I have long been a fan of anything involving romantic drama, murder mysteries, witty dialogue, eccentric characters, and British accents, and am happy to report that ITV’s Grantchester has so far not only met but exceeded my expectations on all accounts. Set in Cambridgeshire in the 1950s, in the village of Grantchester, the show is told from the perspective of Sidney Chambers, an Anglican vicar who forms a friendship with Detective Inspector Geordie Keating and becomes involved in solving his detective cases, while struggling with other difficulties such as managing the idiosyncratic personalities and feuds of his parish, dealing with PTSD from fighting in World War II, and his feelings for a friend, the beautiful but unavailable Amanda Kendall. Every episode has a distinct mystery to solve, but the overall focus remains with Sidney, who is played with magnificent warmth, sympathy, and emotion by 32-year-old James Norton; his growth and development as a character are the lifeblood of the show, and his constant wrestling with understanding the motivations behind people’s actions and trying to have compassion for them make for particularly interesting moral discussions that veer into gray territory but reaffirm core Christian principles of charity, mercy, forgiveness, grace, and so on. Other things I love about the show include the banter-filled relationship between Sidney and Geordie; the acting by the main cast, which is all-round topnotch, particularly the uptight and pious Mrs. Maguire (catchphrase: “What the dickens?“); and the writing, which could be cliché or melodramatic but instead is ordinary, humorous, and simple in a refreshingly authentic way. The library just got the 3rd season, so you have well over 20 episodes of sermon-writing duties, police investigation of both the shrewd and shoddy variety, and disapproving looks from the housekeeper to relish!
– Ruth Covington, Outreach