The basic set up of Grantchester, a cop and a vicar working together, is increasingly implausible – so the first episode of the new season wisely chooses to ignore it.
Rather than contriving an elaborate reason for Sidney’s involvement, there’s just a phone call from Geordie telling him there’s been a murder and that’s it, we’re off!
Actually, on a professional level, neither cop nor vicar is firing on all cylinders. Not for the first time, Sidney is conflicted over Amanda, who since giving birth at Christmas has moved into a house just down the road from him. We join them on a night out dancing, and although the evening stops at a passionate kiss on the doorstep that’s probably still more than propriety would expect of a married woman and a vicar.
As for Geordie, being a copper of the 1950s he’s not got access to DNA swabs or a nationwide database, but even so, when confronted with a column of numbers we might expect him to eliminate the obvious options (dates or phone numbers) before confessing himself beaten and passing it over to Margaret from the typing pool.
That’s unfair, perhaps. If the saintly Sidney is conflicted because of the girl down the road, the married Geordie is conflicted because of… well, because of Margaret from the typing pool. (I say ‘conflicted’ – that probably isn’t quite the word, given that they are very soon sharing a passionate encounter up against his office door.)
Then there’s Leonard, not normally one to have women troubles. There’s a new Archdeacon in town, all smiles and compliments and cups of tea, but with an edge to his comments. He tells Sidney he has great faith in him setting a good example (translation: leave the married woman alone); and he tells Leonard that the church has great hopes for his future, in charge of a parish of his own, and married…
Leonard later strikes up a friendship with the niece of the murder victim, all of which hints at a conflict to come as he struggles between his beliefs (and, given that this is the 1950s, the law) on the one side, and his orientation on the other.
But never mind all this simmering sexual tension (or something). We know Grantchester dearly loves its themes and this episode is all about fathers and daughters. The killer wants to avenge his daughter’s death; Geordie’s daughter is unhappy because her Mum and Dad are always arguing (and Sidney’s reassurance that her Dad “would move heaven and Earth to make it better” is surely setting up a choice for Geordie, between the wife and the typing pool); and although everybody, even Mrs Maguire, enjoys having Amanda’s little girl about the place, ultimately she’s not Sidney’s daughter.
She’s Guy’s. “I’ve made such a terrible mess of things” he sobs as he finally gets to hold her. Where that leaves his daughter, his wife and her vicar, only time will tell.
Here endeth the first lesson.
Aired at 9pm on Sunday 23 April 2017 on ITV.
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