Life Born of Fire is episode three of the second season of Lewis. It is the first episode to focus specifically on Hathaway, particularly on his developing relationship with Lewis.
When a young man's body is found in a church, Lewis is sure that there are darker forces at work than the suicide verdict suggests. As he and Hathaway watch, a mystery envelops around them. The case hinges on a Christian youth group known as The Garden, but no one knows enough about it to provide any answers. And when the dead man is discovered to be Hathaway's old friend, he finds himself delving deeper into the case - and his past - than he would like.
During the night, a young man enters St Marks church and begins to smash up the statue of Christ. The Reverend Francis King, going past the church, hears a noise and rushes in. After the young man writes a suicide note and calls 999, saying 'Police? I'd like to report a murder', King identifies the man as Will McEwan, who proceeds to turn a gun on King. After King pleads for his life, Will instead turns the gun on himself and shoots himself in the head.
In the morning, the police are at the crime scene. Lewis arrives at the church and is greeted by Hobson. They go inside the church, where Hobson explains that the death was definitely suicide. She also shows him a leaflet that has been showered in droplets of blood, which reads: 'The Garden: Christian answers to contemporary questions'. Lewis points out that the leaflet is a little vague, and that he does not know what the garden is. Then, Hathaway enters the church. He asks for the man's identification, but realises it is his friend to the initial confusion of Lewis and Hobson. He runs out of the church.
Outside, Hobson shows Lewis a photograph that they found in Will's pocket, with a suicide note written on the back. It reads: 'On the road from Gethsemane to Calvary, I lost my way.' Lewis laments about its biblical nature. Then, he goes to see the Reverend King. King says that he used to know Will; he was a very devout, pleasant boy who had been a student of his. He tells Lewis that the other man in the photograph with Will is Feardorcha Phelan, whom King also knew. However, he had gone missing, and has not been seen for three years. He says that he has never heard of The Garden. Back outside, Hathaway explains to Lewis that he used to be close to Will; however, since they had not seen each other in years, that this will not hinder the investigation.
The Reverend King goes to see an old colleague of his, Dr. Carey Melville. He tells him that Will is dead and that he lied to the police. Meanwhile, Lewis and Hathaway go to see Will's father, Henry McEwan, to give him the news. Mr McEwan tells them that he wasn't on speaking terms with Will because of certain 'choices' that he made. He also remembers that Hathaway stayed with the McEwans one summer. Hathaway tells Lewis that he thought Will was gay, which is why he and his father became estranged. Lewis suggests that Feardorcha Phelan could have been Will's boyfriend.
In Mayfield College, Nova Rose, a barrister, and Lady Hugh, the Chair of University Grounds, are having an argument about the upcoming gay pride march. Lady Hugh insists that the march cannot be held on college grounds as it is against health and safety regulations, whereas Nova accuses her of being homophobic. Meanwhile, a friend of Will's, Jonjo Read, attempts to call Will but only gets his voicemail.
Lewis and Hathaway go to visit Will's mother, Sadie. Hathaway asks if she recognises him. She says that she does, and she remembers when he came to stay with them. She mentions that it was such a shame he and Will fell out. She also surprises Lewis and Hathaway by telling them that Will had a girlfriend, called Zoë Kenneth. Hathaway tells Lewis later that Will was definitely gay, and Lewis suggests that he was faking the relationship for show. Hathaway says that he and Will did not really fall out, just lost touch.
Jonjo finds a disc in his post, which he plays in his computer at home. It is a recording of Will. He tells Jonjo that he is dead, but that there is something he needs him to do. Meanwhile, the Reverend King is at home when the doorbell rings. He goes to answer it and tells the unseen person to come in. A short while later, he has been bound to his chair and gagged. His unseen attacker takes a red-hot poker from the fireplace and slowly pushes it towards his face.
