Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
5 user 1 critic

The Sins of the Fathers 

The managing director and heir apparent to a venerable family-owned brewery in dire financial straits is found drowned in a vat of his own ale.




On Disc

at Amazon



Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Andy Bradford ...
Trevor Radford
Trevor Martin ...
Alan Sowden
Paul Mooney ...
Norman Weeks
Kamilla Blanche ...
Jean Ainslie ...
Cleaning Lady
Helen Radford
Noel Johnson ...
Isobel Radford
Paul Shelley ...
Stephen Radford
Charles Radford
Victor Preece
Betty Marsden ...
Cynthia Preece


Trevor Radford, Managing Director of the family's Radford Breweries, is found murdered in the brewery. He had been working late one evening mounting a defense against an unwelcome takeover attempt from a rival brewery. There appears to be some disagreement in the family as to whether they should sell out. His brother Stephen, an entrepreneur in his own right, thought the time had come to rid themselves of a losing proposition but their father would like to maintain the family tradition that now spans 150 years. Morse and Lewis learn that Trevor's wife was having an affair with Stephen, so there is always the possibility that there this is a crime of passion rather than greed. They also learn of a long ago claim against the business' assets. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

10 January 1990 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Isabel Radford says "Must the evil that men do live on, or can it remain our secret?" she is alluding to Mark Anthony's funeral speech for Caesar in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar (Act 3 Scene 2): "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones." See more »


As an alibi one of the characters says he was working on The Flying Scotsman (a model of it on his railway) and trying to decide whether to take the train up the coastal route via West Hartlepool to Newcastle or stick with the inland route through Bishop Auckland. The inland route however does not go through Bishop Auckland, it (the main east coast line) goes via York through Darlington then to Durham to Newcastle. Bishop Auckland was/is simply a branch-line leading to the wear valley and east-gate quarry, Stanhope etc. and alternatively a branch-line also up to Barnard Castle, Brough etc but no line direct from Bishop Auckland to Newcastle that flying Scotsman could use. See more »


Detective Sergeant Lewis: You're not going to believe this, Sir - we have to visit a brewery!
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Crazy Credits

The episode credits erroneously state that the series is, "Based on the characters created by ALAN Dexter." The original books were written by COLIN Dexter. See more »


References David Copperfield (1935) See more »


La Traviata
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi (1853)
Record played at Radford pool, while Morse is changing a tire, and again at his home.
See more »

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User Reviews

Good plot, dreadful direction
22 September 2012 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Quite a decent episode as far as plot goes, and the acting is good as usual. The last screen appearance of the well known Isabel Dean, playing a suitably nasty matriarch, and a nice bit of work by the great Lionel Jeffries. Morse seems a bit unconnected in this one compared to his normal character.

The real problem with this one is as another reviewer has mentioned, the terrible direction. What is it with the continual close-ups, window, curtain, reflections, mirror and angled shots? After 20 minutes it becomes increasingly irritating, and it fails utterly as a mood setter. The frequent extreme facial closeups and the failure to do much in the line of locale setting is very distracting. I've seen a few Morse episodes with dreadful camera direction, but this is the worst by far. 1st year art school level.

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