Why 'Grantchester' Season 5 Is the 'Most Uncomfortable' and 'Best' Yet

John Russell
Grantchester Season 5 Preview
Preview Courtesy of Kudos/ITV/Masterpiece

In TV's typical English village, when the vicar shows up, you can expect tea and a chat about the church bazaar. But on Grantchester, Rev. Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) usually accompanies Det. Insp. Geordie Keating (Robson Green, above left, with Brittney), and foul play is afoot!

Life in 1957 Cambridgeshire certainly gives the appearance of tranquility and contentment. Will is hitting his stride after taking over for departing vicar Sidney Chambers (James Norton, who left the show in 2019), and he's intrigued by local reporter Ellie Harding (Lauren Carse). Geordie, meanwhile, has come to terms with his wife Cathy's (Kacey Ainsworth) desire to work at a department store — especially once her mum (Paula Wilcox) visits to help out and bring him his slippers.

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"Initially, you think everybody has found their own Eden," Green says. (During the coronavirus lockdown, the actor — a self-described "keen angler" — has found a bit of that himself on a nearby river.) "But Geordie knows that sooner or later trouble will find a way. Every Eden has its snake."

In Sunday's premiere, a student at an all-female college turns up dead after a night of drinking — and there are many murders to come, along with storylines involving drug abuse, racism, homophobia and mental illness. "[Season] 5 is probably the most uncomfortable to watch," Green admits of the Masterpiece drama. "I thought one of the episodes was way outside the Grantchester brief. I thought, 'This is not the show.' But when it was cut together, it was the best episode yet." In the hour, two boys make a suicide pact, "and a dark secret is unveiled that has a devastating effect on the main characters."

Tom Brittany Robson Green Grantchester Season 5 Will Geordie

(Courtesy of Kudos/ITV/Masterpiece)

Let's take a step back, though, in case you're reconsidering tuning in to Grantchester at all. "In my view, this is the best [season]," Green says, promising, "It still maintains its humor. It still maintains its life-affirming themes." And Will and Geordie's growing bond is a pleasure to watch. With Sidney, the detective could relate as a fellow veteran; they shared the experience of war. With Will, "he's the son I never had. I'm the father he's never had," Green explains. "That lovely relationship is really cemented."

Grantchester, Season Premiere, Sunday, June 14, 9/8c, PBS (check local listings at pbs.org)