At any rate, Eichorn is an historian who has written a book on "The Canal Murder" of 1859, in which a woman was apparently raped, then thrown overboard and drowned in one of the many canals that served as transportation routes during the Victorian era. She visits Morse in the hospital and brings him a copy. When he reads it, he develops his own model of the crime and it contradicts hers. On his release he sets about trying to discover what actually happened. All the evidence supports his interpretation but the past is a blank wall and Morse is stymied.
There are multiple flashbacks to the Dickensian circumstances surrounding travel by barge, the cheapest way to go. The scenes must have added to the budget but it's hard to see how the episode could have been filmed without them. What a life they led. The often-referred-to "mist" was actually industrial smoke. The work week was seven days long, which prevented workers from attending church, which further devalued their status. A boy born in Coventry could expect to live less than 60 years. Some of this information more or less seeps out around the edges of the canal scenes but this isn't about the mudlarks of "Our Mutual Friend". Anyone interested in true crimes of this period should probably check out the superior "The Life And Crimes Of William Palmer," available on DVD.
Sergeant Lewis is away taking a course in Inspectorhood or something and his replacement, Kershaw, is something of a cutie pie. He's a graduate of Oxford and, like Morse, isn't afraid to show off. There's a nifty scene when he and Morse's girl friend, Judy Loe, are wheeling Morse out of the hospital. Morse comes up with a lengthy quote about how necessary it is for some people to learn social skills in the hospital. He asks Loe if she knows the quote. "I have no idea." Morse smiles with satisfaction. But then Kershaw announces that the quote is from Elizabeth Barret Browning and Morse's features assume their usual expressionless contours. Kershaw is okay but I do hope they bring Lewis back. Lewis has a neater face, and his defiant innocence is appealing. We have enough wise guys walking around.
Another grace note. Eichorn is bidding Morse good-bye at the railway station as Loe is approaching. Eichorn gives Morse a little smack on the cheek and steps aboard the train. Morse and Loe watch the cars depart and Morse, a little self conscious, mutters, "She's leaving, um, for America." "Good," says Loe with a sweet smile.
I'm beginning to like Morse's old Jaguar, a muted scarlet with a black top.