When the show opens, we’re introduced to Sidney Chamber (James Norton), who is swinging on a rope, with his friend Amanda Kendall (Morven Christie). Despite reluctance, Amanda gives it a go and falls into the water, which forces Sidney to dive in after her. After a frightening search, Amanda pops up behind Sidney. Afterwards, the pair go their separate ways, but plan to meet the next Friday. Sidney heads to Grantchester on his bicycle. Sidney arrives at the church and puts on some jazz music from Sidney Bechet, before he puts on his priest garb. Next, he emerges outside and speaks with Mrs. Maguire (Tessa Peake-Jones), at the beginning of a funeral.
Evidently, the deceased took his own life. After the ceremony, Sidney gives his regards to Hildegard Staunton (Pheline Roggan). Next, Pamela Morton (Rachel Shelley) confronts Sidney and tells him that Stephen was her husband’s business partner. Morton requests to speak in private, before they return to Sidney’s place. She requests confidentiality, before insisting Stephen’s marriage wasn’t happy. She tells Sidney about a run in with Stephen, when he suggested the pair run away and begin again in Nice or the French Rivera. She confesses the pair made love, while they planned their new life. Eventually, she insists Stephen did not kill himself. Pamela pleads with Sidney to investigate the potential murder.
Next, Sidney heads into town, where he is propositioned by a pretty woman, Annie (Sia Berkeley). Afterwards, Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green) emerges and greets Sidney. Sidney gives Keating the tip involving the potential murder of Stephen, but Keating insists he is too busy. Keating reveals Stephen was a drunk and was in debt. He also reveals Stephen left a note, but refuses to let Sidney look at it.
Afterwards, Sidney meets with Hildegard, who suggests her husband was a drunk and depressed. She insists it was a shock when he killed himself, at first, but the war changed her way of thinking. Before Sidney leaves, Hildegard says she is going back to Berlin, since there was no will. Sidney suggests he could look at Stephen’s office for it. Next, Sidney heads to Stephen Staunton’s (Eoin Carthy) place of work and death. There, he speaks with Annabel Morrison (Michelle Duncan). She suggests Stephen was a horror to work for, since he was disorganized, before crying. She admits he had a few meetings and an argument on the day of his death. She also speaks about finding Stephen dead. Sidney learns Stephen drunk entirely too much, while speaking with Mr. Morton (Andrew Woodall).
Sidney questions Morton about Stephen siphoning money from the firm. Sidney returns to Keating and expresses his concern, since Mr. Morton served him a whiskey other than Jameson’s, which was Stephen’s favorite. Despite Sidney expressing his concern of murder, Keating continues to blow him off. Keating shows Sidney the case files, along with the supposed suicide note. Keating confirms he authenticated the handwriting and the case is closed.
Keating jokes with Sidney about having him arrested. While Keating likes rugby, Sidney prefers backgammon. The pair separate on friendly terms. Sidney meets with Mrs. Morton and tells her about the suicide note. In return, she tells him about a private diary of Stephen’s. Next, she reveals she believes her husband killed Stephen, before Sidney leaves. Afterwards, Amanda surprises Sidney, as the pair go for a stroll and chat. Sidney asks about his sister, who is now dating a Jazz man. Sidney suggests running away together and going to Nice and the French Rivera. Amanda reveals she is engaged to be married to a guy named Guy. Amanda leaves, after Sidney insists he’d like to meet Guy.
Next, Sidney begins typing up a sermon, when Mrs. M enters with a vacuum cleaner. She insists Mrs. Morton is a dangerous woman. Sidney checks the newspaper and sees Amanda’s engagement inside. Next, the pair discover a dog outside their home. Quickly, the dog begins making messes around the house. Sidney discovers Amanda sent him the dog. She insists he should name it Brutus.
Sidney returns to Keating and speaks to him about the nature of love. He insists the suicide note wasn’t a suicide note at all, but a note ending his relationship. The pair are unsure who the note was for, either his wife or a lover. Sidney reveals the affair. The pair play backgammon, while discussing their suspects, his wife and Pamela. Keating wins the game, before Sidney discusses the possible diary for Stephen.
Afterwards, the pair head to Hildegard’s house and Sidney goes in. Hildegard apologizes for last time, before the pair speak in German. Sidney then asked her about her husband’s personal effects. She speaks about Stephen taking walks at night, when nobody would be able to bother him. The pair discover Stephen’s diary and his gun, before Hildegard admits she should’ve been a better wife. Sidney returns outside and confirms he just broke the 8th Commandment, before giving Keating the diary.
The pair scour through the journal, but find nothing helpful. Sidney continues scouring over the case files, instead of working on his sermon. The crime scene photos bring back memories of his days in the war, which we see in flashbacks. Next, Brutus chews at something on the ground, which helps Sidney discover a note.
Next, Sidney visits Keating and requests to see the diary. After scouring through the diary for a second time, Sidney insists he knows who killed Stephen. Next, the pair await outside a house and prepare to pull off Sidney’s place. Mrs. Morton leaves her home, as the pair make their move. Sidney returns to Stephen’s place and speaks with Mr. Morton. He suggests Mrs. Morton has Mr. Staunton’s diary. Sidney tells Mr. Morton his wife thought Stephen was murdered. Mrs. Morton is headed for the same train Stephen usually took, which raises Mr. Morton’s suspicion.
Next, Mrs. Morton heads to the train, where she is nearly pushed in front of the train, by Annabel Morrison, who begins to scream that Stephen loved her. Keating hauls Annabel away. Sidney speaks with Mrs. Morton and reveals Stephen was ending his affair with Annabel, with the letter, before she killed him. Sidney details how Annabel carefully set the scene for the suicide.
Meanwhile, Keating speaks with Annabel, who insists nobody has ever told her they loved her before. Sidney speaks with Mrs. Staunton, who insists Sidney lied to her about Stephen going to Heaven. She gives Sidney a gift. Afterwards, Sidney delivers his sermon, which speaks about looking forward and moving ahead. Sidney and Keating take Brutus for a walk and Sidney insists he is glad he isn’t married.
Grantchester will likely not be for everyone, but it is a well written mystery drama, with plenty of interesting elements. There is plenty of mystery and crime solving, which helped to move the episode along. On the other hand, the failed relationship between Sidney and Amanda offers a bit of romance. Of course, there were a few comedy moments thrown into the mix. There is a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy, as long as you can get past the slow pace.
The acting is top notch, especially James Norton, who most people will likely remember from Happy Valley. Although the character is completely different, Norton is able to show a range of emotions in the pilot, which feel authentic. Of course, the other actors were wonderful as well. All in all, Grantchester is already a success in the UK, with a second series confirmed. The pilot deserves an 8 out of 10 and is definitely worth your time.