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

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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?


Upon finding Trevor's body in the mash vat, Morse makes a remark about "Clarence". That's almost certainly an obscure reference to the middle brother of Edward IV and Richard III, Clarence. He was famously found dead, "drowned in a butt of Malmsey" as legend has it. Legend further has it that Richard killed him (or had him killed) to help pave the way for his ascent to the crown, once Edward died and after the Princes in the Tower were dispensed with. See more »


The radio announcer twice mispronounces the Oxford region of St. Aldates as St. Algates. See more »


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

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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