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Inspector Morse was the first British detective mystery series I watched. I was immediately hooked. Inspector Morse is a fifty something bachelor who likes a drink now and again. He loves his vintage Jaguar and classical music. Morse was educated at Oxford but did not get a degree. He is a little bit awkward when it comes to women. Morse is a great detective.
The series is set in Oxford which provides for some unique settings and story lines. The viewer gains insight into the inter workings and politics of the university. As with many British stories, issues of class and privilege impact character behavior which I find fascinating. I suggest you save "The Remorseful Day" until last. Morse is played by John Thaw.
As a side note, many people want to know the type of car Inspector Morse drives. It is a 1959 Jaguar Mark II.
1st Series 1987
"The Dead of Jericho"
A friend of Morse's is found hanging in her home in the Jericho quarter of the town. It appears to be a suicide but Morse has his own reasons for believing it to be murder.
"The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn"
Someone is selling the secrets of Oxford University's examination-setting syndicate. A hard-of-hearing new member of the exam board is then found dead at his home poisoned by cyanide after he finds out something he should not know when he overhears a conversation. During the investigation, Morse is repeatedly drawn to a woman who he fears may be mixed up in it all.
"Service of All the Dead"
Helped by the church cleaner, Inspector Morse investigates five ruthless and gruesome killings in and around a quiet country church. The church warden is murdered during a service. Morse discovers that a tramp who was thought to be the vicar's brother was seen in the vicinity and has now disappeared. When Morse comes to the church to question the vicar, he throws himself off the tower. The killings continue.
2nd Series 1988
"The Wolvercote Tongue"
When a wealthy American tourist is found dead in her hotel apparently from a heart attack, Morse suspects that it was not that simple. She was due to return a valuable archaeological piece to an Oxford museum and it is missing. The most obvious suspect suddenly disappears and then one of the tourist party's lecturers turns up in the River Cherwell.
"Last Seen Wearing"
Inspector Morse returns when a schoolgirl from a wealthy family is missing. Morse is convinced she has been murdered and his investigations reveal that there is more going on at her exclusive school than meets the eye. But before he has unravelled the mystery, he finds another murder on his hands.
"The Settling of the Sun"
Morse is back at his Alma Mater when he is invited to present the trophy to the winner of a crosswood competition at Oxford when a Japanese student on a summer course is discovered brutally murdered in what appears to be a ritual killing. Morse realizes that he has unwittingly provided all his murder suspects with a watertight alibi sice they were all at a dinner he was attending. He suspects he has been set up. Investigations reveal that more than one of the college staff have reasons to be anti-Japanese, and that the drugs squad had been watching the man.
"Last Bus to Woodstock"
When Morse investigates the death of a young secretary, he suspects it was murder and uncovers a complex web of relationships, passion and corruption. The lies and unhappiness of the people Morse questions confirm his belief that the bachelor life is not so bad.
3rd Series 1989
"Ghost in the Machine"
Valuable paintings are stolen from the estate of Sir Julius Hanbury and then Sir Julius himself disappears. When Morse discovers his body, it at first looks like murder but then the new pathologist suggests it may have been suicide. Then there is a real murder. Morse is called upon to investigate the minds and morals of the aristocracy to solve the mystery.
"The Last Enemy"
Morse is back at his Alma Mater when a body is found in a canal and the evidence points to a connection with one of the colleges at Oxford. It happens that intense rivalry for one of the most prestigious posts in the university has led to murder.
"Deceived by Flight"
Sergeant Lewis gets to display his cricketing skills as a sub with the Clarets XI old boys' team when they gather for their annual match at Oxford, but Morse is called in when one of the team is murdered.
"The Secret of Bay 5B"
Playboy Michael Gifford has been found strangled in his car and the only clues to the murder are his diary and a car park ticket. The list of suspects grows as Morse uncovers a love triangle involving the dead man who had had a number of lovers but became very possessive and threatening when they tried to break off their relationships.
4th Series 1990
"The Infernal Serpent"
Morse and Lewis have to tackle a particularly unsavory case involving child abuse. Their inquiries into the murder of an eminent environmentalist, killed minutes before he was scheduled to give a controversial lecture, unearth skeletons in the cupboard of a respectable academic family.
"The Sins of the Fathers"
Called in to investigate the murder of the managing director at the family run Radford Brewery, Morse becomes immersed in the complex internal politics of the Radford family and the mystery surrounding a hostile take-over bid for the brewery by a conglomerate.
"Driven to Distraction"
The apparently motiveless murder of two young women points to a psychotic killer. Morse's speculations on what they might have in common leads him to a local garage owner who knew them both and who arouses his suspicions and dislike. Morse is also faced with the possible loss of his beloved red Mark 2 Jaguar.
Morse is top of the list of suspects when his lady friend is found murdered. Even the loyal Sergeant Lewis has to admit that all the clues point to Morse when the lady friend is stabbed at a dress rehearsal for the local drama society's production of the Magic Flute.
5th Series 1991
"Second Time Around"
The murder of an ex-Deputy Police Commissioner and the theft of a single chapter of his memoirs cause Morse concern. It soon becomes apparent that the missing chapter relates to a murder committed 18 years ago which was at the time investigated by the victim and Morse himself.
