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Pie in the Sky: Series 5

Release Year:   1997
Studio:   Acorn Media
Format:   Colour; NTSC
Rated:   Not Rated
# of Discs/Episodes:   3 / 8
Running Time:   392 m
DVD Release Date:   August 2, 2011

Creator:   Andrew Payne
Actors:   Richard Griffiths, Maggie Steed, Malcolm Sinclair, Nick Raggett, Samantha Womack, Nicholas Lamont
DVD Features:   SDH subtitles
E: Top Picks Rating:   7/10

Acorn Media Write-up: 
The conclusion to the whimsical British mystery series, Pie in the Sky, Series 5 debuts on DVD with all the right ingredients for an enchanting detective drama. Richard Griffiths (“Harry Potter”, “The History Boys”) returns as the long-suffering DI Henry Crabbe—a semi-retired detective who prefers experimenting in the kitchen to catching criminals. Seen on public television, Pie in the Sky debuted on BBC1 in the U.K. in March 1994 and aired for five series. Series 5 co-stars Maggie Steed (“Shine on Harvey Moon”) and Malcolm Sinclair (“Casino Royale”), with guest stars Kelly Reilly (“Sherlock Holmes”, “Above Suspicion”) and Nicola Walker (“Touching Evil”, “MI-5”). The 3-Disc set includes all eight episodes from series five.

Semi-retired detective DI Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths) would prefer to spend less time catching crooks and more time in the kitchen of Pie in the Sky, the restaurant he runs with his wife, Margaret (Maggie Steed). But as ever, Assistant Chief Constable Freddy Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair) has other plans for his best officer. Fisher’s latest scheme is his new Public Duties Squad, which hires out police teams for private use. For Crabbe, the end result is the same—a balancing act between keeping Fisher happy and cooking at his beloved Pie in the Sky.

Jon Ted Wynne Review: 
As cop dramas go, PIE IN THE SKY has a unique premise. The portly Richard Griffiths as a want-to-be-retired police inspector whose great passion in life is operating his restaurant, named Pie In The Sky. Forced to stay active in the service to appease his incompetent superior, Griffiths as Henry Crabbe is a joy to watch as he struggles to balance his professional obligations with his preferred vocation.

By Series Five, the last in the collection, the producers seem to be more concerned with enjoying the characters’ interactions rather than serving up a good plot. This is OK as the characters are fun, but there is a definite sense that the series is winding down.

This is cop drama light, but it is good light, like a soufflé might be instead of a heavy meal. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Actually the scenes involving food are most enjoyable and clearly the producers have taken real delight in this important aspect of the show. Crabbe’s disgust at others’ (including his wife’s) lack of appreciation for fine food is an ongoing theme that never runs out of steam. One can easily imagine the cast sitting around and enjoying the delicious meals in between scenes. The caterers must’ve been especially good having to live up to the high standard set in Crabbe’s fictional restaurant.

Fans of the show will love the resolution to the series which plays out quite naturally in the final episode. This is a gentle series. Still a cop show, to be sure, but with little violence and a lot of time taken to savour the characters as well as the food.

PIE IN THE SKY definitely hits the spot.

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