Sunday, July 01, 2012

Finding Clues to Morse’s Future in His Past

In case you have forgotten, tonight will introduce a new chapter in the life of British Inspector Endeavour Morse to U.S. TV watchers. The 90-minute ITV pilot titled simply Endeavour--a prequel to Colin Dexter’s 13 Morse novels as well as the 1987-2000 TV series Inspector Morse, based on those books--will begin showing at 9 p.m. ET/PT under the umbrella of PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! series. Set in 1965, this teleflick stars Shaun Evans as the eponymous inspector, who’s just starting out in his career with the Oxford City Police.

Evans puts in an excellent performance in Endeavour, which was broadcast in the UK in January of this year and has already spawned a new series, expected to debut on the other side of the Atlantic sometime this summer. Los Angeles Times television critic Robert Lloyd has this to say about the pilot and Evans’ role in it:
He is not yet the irascible white-haired terrier we know from Morse, and Evans, who has something of [Morse star John] Thaw’s chin and height, does not attempt an obvious imitation of his coming self. But even before we see Morse’s newly young face, we are teased with his totems--with the sounds of opera and a glimpse of a crossword puzzle. (Not for the first time--or the last, depending on how you look at it--will a crossword figure into a Morse mystery.) Two fingers type what looks like a resignation letter; living in his future, we know better.

Endeavour is over, we will have seen Morse introduced to driving a Jaguar (with a cameo appearance by the very Jag he will later own); to his first taste of ale, which he will keep on tasting until the end; and to pathologist Max de Bryn (here played by James Bradshaw). Abigail Thaw, John Thaw’s daughter, has a small part as a newspaper editor, possibly just so she can ask Morse if she’s met him someplace. And author Dexter, whose stamp of approval, or at least allowance, is on the current series, makes a background appearance, as has long been his practice.
Meanwhile, Oline Cogdill supplies a brief synopsis of Endeavour’s plot in a blog post for Mystery Scene:
Endeavour’s first case involves a missing 15-year-old girl. He and his colleagues are called in from a neighboring town to help with the investigation, lead by Inspector Thursday (Roger Allam) who soon learns to appreciate Endeavour’s unconventional mind.

Endeavour’s hunches lead him to cryptic crossword puzzles, English Romantic poetry and clever disguises that no other cop thinks about. The plot works well and seeing Endeavour put it together is fascinating.
Endeavour is another project by Russell Lewis, who developed the crime drama Inspector Lewis, a sequel to Inspector Morse that started showing in the States in 2008.

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that the first of four new episodes of Lewis is set to debut on Masterpiece Mystery! next Sunday.

1 comment:

Winifred said...

I did enjoy this short series & am still waiting for the next one to be shown. Meanwhile I'll just have to make do with Lewis which is really good too.