‘Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?’ creator Hugh Laurie: Emmy at last?

Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?” is a whip-smart British-set whodunnit, written and directed by Hugh Laurie, based on the iconic 1934 novel by Agatha Christie. If that is not catnip for Emmy voters, then I don’t know what is.

The three-part mystery premiered on upstart streaming service Britbox on April 14. It stars BAFTA Rising Star award winner Will Poulter as the local Vicar’s son, lovable Bobby Jones and Lucy Boynton as his friend, razor-sharp socialite Lady Frances “Frankie” Derwent. Unbeknownst to them while looking for a lost golf ball on a perfectly pleasant Wales golf course, the duo come upon the crumpled body of a dying man who utters the enigmatic query of the show’s title with his last dying breath. The show’s official synopsis then goes on to read, “armed with a photograph of a young woman found in the dead man’s pocket, amateur sleuths Bobby and Frankie embark on a crime-solving adventure and prove surprisingly adept at unearthing clues. The levity of the duo’s wit and banter belies the danger they continuously encounter as they pursue the answer to the mysterious question.”

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“Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?” has an incredible 100% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes putting it in rarefied company with its overwhelmingly unanimous seal of approval from TV critics. For example, TV critic Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune) raves that it’s “charming. It’s a slyly comic romance as much as it is a yarn of cryptic last words and accumulating corpses,” while Carol Midgley (The Times UK) declares that any “writer who tackles Christie takes a risk, but Laurie’s effort was classy and luscious.”

This year, the Best Limited Series/TV Movie categories are undeniably crowded with top-notch contenders jostling for attention, like “Dopesick,” “The White Lotus,” “Maid,” “The Dropout,” “Station Eleven,” “Dr. Death,” “The First Lady,” “Under the Banner of Heaven,” “The Staircase,” “Impeachment,” “Midnight Mass,” “Time” and “Scenes From a Marriage.” But the TV academy has already proven it has a real penchant not only for for prestige U.K. television, but also for writer/director Laurie.

Let’s face it, Emmy voters’ snobbery is second to none. They just love their high-falutin’ prestige drama, especially when witty writing is performed by actors with mellifluous British accents on gorgeously-rendered sets. Just three years ago, British TV dominated TV’s night of nights, with “Fleabag” and “Chernobyl” cleaning up, helping the mother country take home 13 wins out of 27, including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Charlie Brooker (“Black Mirror”) and “A Very English Scandal.” Last year, U.K.-based productions swept the field, as more than half of the trophies handed out that night given to Brits and then a few more sprinkled in for England-based “Ted Lasso.” U.K.-set shows have always been flavor of the month in the Limited Series category (and its various incarnations over the years) too, with recent classics like “The Queen’s Gambit” last year to the original “Downton Abbey” ten years ago (and so many other shows in-between) dominating the Emmy ballot. Laurie himself is an Emmy fave, amassing 10 nominations over the years for his work on “House,” “The Night Manager” and “Veep.”

With its top-notch U.K. production values, its famous source material, and the endearing banter between its two leads, the series should appeal strongly to Anglophile Emmy voters, a sizable demographic within the TV academy, who won’t be able to resist wondering why the mysterious “they” didn’t “ask” the cryptic “Evans,” when Emmy ballots are out later this month.

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