Endeavour (TV series)
Endeavour is a British television detective drama series. It is a prequel to the long-running Inspector Morse and, like that series, is set primarily in Oxford. Shaun Evans portrays the young Endeavour Morse beginning his career as a Detective Constable with the Oxford City Police CID. The series is produced for ITV as a Mammoth Screen and Masterpiece co-production for ITV Studios. After a pilot episode in 2012, the first series was broadcast in 2013, and four more series have followed. A fifth series with six episodes set in 1968 began on 4 February 2018.and finished on 11 March 2018. A sixth series was later commissioned due to air in 2019,  which is to be set in 1969.
|Created by||Russell Lewis (as deviser)|
|Based on||Characters created by Colin Dexter|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||23 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Michele Buck Damien Timmer (Mammoth Screen)
Rebecca Eaton (Masterpiece)
|Location(s)||Oxford, Oxfordshire, England|
|Cinematography||Gavin Struthers (pilot)
|Running time||98 minutes (TV movie)
90 minutes (Series 1-4)
|Production company(s)||Mammoth Screen and Masterpiece co-production for ITV Studios|
|Original network||ITV, STV, UTV|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||2 January 2012– present|
|Preceded by||Inspector Morse|
Set in the mid to late 1960s in Oxford, England, the series centres on the early career of Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) after he has left Lonsdale College of Oxford University late in his third year without taking a degree, spent a short time in the Royal Corps of Signals as a cipher clerk, and then joined the Carshall-Newtown Police.
In the pilot episode, having been transferred to CID after only two years as a uniformed police constable, the young DC Morse soon becomes disillusioned with law enforcement and begins writing a resignation letter. Before he can resign, Morse is sent with other detectives from the Carshall-Newtown Police to the Oxford City Police's Cowley Police Station to assist in investigating the case of a missing fifteen-year-old schoolgirl.
Having studied at Oxford gives Morse advantages and disadvantages when dealing with Oxford's "town and gown" divide. During the pilot episode, he tenders his resignation but his superior, veteran Detective Inspector Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), the "guv" at the Oxford City Police's CID, sees in him an unblemished detective whom he can trust and takes him under his wing to be his new "bag man" meaning assistant, replacing a corrupt Detective Sergeant.
Series 1 (2013)Edit
Series 1 begins with Morse transferring to the Oxford City Police in 1965 following a double-murder investigation that took place during the pilot episode. Morse is taken under the wing of Inspector Thursday. Thursday names Morse his designated "bag man" and shows him the ropes as Morse begins to solve a string of complex multiple-murders, much to the envy and annoyance of some of his superiors, particularly Detective Sergeant Jakes and Chief Superintendent Bright. Morse displays his obvious genius in solving intricate murders, including several with opera connections. Thursday and fellow officer, Police Constable Strange, try to steer the young Endeavour into taking his Sergeant's exam, so that he may be relieved of "General Duties" and become Thursday's official "bag man" with the appropriate rank and title. In the Series 1 finale, Morse is shot while attempting to apprehend a murderer and is placed on light-duty. At the same time, Morse comes to terms with the December 1965 death of his cold and unfeeling father.
Series 2 (2014)Edit
Series 2 begins in 1966 with Morse returning to active duty at Cowley Police Station, after spending several months on light duty at Oxfordshire (County) Police's Witney Station, under the direction of D.I. Bart Church. Morse is received warmly by C.S. Bright and D.S. Jakes, as D.I. Thursday begins to keep a more watchful eye on the young Endeavour. As a result of the shooting, Morse begins to suffer from delayed stress and paranoia, as well as an increase in alcohol consumption. Despite making several mistakes in the investigation, Morse solves the cases, impressing his superiors. During the investigation he suffers a concussion after being struck over the head and is cared for by his nurse neighbour, Monica Hicks, in whom he takes an interest. At the same time, P.C. Strange enters into Freemasonry with many of Oxford's elite, and D.I. Thursday's daughter, Joan, begins to take an interest in Endeavour. During the course of several cases, pieces of circumstantial evidence go missing, and a murder suspect threatens Morse by claiming association with powerful men who will not take kindly to interference.
In the final episode, the looming merger of city and county police and misgivings about corruption, lead Thursday to consider retirement, in response to strong hints from C.S. Bright about age and health. Disheartened by this, Morse speculates to Monica about leaving the police and going abroad with her. Assistant Chief Constable Clive Deare asks Thursday and Morse to covertly investigate corruption within the police and council. Morse is sent to a rendezvous where he is ambushed by corrupt officers and Thursday is lured to Blenheim Vale, a derelict former wayward boys home, where there was rampant sexual and physical abuse (of which Jakes was a victim). Morse escapes the ambush and goes to support Thursday, who is shot by Deare, a participant in the abuse at Blenheim Vale. Deare tells Morse he has framed him for the murder of Chief Constable Rupert Standish. Deare is about to kill Morse when he is shot dead by a girl who had also been abused at Blenheim Vale, who then kills herself. Bright and Strange arrive with backup and an ambulance. As Thursday is being loaded into an ambulance, Morse is arrested by officers from another force for the murder of Chief Constable Standish. The series ends with Thursday's fate unknown and Morse in a jail cell.
