Endeavour Morse series 4 commissioned

News reaches Fedora that a fourth series of Endeavor will go in to production later this Spring. The prequel to Inspector Morse starring Shaun Evans will be set in 1967 (as was series 3) and will again be written entirely by Russell Lewis, who devised the series (based of course on both the original novels by Colin Dexter’s as well as the earlier TV show too). How did the third series fare in comparison with the previous ones?

Series 3 saw a number of important cast/role changes, most notably the departure of Jack Laskey as DS Peter Jakes in episode 2 (which led to him being made more sympathetic, which I was not all that convinced by) and, at the end of the series, of both of the Thursday children, Jack Bannon’s Sam (off to the Army) and Sara Vickers’ Joan (whose exit was much more dramatic as Morse realised just how much she ,meant to him)  This series also saw the promotion of Sean Rigby’s Jim Strange to Detective Sergeant, who proved to be highly skilled at ‘playing the game’ and the deepening of Anton Lesser’s Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright, which was also definitely a good move.

James Bradshaw also returned as Dr Max DeBryn and Abigail Thaw as journalist Dorothea Frazil, though I felt not enough was done with them this time round. Most disappointing to me was the lack of presence afforded to Shvorne Marks as nurse Monica Hicks – she appeared in two of the episodes but no reference was really made to what happened to the romance between her and Morse in the previous series – why have her in it at all? If she returns (and I hope she does), I hope they make much more of this.


Otherwise the most noticeable addition to the cast was Dakota Blue Richards’ ultra smart and efficient WPC Shirley Trewlove, who is an awful lot like the Rachel Coles character played by Lisa McGrillis and introduced in the last two series of Inspector George Gently – I really hope they find her more things to do.

The latest series of 4 feature-length episodes was, by design, a real mixed bag tonally. The opening episode was a slightly bizarre mixture of The Great Gatsby and the The Conjuring, but worked quite well none the less, if you accept the oddness of the premise. The second episode was a bit of a mish-mash involving a supermarket chain, murder, kidnapping and a commune full of unresolved elements but worked best in its farewell to Jakes. The third story, slotting Strange into Jakes’ place, with Morse very much the junior member of the team, however was a ludicrous farrago. A bizarre mishmash of Peter Benchley’s Jaws, the Michael Douglas safari adventure The Ghost and the Darkness and Cornell Woolrich’s Black Alibi (by way of its film adaptation, The Leopard Man) that, with its extended climax, in which Morse and co are chased around a maze by a man-eating predator, can be said to have come perilously close to (ahem) jumping the tiger shark.

The finale, which had nice links to the classic Morse episode Promised Land, was much more satisfying and saw the show closing on a (comparative) high, with the issues surrounding the increasingly important Thursday family brought pleasingly to the fore. Overall, I wish this series had had more intellectual ballast as our hero was often just left to stand around in isolation and not really put his exceptional brain to work and did feel that it was mostly a step down from the previous editions of the show. Let’s hope it all improves next year!

For a highly amusing take on the first episode of this series, see what the Puzzle Doctor had to say over at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel.


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18 Responses to Endeavour Morse series 4 commissioned

  1. Colin says:

    Never seen this show – seems like a bit of a mixed bag.

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    Good to hear there’s to be a new series, Sergio. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mike says:

    I haven’t seen it. The crime connoisseur in this house is Mrs Mike and she’s a fan of ENDEAVOUR, as she was of MORSE (I watched a couple of episodes with her, and liked it well enough). I told her your news and her response was ‘Ah, brilliant!’ so there’s one happy customer 🙂 It does look as though Shaun Evans has come quite a long way since he was the gay Scouse teacher in Channel 4’s TEACHERS, before it went into a tailspin of quality.

  4. vicky blake says:

    I loved the original series. I was brought up in Oxford and so know the city very well. Maybe too well because there were occasional outbursts of laughter in my family when Morse’s beautiful car went down one road and then appeared coming out of another which made no sense at all!

  5. MarinaSofia says:

    Like you, I was not so much a fan of Lewis, a great fan of Morse, and initially quite taken with Endeavour, but I really feel the third series was a very mixed bag, quite disappointing.

  6. tracybham says:

    I haven’t tried this series. We have so much of a backlog of series TV on DVD and Blu-ray, can’t add anymore right now. Maybe someday. I do get irritated when characters are introduced and then disappear without explanation, but that happens in many series.

  7. John says:

    I really enjoyed the episodes of ENDEAVOUR. I thought many of the mystery plots were very well done and in keeping with the puzzling, sometimes bizarre, nature of the original books. I particularly liked watching the developing relationship between Morse and his nurse neighbor. A shame to read they just abandoned that part of the series. The third season has not aired in the US yet, but no surprise because after a bit of Googling I just learned that it only finished over there. I wonder if we will see it here next year? No word on any of the TV websites dealing with PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery! which is where Endeavor 1 and 2 were shown fairly quickly after they aired in the UK.

    Slightly related: We’re getting the second bunch of Grantchester episodes in March and April which I’m looking forward to. I intensely disliked the original stories and couldnt’ finish the book I picked up from our library. The two stories I read were humorless, tritely plotted and filled with dull theological lecturing. But I do like the TV series which is lively, warm, witty and unexpectedly poignant at times.

    • Thanks John. Looks like you are getting the GRANTCHESTER much sooner as it only starts here next week – I think ENDEAVOUR will be on pretty soon as the new series is a US co-production still.

  8. John says:

    Managed to find the first episode “Ride” of Endeavour 3 (you know where…uh…don’t turn me in) and watched it last night. I figured out the twist based a single line of dialogue and the letter that Kay wrote. So proud of myself. But I failed to fill in the complete picture as it related to what happened to the magician’s disfigured deaf-mute assistant. You called “Ride “a brazen mixture of The Great Gatsby and The Conjuring“, (BTW, did you mean perhaps The Prestige about the magicians? The other movie is a haunted house/possession horror movie) The final twist may be more than a brazen borrowing. It may be thievery. Here’s something very intriguing I just learned today.

    After finishing a book by Boileau-Narcejac I started doing some research into their movie adaptations (for about the third time!) and I discovered that episode of “Endeavour” bares a uncanny similarity to a Boileau-Narcejac novel called Les Magiciennes (1957) made into a French film in 1960. The movie was released in the UK under the English title of DOUBLE DECEPTION. Do you know the movie? It deals with two daughters of a magician who perform in his act and the young man who falls in love with one of them. The surprise plot twist revealed in the ending of RIDE is the same to the last detail as the Boileau-Narcejac novel only with the genders reversed. Coincidence or not? You decide.

    • OK< have neither read that book or seen the movie, but I really want to now! And thank you, I of course meant THE PRESTIGE (as much the Priest novel and the much-changed movie).

  9. I have never seen this TV series either, Sergio, but your post is a reminder for me to read Colin Dexter’s novels and I have quite a few of them. In fact, it’s been a long while since I watched some good British television drama.

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