Inspector Morse: Season 11, Episode 1

The Wench Is Dead (11 Nov. 1998)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 211 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

While Morse is in hospital for a bleeding ulcer, he takes an interest in an 1859 murder and becomes convinced its resolution was a miscarriage of justice.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: The Wench Is Dead (11 Nov 1998)

The Wench Is Dead (11 Nov 1998) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Millicent 'Millie' Van Buren
James Grout ...
Louisa Lawrenson ...
Nurse Hall
David Keyes ...
Walter Towns (as David Keys)
Paul Mari ...
Rory Jack Oldfield
Alan Mason ...
Mr. Greenaway
Aline Mowat ...
Sister Nessie MacLean
Sara Carver ...
Nurse Fiona
Philip Quast ...
Mr. Benfield
Karen Staples ...
Matthew Finney ...
PC Adrian Kershaw
Jonathan Copestake ...
Philip Tomes
Andrew Grubb ...
Ward (as Andy Grubb)


Morse is taken seriously ill at a museum reception and is hospitalized. While there, he takes an interest in a 140 year-old case known as the Oxford Canal Murders. The case involved the murder and rape of young woman traveling by canal boat from Coventry to London. The case resulted in two men being hanged and Morse believes there was a miscarriage of justice. With Lewis away at the Inspectors course Supt. Strange, who has counseled Morse to take early retirement, assigns fast-track university graduate PC Adrian Kershaw to do some leg work for him. Morse determines that a fraud took place and that the victim may have been someone else altogether. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

11 November 1998 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(dvd release)


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Did You Know?


The title is from Christopher Marlowe's play, "The Jew of Malta," probably written in 1590. "Thou hast committed/ Fornication: but that was in another country,/ And besides, the wench is dead." See more »


In the scene with Dr. Hobson, Morse states that "...she drown in the Oxford canal in 1959." The year should have been 1859. See more »


Chief Inspector Morse: [to his doctor] To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
See more »


Clarinet Concerto in A Major
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1791)
Morse has it playing in his house
See more »

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User Reviews

Solid episode
27 October 2012 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

This is a good, solid storyline. Morse is in hospital, reviewing a historical case while convalescing. In that respect it is very like the book Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey where her inspector (Inspector Grant) while in hospital, after falling through a roof, reviews the princes in the Tower deaths, allegedly killed on the orders of Richard III. Obviously this case is different, being one from 150 years earlier and from Morse's Oxford but the similarities are great. The story is told as Morse in hospital and flashbacks to the original trial. Wonderful story all the same and some excellent performances especially from the supporting cast who often get overlooked by critics praising the leading actors.

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