Grantchester is a British series on ITV (PBS in US) that is based off of a series of books called The Grantchester Mysteries by James Runcie. Set in the 1950s, the main character, Sidney Chambers, is a vicar of the village of Grantchester and who teams up with investigator Geordie Keating as they solve crimes together. The series in itself is very much like Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, it has cases that are individual and unique and there's a lot of whodunit moments, but there is also an examination of the time period as well and a lot of personal moments with characters and their own happenings in their lives.
One of the things that drew me to the series was how flawed Sidney is as a person. He's a priest and does his best to help others, but he doesn't always make the best choices for himself. He suffers a great deal of PTSD from serving in WWII and drinks heavily as a coping mechanism, he has a very complicated relationship with Amanda who he has feelings for, as does she for him, which definitely leads to questionable behavior from them both, considering that she's engaged/married to someone else. His imperfections and fuck-ups are very human, and I like that despite this he is still a good-natured, compassionate person. From the first episode of the series people come to him for help because they know he's a good man, someone trustworthy and who doesn't judge others and who actually wants justice. His friendship with Geordie is something that develops quite wonderfully throughout the series. It is an unlikely partnership and friendship, an investigator and a priest who solve crimes together, but it nevertheless works. They're both damaged individuals in different ways, and they share differing opinions on certain issues, but their friendship is still a strong point of the series. Well, that and Sidney with Dickens, the black Labrador dog that was gifted to him by Amanda, who is practically the other main star of the series since he absolutely steals the spotlight whenever he appears, but I digress.
The series in itself has a number of great characters, and one of them is Leonard Finch who happens to be my favorite character and quite possibly the heart of the entire show, in my opinion.
My favorite thing about Leonard is his arc in the series, which is his self-acceptance in regards to his sexuality. He is gay, well, a closeted gay man considering this is the fifties and being gay was basically seen as illegal. What I like about the show, though, is that instead of focusing on the "what happens if he gets caught?" angle they steer clear of anything like that and mostly focus on his personal growth. And it is heartbreaking at times, especially when he feels the pressure from the church to be in a heterosexual relationship along with his own insecurities and self-doubt and questioning himself. This is where his friendship with Sidney is very important because Sidney accepts him for who he is, he doesn't judge him and offers reassurance and compassion. Overall, Leonard is just so adorable and sweet, and I just want him to be happy, and I hope that in the fourth season and possible future seasons of the show, they continue to give him good storylines and he finds the ability to love himself and find love and have a happy ending that he deserves.
Another character that I ended up liking, and defending actually, is Amanda. I can understand being somewhat irritated by the whole on-again/off-again complications with her and Sidney, but Amanda is someone who I actually really like as a character. She, like everyone else, is flawed and very human. Also, the actress greatly resembles Troian Bellsario to an uncanny degree for me, so that is kind of a biased reason why I enjoy her on the show.
Overall: Grantchester is a show that I discovered late last year kind of randomly, and all because the selling point was a hot priest. And honestly? I'm glad I started watching it because I ended up really liking it a whole lot, from the characters to the episodic mysteries and seasonal arcs. I do like a good murder mystery show every once in a while and I came across this just at the right time, it seems. I am sad that James Norton is going to be leaving after the recently announced fourth season, because Sidney Chambers is practically the face of this series, but I do hope that they make it work for his departure. Though I still stand with my opinion that instead of introducing a new vicar to replace Sidney they should, instead, focus more on Leonard since his journey has been kind of getting to that point since the beginning.
If you're someone who enjoys shows like Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and Endeavour, I definitely recommend checking out Grantchester (watch the trailer).