That evening, Hathaway finds Feardorcha Phelan's number on his phone, and calls him. It goes to voicemail, and Hathaway leaves Feardorcha a message asking him to call him back. In the morning, after he has fallen asleep on the sofa, he wakes up to his phone ringing. The caller ID says that it is Feardorcha. Hathaway answers, but there is no reply, only heavy breathing on the other end of the line.
Lewis goes to an allotment yard to collect the key to his new allotment. Mr Cooper asks him if he is retired, which Lewis denies; he is merely looking for a hobby. Then, he receives a call telling him about King's death. He goes to King's house, where Dr Hobson tells him and Hathaway that King was killed by a red-hot poker through the eye socket. She points out that King knew his killer, as they were let in and had a drink before the murder, and that there is saliva on the glass. She also shows them a message that the killer wrote in red paint on the back of the door: 'Life born of fire'. Lewis decided that the deaths must be connected, due to King's previous affiliation with Will.
In Mayfield College, Lady Hugh reads about Will's death in the newspaper; unbeknownst to her, she is being filmed by Jonjo. Meanwhile, Hathaway finds a newspaper clipping among King's hoard. It was written by journalist Charlie Newton, and gives some insight into King's falling-out with the rest of the Mayfield College 'God-set', as Newton puts it; namely Lady Hugh and Dr Melville. Lewis and Hathaway go to see Newton, who tells them that King fell foul of the other religious folk of Oxford, due to some terrible thing that he did. He also tells them that King was one of the main organisers of The Garden, despite King telling them he had never heard of the organisation. A short time later, Newton calls Jonjo to tell him of King's death.
Lewis and Hathaway go to Will's house to try and find some clues. Hathaway suggests that King's death is about revenge, as someone blames King for Will's state of mind. He also says that there is nothing in his and Will's history that is of relevance to their investigation. They find a Brazil flag on his wall, along with a lot of religious paraphernalia. After they have finished, they go to the pub, where Hathaway tells Lewis he has been unable to locate Zoë Kenneth, but that the last anyone heard of Feardorcha Phelan was that he had gone to Brazil three years ago.
Later, Hathaway goes to St Mark's church to pay his respects. There, he meets Zoë Kenneth. She tells him that she was Will's girlfriend at first, but their relationship eventually failed due to Will being gay. However, he remained her best friend. She also mentions that she is a semiologist; she studies the meaning of names. She knew of Feardorcha, though had never met him. After she leaves, Hathaway meets Jonjo outside the church. Jonjo accuses Hathaway of feeling guilty over Will's death, to which he responds that he had no idea Will was suicidal. Hathaway then receives another phone call from Feardorcha, and again there is only heavy breathing. However, there is also ice-cream truck music playing through the phone. A few seconds later, the same ice-cream truck drives past.
Hathaway returns to the police station, where Lewis informs him that the DNA sample from the saliva proves that the killer is a male. Additionally, a dark hair was found stuck in the red paint at King's house. Hathaway tells Lewis that he met Zoë Kenneth in the church.
To be added
Main Cast Edit
- Kevin Whately - DI Robert Lewis
- Laurence Fox - DS James Hathaway
- Clare Holman - Dr. Laura Hobson
- Rebecca Front - Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent
Guest Cast Edit
- Philip Battley - Will McEwan
- Matthew Marsh - Henry McEwan
- Ian McNeice - Rev King
- Rachael Stirling - Zoë Kenneth
- Chiké Okonkwo - Jonjo Read
- Kate Miles - Nova Rose
- Bruce MacKinnon - Conan Jones
- Michael Pennington - Dr Melville
- Deborah Findlay - Lady Hugh
- Gillian Bevan - Sadie McEwan
- David Ryall - Mr Cooper
- Oliver Milburn - Charlie Newton
- Ian McNeice (Rev King) previously appeared in the Inspector Morse episode 'Deadly Slumber' as Pathologist.
- David Ryall (Mr Cooper) previously appeared in the Inspector Morse episode 'Driven to Distraction' as Derek Whittaker.