Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Foyle

The return of one of my favorite television series is celebrated by S.T. Karnick. Foyle's War is a perfect example of an historically set mystery series that gets everything right.
.... Starring Michael Kitchen as Inspector Christopher Foyle, the chief police detective in a coastal English town during and after World War II, the series includes good mystery puzzles while taking quite seriously the moral implications of all of its characters’ actions.

The second good thing was the nature of last night’s episode. “The Russian House,” dealt with a very serious moral and political issue and foregrounded an atrocity committed by the Soviet Union with British complicity at the end of World War II. The brutal nature of the Soviet Communist regime is quite apparent in the episode. ....

We soon find out that the reason the Soviet authorities are so intent on repatriating the escaped Russian POW whom Foyle has been assigned to locate is his knowledge of a Soviet atrocity in Odessa after the Yalta agreement at the end of the European hostilities. A boatload of Russian soldiers being repatriated from England against their will was machine-gunned by Soviet soldiers–an act in which the British government was fully complicit.

That was the Conservative Churchill government, it is worth noting, which turned a blind eye to such horrors in hopes of ensuring the safe return of the 20,000 British POWs then still being held in Soviet territory. (A character notes that U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt was likewise complicit in allowing the Soviet Union to perpetrate such horrors without being called to account.) Foyle correctly refers to this as a “deeply offensive little secret.” Both the Soviets and the British government desperately want to keep it under their bloodstained hats. .... [more]
The forcible return to Stalin's NKVD of the Russian POWs was accompanied in the USSR with the wholesale incarceration in the GULAG of all those who had been captured in battle by the Nazis. Stalin didn't really care whether they had fought for or against him - it was enough that they had surrendered or been captured. The complicity of the West was shameful.

PBS ‘Masterpiece Mystery’ Deals with Communist Atrocity, UK, U.S. Complicity | The American Culture