Pie In The Sky is an odd kind of cop show: Henry Crabbe is trying to retire, to fulfill a long-held dream of running a restaurant. The operation he was working on, goes a bit wrong, and the bad guy escapes.
Watching it now, I recognise that bad guy as Foyle from Foyle’s War…
Crabbe’s boss, Fisher, lets Crabbe go and open his restaurant, but keeps his talons in, as now Crabbe is on call to help the police whenever Fisher so desires. Which happens to be nearly every episode, but that’s the format.
I know that I watched it first time round (1994-97, and probably with my parents), and I had fond enough memories of it to get the DVDs, but that was a while ago, and who knows if I’d still like it?
The show has a good setup. It seems to catch humanity well: the accountant wife who tries to keep Henry down to earth when it comes to his business, who is the complete opposite to Henry when it comes to caring about food, but the relationship is respected by the writers, and so are the characters individually: it would be easy to make Margaret some kind of punchline, but she holds her own as equal, though different, to her husband, throughout.
Fisher is probably out of his depth, though trying hard to not be, and if departmental politics is a spider web, half the time is the spider and the other half is the fly.
The staff at the restaurant, who are gathered over a couple of episodes, are varied. Different backgrounds, different styles, they don’t always get on, but you like them. Police aren’t always good, or always bad.
Cambridge, the constable who is assigned to work with Crabbe, is professional, and very competent at her job. Crabbe, with more experience, doesn’t always do what she says, she being a little more by-the-book, and Fisher doesn’t seem to appreciate how good she really is, is sometimes dismissive of her input.
The show is a bit slow to start, but likeable characters help you stick with it. The first season has 10 episodes: in episode 6 they introduce B-plots (more for the restaurant staff to do). And the show does keep picking up. When Season 2 kicks off, it seems much more coherent as an ensemble show.
But that’s getting ahead of myself.
Also, sometimes people pop up who you recognise. Andy Serkis and Pete Postlethwaite among them. And, of course, the main actor has been in a few things himself.
Season 1 is still an enjoyable show 21 years later. Season 2 (ok, we’ve only watched one episode) looks even more promising so far.