Series 3 (2016)Edit
Series 3 begins in Spring 1967. D.C. Morse is cleared of the murder of Chief Constable Standish and the records in the case of Blenheim Vale are sealed for 50 years. D.I. Thursday is discharged from hospital, but the bullet could not be taken out of him and has resulted in recurring coughs. Monica has come to realize that she and Morse have gone their separate ways. Strange is promoted to Sergeant and Morse considers his future after his time in prison, but with Thursday's encouragement, Morse returns to active duty investigating a murder following a disappearance at a funfair on Cowley Green. After solving a faked kidnapping and tainted fruit being sold at a local supermarket, D.S. Jakes retires from the Force and leaves Oxford. Strange takes Jakes' place as Detective Sergeant but assures Morse that they're still friends even though he's now his superior. Thursday shows frequent signs of outbursts against suspects unwilling to co-operate during the investigations, and even uses violence as a way of extracting information. Although Morse is unsure about becoming Sergeant, Thursday assures him he's more of an Inspector.
In the final episode, Morse finally sits his Sergeant's exam and completes his paper well within the time allowed. An armed robbery takes place at a bank where Joan Thursday works and the armed robbers become trapped themselves along with Morse during an investigation into a killing and payroll robbery. After the robbers are arrested, Joan, emotionally affected by the ordeal, leaves Oxford despite encouragement from Morse to stay. Realizing that Joan has gone, Thursday encounters Morse outside his house, and figures that he saw Joan leave.
Series 4 (2017)Edit
Starts in the summer 1967 and ends in the autumn of the same year. Joan Thursday is still away and Morse finds out his Sergeant's exam went "missing" which meant automatic failure. Bright makes inquiries and tells Morse that his exam paper was the only one that went astray. After solving another complex murder case, Morse refuses to be affected by failing his Sergeant's exam and stays in Oxford. Morse locates Joan in Leamington but does not tell her father. Joan declines Morse's offer to return to Oxford. D.I. Thursday discovers Morse's findings and also pays Joan a visit. He confronts Morse afterwards about why he did not tell him, but admits they both had a wasted journey. After averting disaster at a Nuclear Power Plant, Thursday is promoted to Chief Inspector and Morse is promoted to Detective Sergeant. They are both awarded the George Medal.
Series 5 (2018)Edit
Picking up the narrative in April 1968, the various investigations continue during the creation of Thames Valley Constabulary from the city and county police forces. The Cowley police station has its future in question along with some of the key members of the team.
|Series||Episodes||Originally aired||Average UK viewers (millions)
inc. ITV HD and ITV+1
|First aired||Last aired|
|TV film||2 January 2012||8.21|
|1||4||14 April 2013||5 May 2013||7.04|
|2||4||30 March 2014||20 April 2014||6.78|
|3||4||3 January 2016||24 January 2016||6.82|
|4||4||8 January 2017||29 January 2017||7.07|
|5||6||4 February 2018||11 March 2018||TBA|
|Shaun Evans||Endeavour Morse||Detective Constable (DC) (later Detective Sergeant), Oxford City Police CID, Cowley Police Station|
|Roger Allam||Fred Thursday||Detective Inspector (DI) (later Detective Chief Inspector), Oxford City Police CID, Cowley Police Station|
|Anton Lesser||Reginald Bright||Police Chief Superintendent (PCS), Oxford City Police, Cowley Police Station|
|Jack Laskey||Peter Jakes||Detective Sergeant (DS), Oxford City Police CID, Cowley Police Station|
|Sean Rigby||Jim Strange||Detective Sergeant (DS), Police Constable (PC) Oxford City Police CID, Cowley Police Station|
|James Bradshaw||Dr. Max DeBryn||Home Office Pathologist|
|Abigail Thaw||Dorothea Frazil||Editor, Oxford Mail newspaper|
|Caroline O'Neill||Win Thursday||Inspector Thursday's wife|
|Sara Vickers||Joan Thursday||Inspector Thursday's daughter|
|Jack Bannon||Sam Thursday||Inspector Thursday's son|
|Shvorne Marks||Monica Hicks||Morse's neighbour, a nurse with whom he slowly enters into a relationship|
|Simon Kunz||Bart Church||Detective Inspector, Oxfordshire Police CID, Witney Police Station|
|Dakota Blue Richards||Shirley Trewlove||Woman Police Constable, Oxford City Police, Cowley Police Station|
|Lewis Peek||George Fancy||Detective Constable (DC), Oxford City Police CID, Cowley Police Station|
ITV broadcast a television film in the UK on 2 January 2012; in the United States, PBS aired it on 1 July 2012. It starred Shaun Evans as the eponymous police detective in his early career. Abigail Thaw, daughter of original Morse actor John Thaw, played the part of Dorothea Frazil in a scene at the Oxford Mail newspaper.
