Henry Fallon, who is wheelchair bound and is suffering from a neurological disorder, apparently commits suicide and Morse has mixed feelings working on this case as he was once engaged to the dead man's wife, Susan Fallon. The body was found by his son-in-law Peter Rhodes, a local antiques dealer and the victim's wife was in London. When Fallon's doctor advises Morse that Henry didn't have the physical capability to hold a gun to his head, the police realize they may have a murder on their hands. When the police are told that the business arrangement between Fallon and Rhodes had fallen apart, they also have a suspect. Lewis is concerned that Morse is too close to Mrs. Fallon to be objective but in the end, the perpetrators are identified. Written by
A disabled man is found dead in his wheelchair, his head blown apart by the shotgun in his own hands. Looks like a suicide, but nothing is ever that simple in this series. Morse discovers that the man was incapable of handling the gun, so the notion arises that someone either helped him along in putting an end to his distress or possibly did it without his consent.
There's another sticky problem. Morse was once "engaged to be married" to the man's wife, a rather nice-looking blond. She at least seems not to have been involved because she was in London delivering a lecture on the afternoon of the death.
Morse suspects an antique dealer who found the body and notified the police and he hounds the poor guy mercilessly. Well, in fact, the man is guilty of some abhorrent act but not the crime now under investigation.
A lot hinges on the time line. Who was where at the time of the death? And the reckoning of those locations is complicated by the fact that the telephone was out during the afternoon in question. The crime seems impossible as it now stands. It sounds like Agatha Christie.
In this episode the only person to figure it all out is Sergeant Lewis. Morse can't bring himself even to consider the possibility that his erstwhile fiancée had anything to do with the shooting. As Lewis, Whately gets to give a thoughtful and sensitive dramatic performance for a change. Usually he's just Morse's non-U punching bag.
The character of Inspector Morse devolves into melodrama in this episode. Interrogating his favorite suspect after suffering a traumatic experience, Morse goes berserk, leaps on the man, and begins to strangle him. He's dragged away by Lewis and reprimanded by his superior.
I am plowing through these episodes one after another, and I sincerely hope this one doesn't adumbrate the introduction of more dramatic features of Morse's personal life. Honestly, I don't want Morse to start falling in love, or weeping over the abuse he suffered in childhood, or discovering that there is a God after all. Not an ordinary Christian God anyway. It might be interesting if he had a Road to Damascus experience and converted to Theravada Buddhism.
But, please folks, no more anguish, no murderous rages. Morse is already an unlikable character -- dour and snobby -- but is somewhat redeemed by his few human qualities. The last thing I want is Morse giving up his beer and becoming a vegetarian and a docile husband and loving father. Let us never see him squinting at Oxford and talking with a sneer about all those fatuous, effete, whining, egghead, cry babies and trust fund children who go there, or the supercilious, pompous, inflated, poufs who run the place. And I don't want to know any more about his private life or his past than I already do. Let him carry on as he is.
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