“Endeavour”–A Prequel to the Inspector Morse Series

Endeavour

“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.