It was announced on 5 June 2013 that due to the success of series 1, including consistently high ratings, ITV had commissioned a second series of four episodes. Filming commenced in Oxford in September 2013. On 24 September 2014, ITV confirmed that a third series of Endeavour had been ordered.
Before that third series of Endeavour screened on ITV, Evans told the Oxford Mail: "It's not like we have a six-year contract, there's none of that. It's day by day, year by year. I think this one is really good. We'll know when it airs if there's an audience for it and if we feel there's another place to take these characters."
In February 2016, ITV announced that a fourth series of Endeavour had been commissioned, which Roger Allam confirmed to the Oxford Mail, with filming to begin in late spring 2016. To mark the 30th anniversary of Morse on television, the series features several early Morse characters and cameos by actors from the original series. The fourth series debuted on 8 January 2017, and the fifth series began on 4 February 2018.
A region 2 DVD of the pilot at 89 minutes long was released on 9 January 2012, but, as reviewers on Amazon.co.uk have noted, does not contain the full show and many scenes aired on ITV have been cut out. A complete edition running at 98 minutes was released on 26 January 2012.
Series 1 was released on DVD on 6 May 2013, Series 2 on 5 May 2014, and Series 3 on 1 February 2016.
Noting that the series received upwards of 6.5 million viewers, Mark Sweeny writing in The Guardian stated that any decision to commission a subsequent series should be easy. Upon its American premiere, Los Angeles Times critic Robert Lloyd called it a "suitably complicated and pictorially engaging work of period suburban mystery."
Critics have been generally favourable, though even positive reviews have commented that the show's murder-mystery plots are occasionally unsatisfying convoluted puzzles or come to a "rushed, melodramatic and fairly preposterous conclusion."
References to earlier seriesEdit
A number of references to the Inspector Morse series were included in the TV film of Endeavour, serving to introduce younger versions of characters who appeared in the original series or to place iconic series or character elements into the film.
Among these are:
- In the first scene, Morse is seen listening to opera (specifically, "Un bel di" from Puccini's Madama Butterfly), and operatic themes were introduced into the score by Barrington Pheloung, who scored and conducted the music for both Inspector Morse and Lewis. Morse's taste in opera would later evolve into a preference for Germanic composers, particularly Mozart and Wagner.
- Morse appears to use his first name, which is known by some of the people who work with him. The episode does not explore why his unwillingness to tell anyone his first name arises, a habit continued in the Endeavour series and throughout the Inspector Morse series. He tells all to call him Morse.
- As Morse and the other officers from Carshall Newtown are being bussed in to Oxford at the beginning of the Pilot, "In Paradisum" from Faure's Requiem plays, the same piece of music used when Morse collapsed in "The Remorseful Day".
- In a flashback, a young woman with long blonde hair is seen, draped only in a blanket and viewed from the back, staring out of a window. Later, Morse and Alex Reece have a discussion of their competition over "Wendy", as Reece refers to her, reminding Morse that she preferred Morse to himself. Morse corrects him, saying she prefers "Susan". This is a reference to Wendy Spencer, Morse's girlfriend at university, in the book "The Riddle of the Third Mile", and to Susan Fallon (married name), her equivalent in the television series. In Morse Episode 21, "Dead on Time", Morse says he lost Susan to a prior relationship, which would have been Henry Fallon, whose death is investigated in this Morse episode. Susan is played by Joanna David, a blonde woman of similar stature to the one shown in the flashback.
- Max de Bryn, featured as the Home Office pathologist until his retirement in Inspector Morse is introduced when the body of the college student is found. In a later scene, Morse's horror at the sight of blood is shown and emphasised when he faints during a post mortem procedure.
- Early in the episode, Morse states that he abstains from alcohol. After he faints at the mortuary, Fred Thursday encourages him to drink a glass of real ale, after which Morse is shown drinking several pints before the close.
- The red Jaguar Mark 2 car with the registration 248 RPA is shown prominently at a car showroom, attracting interest from Morse; this is the car Morse drove in the original series.
