by Kathleen Costa
If you have not yet watched this series there are a tiny bit of spoilers in this article.
Inspector Morse concluded its run in 2000, but not its popularity. “What will the next invasion bring?” Two spin-off dramas crossed to our shores providing a positive nod to the original, yet unique enough to become favorites among the “Morse” fans.
Inspector Lewis, the first spin-off of Inspector Morse, aired 2006-2015 with Kevin Whately reprising his detective role. Returning from a two year absence, Lewis is now a widower with a Detective Inspector badge. He becomes the mentor with his own ‘curmudgeon’ style and Detective Sergeant James Hathaway (Laurence Fox) is the reserved apprentice. Pathologist Dr. Laura Hobson (Clare Holman), who appeared late in the Inspector Morse series, joins the team. The crimes are the same, the stories still intriguing, and the relationship between Lewis and Hathaway is very reminiscent of Morse/Lewis in many ways: the bossiness, the teamwork, the respect.
The series pilot, “Reputation,” brings DI Lewis back to Thames Valley temporarily assigned to a murder investigation with DS Hathaway. The victim and suspects have a passion for mathematics which leads Lewis to decipher a cryptic clue found in one of Inspector Morse’s old case files offering a nod to the original show. As the series continues, it strengthens a true and equal friendship between Lewis and Hathaway, creates a bit of flirtation and romance between Dr. Hobson and Lewis, and in the final episodes, even reverses the roles as Lewis comes out of retirement to act as a consultant to DI Hathaway’s lead.
In 2015, the decision was made to finally retire the characters after 13 years. The final three episodes will air in the US in August 2016 to give fans more insight into Hathaway’s family, the relationship between Lewis and Hobson, addresses whether Lewis will ever retire, and gives fans a chance to say, “Goodbye, sir.”
I give the Inspector Lewis series 5/5 Detective Inspector IDs!
The popularity of Inspector Morse and Lewis led to the spinoff Endeavour, a prequel set in the mid 1960s with Shaun Evans portraying Detective Constable Morse as the apprentice to veteran and mentor Detective Inspector Fred Thursday (Roger Allam). First aired as a feature-length pilot film in 2012, fans were provided many “Ah, now I understand” moments about the man known only as Morse. The pilot revealed Morse left Oxford University in his third year (Ah, his understanding of the Oxford community), spent time in the Royal Corps of Signals as a cipher clerk (Ahh, his skill with puzzles), recognized as an “unblemished detective,” he replaced a corrupt officer at the Oxford City Police’s CID (Ahhh, his integrity and veteran-ship begins), and not much of a drinker, he discovered “real ale” (Ahhhh, sadly, the catalyst of his ultimate demise).
Additionally, fans were treated to some obvious and subtle nods to the original show and the late John Thaw. When the young detective arrives at Oxford station, the music is the same piece used when Morse collapsed in the final episode. In a car showroom the red Jaguar Mark 2 with license plate 248 RPA attracts our young detective’s attention. The crossword editor of the local paper, played by Abigail Thaw, John’s real-life daughter, comments to Endeavour if they’ve ever met before, maybe “…in another life.” At the end, Constable Morse is asked where he sees himself in twenty years, he sees the reflection of John Thaw in the rear view mirror; the original theme music plays through the credits.
Throughout the series many characters that appeared in Inspector Morse are introduced, and the roots of reoccurring themes are explored and answered: Morse’s solitude boarding loneliness, love of opera and the classics, addiction to ‘real ale,’ and peripheral stance with relationships. However, our young Morse does not shy away from his unique first name, and many colleagues know it, but not its background. The series has yet to explore why his attitude toward his name changed.
The third season aired in the US this summer treating Inspector Morse fans to more ‘ahhh’ moments. The fourth season started filming in spring of 2016 marking thirty years since our 1986 introduction to Inspector Morse.
The prequel series Endeavor earns 5/5 Vintage Red Mark 2 Jaguars!
Be a Fan!
Kevin Whatley Discuss Thirty Years of “Lewis” youtu.be/OosO-nNJRng
KRL Inspector Morse Review kingsriverlife.com/06/24/the-british-are-coming-the-british-are-coming-part-1-inspector-morse
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