Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A Coda for Morse

It had to happen sometime. British broadcaster ITV-TV has announced that the crime drama Endeavour, starring Shaun Evans and Roger Allam, will end following its ninth season, currently in development.

The show is a prequel to Inspector Morse, the 1987-2000 series starring John Thaw and Kevin Whately, and based on Colin Dexter’s long-running succession of novels. A spinoff starring Whately and Laurence Fox, Inspector Lewis, ran from 2006 to 2015. All three series have been well received, with the original being declared “the greatest British crime drama of all time by Radio Times’ readers” and “rank[ing] 42 on the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes compiled by the British Film Institute,” according to Wikipedia.

An Endeavour pilot film was shown in 2012, and the first season debuted in 2013. Episodes rolled out since have followed Endeavour Morse, a rising (but periodically troubled) young policeman, through his early years in the 1960s and early 1970s. Thirty-three episodes have already been aired—one more than each of its predecessors—and Series 9 will add three additional installments, bringing the total count up to 37. Filming for that last season, with stories to take place in 1972, began in and around Oxford earlier this week.

In a new piece looking back at this program’s ups and downs, Chris Jenkins of The Killing Times writes:
As the start of season nine is set in 1972, we must assume that there will always be a gap in time between the end of Endeavour and the start of Inspector Morse; something that may serve to excuse some of the inconsistencies that have arisen. The last season will have to resolve at least one big issue—why the older Inspector Morse never mentioned his former boss Fred Thursday (we know, this may be a pedantic point, but writers are paid to resolve such matters). …

Perhaps [the show] has served its purpose, and there are new detectives to move on to (we rather like Roger Allam as Antoine Verlaque in Acorn TV’s
Murder in Provence, for one). We just hope that the final season of Endeavour returns to the high level of its earlier episodes, and serves as a fitting tribute to the one, the only, the original Inspector Morse.
As part of the statement regarding Endeavour’s end, executive producer Damien Timmer says, “Endeavour has been a real labour of love for all of us, and we salute [screenwriter] Russell Lewis for his extraordinary achievement in chronicling Endeavour Morse’s coming of age across 72 hours of TV. Russell always knew where he wanted the series to end, and that Remorseful Day is nearly upon us! We’d like to thank Shaun and Roger and all the other members of the Endeavour family on and off screen, and the show’s fans both in the U.K. and abroad. Russell has many surprises up his sleeve for the final three films, with the return of some familiar faces and new challenges for Endeavour and Thursday to face before the final goodbye!”

The final set of Endeavour episodes is expected in 2023.

In the meantime, Season 8 of this series is due to premiere in the States as part of PBS-TV’s Masterpiece lineup on Sunday, June 19, with the first of three new episodes.

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