- Christopher Brandon plays Alexander Reece, a college friend of Morse, later played by Barry Foster in the 1989 Inspector Morse episode, "The Last Enemy".
- As was traditional in the original series, writer Colin Dexter who created Morse, made cameo appearances in each episode until his death, for example, reading a newspaper on a bench in one scene and in another, sitting on the upper deck of an Oxford bus.
- In the closing moments, as Thursday asks Morse where he sees himself in twenty years, Endeavour looks in the rear view mirror and sees the face of John Thaw. At the same time, the original series music begins and plays through the credits.
- In addition to the face-in-the-mirror scene, Endeavour includes another recognition of John Thaw. His daughter, Abigail, appears as the crossword editor for the Oxford Mail, whom Morse questions. At the end of the scene she pauses for a moment, then asks if she's met him before, eventually noting it may have been "in another life."
- Red letters are highlighted in names in the closing credits when the series is shown as part of Masterpiece Mystery! on PBS, but not the original ITV release. At the end of the pilot episode, the red letters spell out "Lonsdale", Morse's (fictional) college. As in the original series and Lewis, Brasenose College, near the Radcliffe Camera, serves as Lonsdale.
- In Episode 1 of Series 1 ("Girl"), Morse mentions 'DI Hillian from Robbery' to another character. This is a reference to Charlie Hillian, the distinguished retired senior officer murdered just prior to publishing his memoirs in Morse Episode 1 of Series 5 ("Second Time Around").
- The character Police Constable Jim Strange played by Sean Rigby in Endeavour appears as Chief Superintendent Strange played by James Grout in the Inspector Morse series.
- In Episode 4 of Series 1 ("Home"), Morse receives a leg injury when shot by a female character during the denouement. While having the wound treated he's told that he may experience a slight intermittent limp when he gets older thus explaining John Thaw's limp as Inspector Morse.
- As Morse and Thursday wait for the trap to close upon them near the end of "Neverland," and their possible deaths, Morse quotes from A.E. Housman's poem, "May": "Past touch and sight and sound / Not further to be found,/ How hopeless under ground / Falls the remorseful day." The final episode of Morse, of course, is titled "The Remorseful Day."
- In Neverland, the young Morse is recommended by his boss to seek out 'Inspector McNutt' as a possible replacement for him when he retires. McNutt features in the Morse episode Masonic Mysteries, when he is murdered by dangerous conman Hugo de Vries.
- In Episode 1 of Series 2 ("Trove"), Oxford Don Matthew Copley-Barnes appears, and references are made to his daughter Imogen and her friend Sylvie. These characters form the core of Morse Episode 1 of Series 4 ("The Infernal Serpent").
- Also in Episode 1 ("Trove"), one of the judges of the poolside beauty contest is "racing driver, Danny Griffin", the late husband, brother and father of protagonists in Lewis episode 1 / Pilot ("Reputation"), who has since been killed in a car accident.
- In the first episode, "Ride", Endeavour's friend is Anthony Donn from the Morse episode "Deceived by Flight". Morse and Anthony Donn lived together in college and shared a flat in St John's Wood. Bruce Belborough calls Endeavour Pagan referencing "Deceived by Flight" where we first found out Morse was called Pagan by Roland Marshall. There is also a brief reference to Julius Hanbury, a murder victim in "Ghost in the Machine."
- In the second episode, "Arcadia", a character is described as having had his daily pint of Radford's. The Radford Brewery was at the centre of the mystery in "Sins of the Fathers."
- In the third episode, "Prey", the young gardener at the Mortmaigne estate is Philip Hathaway, who will become the father of James Hathaway, Lewis' partner. Hathaway himself returned to the Mortmaigne estate, where he grew up, in the Lewis episode "The Dead of Winter".
- The fourth episode, "Coda", portrays the bank robbery that set up the Inspector Morse episode "Promised Land". It also features Jerome Hogg in a small role; Hogg was also seen in the Morse episode "Greeks Bearing Gifts".
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In Endeavour he starts out being entirely abstinent, but he develops a taste after being given a pint by Inspector Thursday. It's implied that the reason for his sobriety is his disinclination to turn out like his father. Later he claims he 'thinks better' over a pint.
- Paton, Maureen (12 April 2013). "Roger Allam is the seasoned old copper who takes Morse under his wing". Daily Mail. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
Thursday also turns out to be responsible for introducing Endeavour to what became Morse's trademark ale habit in order to steady the young detective's nerves after he's seen his first body in the morgue.
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- Holloway, Katie (10 January 2016). "Endeavour: what can we expect from the last 3 episodes?". TVGuide.co.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Sandalls, Katy (7 April 2014). "TV Review: Endeavour Series 2 Episode 2". Nouse. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- "Lewis: Reputation". IMDb. 2006. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
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