Morse finds himself attracted to a female cleric when he is called upon to investigate the suspicious death of a woman deacon while sitting an examination at Oxford. St Saviour's College is about to appoint Oxford's first ever female chaplain and emotions are running high among the more conservative clerics.
"Who Killed Harry Field?"
Harry Field was an artist, a raconteur, a drinker, and not averse to forging the odd painting. When he is mysteriously killed, Morse takes over the investigation and is plunged into the arty world of Harry's Bohemian friends.
"Greeks Bearing Gifts"
The Greek community in Oxford closes ranks when a Greek restaurant chef is found dead and a baby goes missing. Morse feels more at home with Oxford's other Greek connection - the classical scholars - and surprisingly discovers there could be a link between the two worlds.
"Promised Land", aka "Inspector Morse in Australia"
A member of an armed gang dies from AIDS in prison. Morse, whose friend was killed by the gang several years ago, must find the informant who provided the evidence which convicted them. The search takes them to Australia where the discover they are not the only ones on his trail.
6th Series 1992
"Dead on Time"
When an elderly Oxford don apparently commits suicide, Inspector Morse is called in and finds he has a personal involvement in the case. The wife of the dead man is the woman Morse was engaged to be married to years ago.
A business tycoon's wife and sons come under suspicion when he is found murdered in his country mansion. The the tycoon's family shows no sign of grief and the murder is attracting considerable public attention. Morse clashes with a new chief superintendent and is targeted by the tabloid press.
"The Death of the Self"
An English woman is attending an expensive psychotherapy course near Vicenza, Italy when she dies in a freak accident. The Italian verdict is accidental death but the woman's husband questions the decision. Morse and Lewis are sent to Italy where Morse discovers that the psychotherapy center is run by an old adversary.
Bailey, Thornton and Cryer were eighties entrepreneurs until it was found that they had stolen millions of pounds from their investors. All three are serving sentences in the same prison where Cryer is found dead in his cell. It looks like a heart attack but the pathologist's report quickly points to murder. Morse and Lewis go behind bars to investigate but must tread carefully with the prison governor.
"Cherubim and Seraphim"
Morse's step-niece commits suicide and he takes compassionate leave. He starts to research her past to find the reason for it, and this confronts him with the generation gap. His investigation into the young girl's death leads him into an alien world of teenage hedonism: house parties, raves and designer drugs.
7th Series 1993
The founder of a private hospital is found murdered in his car. Suspicion falls on a rich ex-bookmaker whose daughter developed severe brain damage during an operation at the hospital. Morse is quickly impressed by Srich man's devotion to his daughter and the two men find they have a mutual respect.
"The Day of the Devil"
A dangerous mental patient escapes from a high security hospital. A master of disguise, the escaped man sets up an elaborate and deadly battle of wits with Morse as the Oxford police engage in a man hunt. Morse quickly realizes that he is dealing with more than just a rapist on the run when signs of satanism appear in Oxfordshire.
"Twilight of the Gods"
An unpleasant business tycoon and a world-famous opera singer are invited to receive honorary degrees by Oxford University but the ceremony is halted when a sniper opens fire on the procession, and the singer is seriously wounded.
"The Way Through the Woods"
The Lovers Lane Killer is dead. The man accused of murdering five people has himself been killed in a prison fight before his trial. The body of the killer's fifth victim was never found. Although her bag was recovered at the bottom of the lake at Blenheim, Morse is convinced that her remains are in Wytham Woods. When a body is discovered at Blenheim, Morse is on the case.
"The Daughters of Cain"
Murder strikes at the heart of Oxford's academic world when Dr Felix McClure, a retired university professor, is found stabbed to death. Morse suspects the former custodian of McClure's room, Ted Brooks, who left his job abruptly after one of McClure's students committed suicide. The case heats up when Morse discovers that McClure, the suicidal student, and the student's roommate were all in love with the same woman who also happens to be Brooks's daughter.
"Death Is Now My Neighbour"
A young woman is fatally shot through her kitchen window at point blank range. With only a valentine from an unsigned lover to go on, Morse talks to the neighbors in the adjoining homes. Then at precisely the same time the next morning, one of the neighbors is shot and killed. Morse learns that the two murders are connected to a discreetly, but bitterly fought competition taking place at Oxford's Lonsdale College.
"The Wench Is Dead"
To pass the time while in the hospital, Morse reads a book by American criminal expert Dr Millie Van Buren on the Oxford Canal Murder of 1859, in which the corpse of a young woman was found floating in the canal. She was the apparent victim of four roughneck boatmen who were transporting her to London. The subsequent trial of three of the men resulted in the execution of two. Morse becomes convinced that the wrong men were convicted and enlists the help of the Thames Valley Police Department's newest recruit. They dust off the physical evidence from the crime stored in a nearby archive and subject it to some very modern forensics tests.
"The Remorseful Day"
Note: This episode must be viewed last
In this, the last Morse episode, an ailing Inspector Morse returns to work to investigate new evidence that has surfaced regarding the brutal murder of the agreeably flirtatious nurse who attended to him when he was in the hospital.
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