Masterpiece Mystery connections: Inspector Endeavour Morse

Shaun Evans as Endeavour and Kevin Whatley as Inspector Lewis
Time Travel! Inspector Lewis (right) was a protege of Endeavour in the original series, "Morse"

Masterpiece Mystery viewers take note: Season two of Endeavour premieres 6/29, and you can catch up on season one starting Sunday, 6/1, at 9pm. Since the original Inspector Morse series started way back in 1987, we thought we’d review the connections between these incredibly popular shows for current Endeavour (and Morse and Lewis) fans.

Inspector Morse {1987-2000}
Starting in 1987, John Thaw captivated audiences as Inspector Morse, the eclectic police inspector who solved crimes in Oxford, London.

Like another incredibly popular detective, Sherlock, Morse’s strong suit lies in finding and catching criminals, and not in relating to people. Morse’s relationships with other people seem superficial—he’s skilled at picking up ladies, but not so skilled at keeping them. There is one exception: the way Morse relates to his partner, Detective Sergeant Lewis (Kevin Whatley). Unlike Sherlock, Morse is not always right! Sometimes he slips up and arrests the wrong person, or deduces the wrong conclusion to the crime.

Inspector Morse features excellent writing and performances, and the series is the winner of five BAFTA awards, including two for Best Actor and two for Best Drama Series, and also won the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain award for Best Original Drama Series two years in a row (1991 & 1992).

Inspector Lewis {2006-present}
After the death of the incredibly talented lead actor John Thaw, the series was re-imagined in 2006 featuring Morse’s partner, Inspector Lewis, with Kevin Whatley reprising his character from the first series.

Sergeant “Robbie” Lewis has been promoted to Detective Inspector, and solves crimes with his partner, Inspector James Hathaway. Lewis has thrown himself into his work after his wife was killed in an accident, and starts out as a DI under the shadow of his former boss—tasked with wrapping up a case left unsolved by Morse. Lewis is uncannily adept at his job, but remains detached from everything, and everyone, else.

At the end of the 2013 fall run*, it looked like Lewis and Hathaway were parting ways with the force (if not each other) for good, much to the chagrin of their fans. All is not lost! A new season was commissioned and airs this October on KCTS 9.

Endeavour {2012-present}
Inspector Morse revealed his first name, Endeavour, only once in the original series, when explaining his father’s obsession with Captain James Cook.

Endeavour is a prequel to Inspector Morse that explores the budding young detective’s life in the mid-1960s, starring actor Shaun Evans in the lead role. His mentor, Inspector Fred Thursday, is played by Roger Allam.

The young Morse’s obsessive nature grows during this series, as we get to watch him navigate his career and relationships, while also learning what made him the way he was in later years. Fans of the original series should be pleased with how the show details what makes Endeavour tick, and the fact that we get to see his personality unfold in a gloriously fashionable 60’s setting makes it an even more enjoyable watch.

Are you a Morse fan? Have you explored all of the series? Tell us about your favorite episodes in the comments!

Watch a preview of Endeavour season 2:

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06/01/14

I feel overwhelmed with all the conversations here. I would just like to introduce myself here as Wendy from Hope, B.C. Canada and I am probably well out of my age group. Well, never mind, I am 80 years old and have very few health issues but am interested in learning how to do better with what we have. I live in a damp climate and arthritis is a very common problem. We should be taking fewer pills for sure because in the end they cause more problems than we can fix. I am excited about the course as you are never too old to learn.

06/24/14
Hello Wendy, my name is Irene and I love KCTS and have enjoyed the new Endeavor series. Here in the Northwest, Seattle area, we have a wet climate as well. My recent research has seen where a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, mixed in water or your choice of beverage, once a day is a natural remedy for arthritis.
06/01/14

A thorough fan of BBC's excellent dramas, I have hugely enjoyed the intelligence of them, that I have to pay really good attention to clues and plot and sometimes unravelling the accent, and I greatly valued that the good guys win ( often in 2 episodes!) Like growing up with 'mother CBC' in Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which nourished my IQ, I am relishing the mind food of PBS and Knowledge Network and I am hugely grateful. After last evening's Lewis where the pathologist planted a huge kiss on Lewis, I wept with romantic joy! Finally they connected! Hurrah! I eagerly anticipate the blossoming of the relationship. Next to Frost, I appreciate Waking the Dead enough to sacrifice sleep and watch it twice, with increased pleasure at noticing even more complexities. My church has 3 services each weekend, and when the Saturday evening one is exceptional, I go back again Sunday, the same as I do with BBC dramas, to enjoy expanding my mind and spirit.

05/31/14

Great way to keep the theme going. Morse was a wonderful series, Lewis, too, and the first season of Endeavor with old names seems to tie in nicely.

05/30/14

- I was a teenager in the 1960s, so I always have a fondness for anything connected with that era. I find that Endeavour is my favourite, with Lewis coming a very close second; I truly enjoy the way the stories are written and the actors/actresses do a most wonderful job. Thank you to all. Rosemary from Vancouver, B.C., Canada

05/30/14

I love pretty much everything about all three Morse series, but I think I like Endeavour best of all, and particulary the music. Barrington Pheloung is such an amazing composer, and the soaring music and the lovely shots of Oxford raise the quality of these shows to a level one just doesn't find in American detective series.

05/30/14

I was reading the books by Colin Dexter before they were made in to a TV series. I liked all the episodes, but maybe The Wench is Dead is a particular favourite as it partly made the episode in to a period drama.

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