Inspector Lewis

Last week I mentioned a new show that was doing disability right. Today I have to report a show doing it badly. At least it’s only one episode.

My father discovered a detective show on Masterpiece Mystery that he really likes. It’s called Inspector Lewis. We watched the first episode together on Netflix and quickly found that one of the suspects in the first mystery is a paraplegic.

The younger detective specifically says that this man is “paralysed from the waist down” (to use the British spelling, since it takes place at Oxford!)

Yet this character is using a power wheelchair and has a personal care assistant. What?! Are they serious? 

He’s also the most vile, bitter, horrible, cruel character I’ve seen in a long time. Of course.

Later in the show it is strongly implied that he and his wife don’t have sex. “It’s not a marriage in the traditional sense.” They don’t explain why and it is strongly implied that he wouldn’t be able to.

When shows can’t be bothered to get any details even close to right, it makes it impossible for me to suspend my disbelief.

Very badly done, Inspector Lewis.


  1. Devo Girl
    Aug 1, 2012

    Oh no! I always liked the character Lewis from the Inspector Morse series, but I’m sorry to hear the spin-off has such a terrible episode. There is more of a disability connection here. Inspector Morse and Lewis first appeared in a series of books by Colin Dexter, who was partially deaf. The first book in the series revolves around the murder of a deaf man, with many details of the setting taken from Dexter’s real life. I reviewed it here:
    Unfortunately, even though the deaf guy is just like Dexter, the portrayal of him is horribly mean and stereotyped. Seems like an odd choice, but I guess Dexter had some issues about his deafness.
    I couldn’t tell if the episode you review was also based on Dexter’s novels, probably not, but it’s too bad they retained his dated and self-loathing view of disability.

    • RuthMadison
      Aug 1, 2012

      I hadn’t heard of it before. My Dad saw it randomly and shared it with me. Hopefully it was just this one episode and the others won’t have anything to do with disability!

  2. Lorrie
    Aug 18, 2012

    I agree, Ruth. You really have to do your research, especially for something like TV, which will be seen by zillions of people. It bothers me when I see things on TV that are not the way it really works, like when someone is having a seizure and the first reaction is quick, put something in their mouth so they don’t swallow their tongue. There was a book I was reading that was written by a doctor and he had something like that in his book. From a doctor!!! Sigh.

  3. Hannah
    Sep 12, 2013

    Hi Ruth,

    I appreciate it has been some time since your post about this episode. Do you by any chance remember what the title was?

    • RuthMadison
      Sep 24, 2013

      I’ll try to remember to look it up!

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