Streaming on Netflix are years and years filled with Father Brown, and I’ve been overdosing on Catholicism in a predominantly Anglican country (thanks to Henry VIII). Who knew England had so many Catholics sleuths solving murders and giving absolution? Enter Father Brown, who baptizes, marries, and mostly buries the humans of their small country village because of the usual incompetent police force. Mark Williams makes a fine priest and wears the collar well in this series. He is never without his umbrella or his bicycle.
The Father is an odd sort of fellow who tells an occasional white lie for the greater good, steals evidence, enjoys his occasional glass of alcohol, has been known to go to the theater, and will read a few questionable books if it helps to solve a crime. What is interesting about this series is that you are often brought into the confessional as he hears his parishioners confess their sins and sometimes in spite of the sin must keep it a secret. Of course, it’s no secret to the audience.
What strikes me the most are the reminders that murderers are hung by the neck until dead. I find it somewhat disconcerting watching executions of humans so quickly bound, neck-tied with rope, a bag placed over the head, and the floor pulled from underneath their feet. Justice served, as some would say, but if the good Father has his way, the soul is saved. The last hanging in the United Kingdom occurred in 1964, and since Father Brown isn’t quite in that era, the noose is still the preferred form of punishment. However, a few get off with extenuating circumstances.
Nevertheless, the Father is quite the character, who has his sidekicks in criminal sleuthing that includes his secretary, Mrs. McCarthy, Lady Felicia the local upper class, and her chauffeur Sid Carter. The police dislike the Father’s interference (as the series does go through a few different inspectors), but if it were not for the Father’s involvement, not a crime would be solved.
You may not like the religious inferences of confession and repentance in all of the episodes, however, there are more lofty ones such as the Father sacrificing his life to save another. You may also hear quite a bit of Latin here and there being spoken over dead bodies. Supposedly based on characters by G.K. Chesterton. If you’re into reading the original plots, you can do so by purchasing his books on Amazon.
There are so many crime shows from the British, who obviously love to kill people on paper and write dastardly plots with twist and turns, that it is often hard to choose the most entertaining. From Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Grantchester, to Father Brown, plus others, there are plenty of period murder mysteries to keep you busy. Father Brown is not the cream of the crop, but if you’ve binged on everything else, it fills the need for murders, graves, and mysteries. There is no gore, but there is death.
Filed under: 1950's Era, BBC TV Series, Reviews Tagged: Alex Price, Father Brown, Mark Williams, Murder Mysteries, Nancy Carroll, Sorcha Cusak