After ten years the ITV murder mystery series Lewis finally came to an end and it has an important lesson to teach us about love. But to understand this we must go back to 1987 when the Inspector Morse series began.
Morse was a grumpy old man who liked classical music and alcohol, Lewis was his Geordie side kick who liked technology and his family. They worked at the Thames Valley Police and went around Oxford solving odd and overly academic murders. The relationship was often fraught but they always managed to catch the killer. This went on for 18 years until Morse died in the very final episode, The Remoserful Day. He’d suffered a huge heart attack and on his hospital deathbed he passed away. His final words to his boss, Chief Superintendent Strange, were “thank Lewis for me.” And so, after all that time, after all the arguments, the casual insults and the impatience it turns out that Morse was hugely indebted to his sidekick. Morse’s final moment captured his curmudgeonly character perfectly, the sort of man who could never quite admit to vulnerability or love, not even to those closest to him, and so he died without really having had the chance to thank those closest to him.
Five years later the Lewis series began. By this time Lewis had tragically lost his wife in a hit and run accident making him far grumpier and lonelier (like Morse). He also managed to lose his tech savinness (a little inconsistency of plot here perhaps). Fortunately though when it came to Lewis’ ending this year his was not quite as fatal as Morse’s. Instead he was faced with a choice: go on a six month trip to new Zealand with his new partner Laura Hobson (a pathologist who after many series Lewis finally hooked up with) or stay in Oxford working for the police to prevent them forgetting him and not renewing his contract. Lewis, after much agonising, opted for the latter. He feared losing purpose without a life dedicated to policing and would prefer to die on the job, much like his previous boss. However, he was forced to reconsider when his sidekick, Hathaway (now a Detective Inspector) said this:
“Do you love Laura? [dramatic pause] Then go. Show her that you love her, don’t assume that she knows. People make that assumption and it’s a mistake. Still, your decision.”
And so Lewis rethinks and decides to go abroad with the love of his life (and it turns out that he doesn’t have to worry about losing his job because Chief Superintendent Moody is very impressed at Lewis’ solving of the final case – something highly forgettable about parcel bombs, mercury and not particularly credible motives). So what does this teach us? That words and deeds are funny things. In Morse’s dying words he revealed something he had never really said before, that he cared deeply for Lewis. Whereas, it’s not words that prove Lewis loves Hobson, it’s his decision to go away with her. And we need both – we need both words and deeds to prove to those we love that indeed we love them. Sometimes actions, even though they’re enacted, need words to make them explicit, and sometimes words, however passionately said, need actions too. And the final lesson is that life is short, especially if you live in Oxford where people are grueseomely murdered on a regular basis. So don’t make Morse’s mistake and learn from Lewis instead – tell those you love that you love them and show ’em too. Cue cheesy but heartful Lewis theme song: