deal with a national department that was trying to claim jurisdiction.
Beyond that, the character work in the series was pretty good. Crabbe and his wife Margaret (Maggie Steed) do have some clashes. She technically owns the restaurant (due to regulations that forbid him from owning it as long as he’s still a policeman) and they have a bit of a battle of wills over her desire to save money by cutting corners on the ingredients. They also have to deal with a super strict health inspector threatening to close down their restaurant and a bank manager who’s not too certain about giving them another extension of credit. It makes for interesting viewing since we’re invested in the characters and we get to see the way that Margaret and Crabbe approach problems differently.
The second episode, “Game Pie” sees some nice character moments for Fisher. Through the first two series, Fisher had been portrayed as the ambitious police officer who was more concerned about his career and looking good with his superiors than with doing the right thing. However, when he’s implicated in an apparent accidental death, many of his fellow senior officers take steps to protect the department and put him at a distance, this brings out a different aspect to him.
There were some changes as well in the kitchen staff with Nicholas Lamont joining the cast as the new assistant chef and ex-con Gary Palmer who replaced the old chef Steve Turner. Other than having a bit of a chip on his shoulder, I didn’t get much of a feel for Gary as a character. Though, it should be noted the kitchen staff characters, while having some distinct characteristics, were much more functional than anything else.
Overall, this series is a likable bit of television with solid acting, particularly with the leads, good stories, and makes for easy viewing.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5
This post contains affiliate links, which means that items purchased from these links may result in a commission being paid to the author of this post at no extra cost to the purchaser.