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Masterpiece Mystery! Inspector Lewis, Series II: Quality of Mercy

Airs Sunday, October 11 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: When a young actor is murdered during a student Shakespeare production, Lewis (Kevin Whately, shown) and Hathaway sift through the motives of several suspects — from a jealous thespian to an Oxford dropout to a playgoer only too anxious to use his ticket stub as an alibi. As the duo tracks down the truth, they unearth a dark secret that hits Lewis eerily close to home.

In this episode, a student production of "The Merchant of Venice" takes real-life deadly turn when a cast member is killed using a prop knife. Apart from the jealous ensemble cast who can't even muster fake tears over the loss of their colleague, there is an audience of suspects to consider — a career con man, an egotistical television personality and a young man who just might have killed to get a part in the play. Lewis and Hathaway methodically try to make sense of the murderous plot, but before they do, another death occurs with a Shakespearean sensibility. As the final act is about to unfold, the case takes an intensely personal turn for Lewis, bringing back traumatic memories and invoking a lesson in mercy. Watch a preview.

"Inspector Lewis, Series II: Allegory of Love" is available for online viewing Monday, October 5, 2009, through Sunday, October 18, 2009, Eastern time.