“Grantchester,” TV’s answer to cozy mysteries, has been absolutely riveting.
Spoiler: It has nothing to do with the assortment of dead bodies who pop up in each episode.
The murders have taken a backseat to the engrossing story of the village curate exposed as gay.
Of course, nobody uses that word.
This is England, 1958.
And life is hell for anyone who isn’t absolutely heterosexual.
“Grantchester” has been spinning this story since the show premiered back in 2014, quietly revealing that meek Leonard (Al Weaver) is gay, then detailing his slow, stumbling romance with photographer Daniel (Oliver Dimsdale).
Unlike other historical dramas that feature gay characters – think “Outlander” or “Downton Abbey” – “Grantchester” is daring to expose the actual dangers for homosexuals pre-gay liberation:
What happens when a gay man is outed? How does his community react? What penalties does he face?
In the sixth season opener, Leonard enjoyed a bit of a holiday with his boyfriend and his surrogate family from the village when a pathetic closet case, upset that Leonard had rejected him, snapped photographs of Leonard and Daniel kissing on a park bench.
He ultimately went to the police.
Leonard was arrested and charged with gross indecency.
Just like that, the career he had spent years training for was over.
The church fired him and turned its back on him.
Leonard, feeling the need to do the honorable thing by his community, decided to plead guilty.
Despite that plea, the prosecutor launched a blistering attack that all but broke Leonard:
“Does (God) love you, Mr. Finch? You’re an intelligent man. You must know he can’t possibly love you. God couldn’t love a man who sought out a stranger to fulfill his sordid desires … How could God ever love you? A hypocrite. A sodomite. A sinner! How could he possibly love you?”
Leonard gasped: “I’ve always doubted that he could love me.”
Will (Tom Brittney), the town vicar, risking his own career, spoke up for his friend: “God loves everyone. To doubt his love is to doubt God.”
The judge chose to make an example of Leonard.
To the shock of everyone in the courtroom, he sentenced Leonard to six months in prison.
In a devastating moment, Leonard was handcuffed and taken away.
“Grantchester” has been renewed. The seventh season will arrive some time next year.
What will happen to Leonard? That mystery is still unfolding.