“Endeavour”–A Prequel to the Inspector Morse Series


“Endeavour” is the much-anticipated mystery series currently on Sunday evenings on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery.  A testament to the beloved long-running Inspector Morse series (1987-2000), this series is the back story for young DC Morse before he became the curmudgeonly middle-aged Chief Inspector Morse.

Set in Oxford in 1965 Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) is a rookie in his late twenties, a Detective Constable (DC) freshly minted from Oxford to assist Inspector Fred Thursday (the awesome stage actor Roger Allam), a rational, insightful policeman who sees Morse’s potential and gives him the latitude to explore unconventional methods for solving a crime.  Inspector Thursday’s superior does not feel the same way about Morse and frequently tries to demote him to a desk assignment.

What makes this series thrilling is the way the middle-aged Morse can be seen in the flashbacks to the younger man. The roots of his moodiness and taciturn nature are evident at every turn–“an old young man”.

But this young DC Morse is not simply a clone without idiosyncrasies.  He has a toughness–an alloy of innocence, determination, and guile.  DC Morse has a life of his own in solving each murder with more convoluted turns than the classic Inspector Morse mysteries. Last Sunday night’s episode, “Girl”, was a finely crafted and intricate tapestry of clues tightly woven and carefully laid out so the attentive viewer could follow the puzzle-solving system of Morse’s mind with cryptic clues, unbreakable codes, wordplay, and obscure literary allusions.

Comments (3)

  • Christine Sleeter

    I knew Endeavor was connected to Morse, but didn’t realize he is Morse as a young man. Thanks for the clarification. Now I’ll look for the older Morse in him, so far not seeing it. We’ll stay tuned!

  • Well, the idea for a young Morse is a good one, but the mystery is pretty ordinary I thought. People die right and left. There’s little connection between them. The hymn numbers on the wall in the chapel magically tell our hero who the murderer is and the young Morse’s ability to read it is unbelievable. There’s that silly little man in the too-big police hat who questions Morse’s ability, the older policeman who is also critical, the ever-present wealthy pair w the baby. And the girl w the funny wig who is the mother of the baby and suffers so incredibly. Would our Morse be such a muggle-head even when he was young? What was wonderful about Morse the elder was his sophistication. His car! His real appreciation of classical music. His simplicity. The new guy has a long way to go before he is our “MORSE”. I think he’s Sherlock Holmes and a few other mystery guys all mixed up in a soup of unbelievable old, stale plots. Oh dear!

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