The Inspector Morse series was the first British mystery series I watched. It was the series that addicted me to these great programs. Morse's assistant was Sergeant Lewis, a great character. I was very pleased to discover that a TV pilot starring Kevin Whately as Inspector Lewis was in the works. The show was going to be set at Oxford as was the Morse series. The university setting provides interesting story lines.
The pilot starts by bridging the gap between the past and the present. Morse is gone, Lewis' wife had been killed three years before in a hit and run accident. His children are grown. His son is living in Australia and his daughter is a nurse living in Manchester. Inspector Lewis is returning from an assignment in the British Virgin Islands. It was an assignment he apparently took to escape the surroundings that reminded him of his wife's death. Inspector Lewis' career is not going anywhere. As you can see the writers have provided a rich backdrop.
Inspector Lewis is teamed up with Detective Sergeant James Hathaway. Hathaway is a Cambridge graduate. Since most of the crimes are set in the area surrounding Oxford, DS Hathaway's university experience is of great help to DI Lewis who is not a university man.
Pilot - 2006
An American student at Oxford is found shot to death in a sleep study lab. The security video and the door code entry log make a fellow student and friend of the female victim the prime suspect. The prime suspect is a mathematics student who has become emotional disturbed since the death of his father. In addition to his father's death who he blames on this uncle, he is upset because he believes his mother is having an affair with this same uncle. During the course of the investigation, it is as discovered that the victim was not only brilliant but a bit promiscuous. There are many twists and turns in this mystery.
1st Season - 2007
"Whom the Gods Destroy"
DI Lewis and DS Hathaway are sent to investigate the murder of an artist. He was beaten to death. During the investigation, Lewis discovers that when the victim was a student at Oxford he belonged to group of four young men who called themselves "The Sons of the Twice Born". When DI Lewis interviews these men, it is apparent they are hiding something. He is certain that whatever happen in the past is related to the recent murder.
"Old School Ties"
A notorious criminal comes to Oxford to promote his recent book. It is a book about the crimes he committed that he wrote while in prison. His agent has asked for police protection since the author has made many enemies in his lifetime. The author is met by a group of four students who had asked him to come to Oxford. Soon after his arrival one of the students is murdered. In his investigation, Lewis is surprised to meet one of his first girlfriends.
A woman is found hanged in her home having apparently committed suicide. The medical examiner rules the death a suicide, but DI Lewis is not convinced. He begins an investigation which his boss believes is a waste of resources. The victim and her husband had an unusually close relationship with another couple. When the case is reviewed by the chief medical examiner the cause of death is changed to murder, DI Lewis is convinced that the motive and killer can be found by finding out what secret these two couples share.
2nd Season - 2008
"And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea"
A man is found shot to death in the library at Oxford. During the investigation, it is discovered that the man is a habitual gambler heavily in debt. Valuable first additions of the work of famous poets are found at the man's home. Why would he have these books? Several days later a popular art student is found murdered. Is there a connection? DI Lewis' investigation involves several interesting characters.
"Music to Die For"
A history professor who specialized in recent German history is found dead. His best friend who is the son of a man who died while in the custody of the East German secret police before the fall of the Berlin wall, found the body. At first it appears that burglaries may have killed the man but the murder weapon leads DI Lewis down a different path.
" Life Born of Fire"
A young man is killed in a church. His death is followed by several others. DI Lewis discovers that a disbanded church group is the common thread between the victims. The investigation strains the relationship between Lewis and Sergeant Hathaway because Hathaway appears not to be sharing everything he knows about the case.
"The Great and the Good"
DI Lewis and Sgt. Hathaway are called in to investigate when a teenage girl is drugged and raped. DI Lewis becomes suspicious when several influential people provide an alibi for the suspect. He is puzzled how the suspect came to be included in this elite social circle.
3rd Season - 2009
"Allegory of Love"
A young woman is found dead. Her murder was exceptional gruesome. The investigation leads Lewis and Hathaway into the realm of fantasy worlds and the followers of the works of C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) and J. R. R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings).
"The Quality of Mercy"
A young actor is murdered during a performance of "The Merchant of Venice". The investigation uncovers very complex relationships among the members of the theatrical group: sex, envy, jealousy. Also during a side investigation, Hathaway solves one of the mysteries in DI Lewis' life.
"The Point of Vanishing"
A man is found brutally beaten and drowned in his bathroom. He is identified as a man who served time in prison for attempting to kill a local prominent atheist. His past attack seriously injured the atheist's daughter. During the investigation, Lewis and Hathaway discover that the dead man also was having an affair with a local woman with a very jealous husband. Lewis needs to identify the killer among numerous suspects.
"Counter Culture Blues"
The mangled body of a teenaged boy is found. Lewis' investigation leads him to believe the boy was killed at the gate of a local mansion owned by an aging rock star. A rock star that Lewis idolized as a youth. Before the body was discovered, Lewis recently visited the home in response to a neighbor's complaint. To his astonishment he found that the lead female singer of the 1960s band had recent reappeared and was staying with her old band mates. The woman was suppose to have committed suicide decades ago. Now with the death of the boy and the reappearance of this ghost from the past, Lewis struggles to discover how and if this is all related.
4th Season - 2009
"The Dead of Winter"
A professor is found dead on a bus. He was killed by a blow to the head. The investigation leads Lewis and Hathaway to a country estate. It is the estate Hathaway grow up on as a boy when his father was the grounds keeper there. His loyalty to the Lord of the Manor and his family affects his judgment during the investigation.
" Dark Matter"
An amateur astronomer and headmaster at at one of the colleges is found dead in the observatory. At first it looks like an accident, but the medical examiner declares it a homicide. The investigation uncovers many secrets and complex relationships between staff, professors and students. When a second murder occurs, Lewis is tasked to determine how and if the crimes are related.
" Your Sudden Death Question"
A man who organizes quiz contests comes to Oxford. It is like a retreat for quiz enthusiasts. Room and board is provided. There is a cash prize. He encourages singles to sign up to make it a more interesting social event. In this group is a very intelligent, loud, arrogant, flirty contestant. When a crime is committed involving this contestant even before the competition begins, Lewis and Hathaway are called in to investigate. It is discovered some of the contestants have crossed paths before.
Dr. Laura Hobson, the medical examiner, is looking forward to a reunion with the two woman she was closest to in college. On the night they were to meet, one of them is murdered. Lewis is called in to investigate. Shortly there after, a student is murdered in the house the three woman shared. Reluctantly, Lewis has to include Dr. Hobson as a suspect which strains their budding romantic relationship. It appears that Laura is holding back information about her past.
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Based on characters created by Colin Dexter