Morse's police work and love of music come together as he investigates the murder of a journalist who was writing about college benefactor Andrew Baydon, and is witness when opera singer Gwladys Probert is shot while standing next to Baydon at the annual procession. Written by
Morse was a Platonist after all... and it's no wonder!
This may not be the best Morse but it is not a bad introduction to the series. Of course, only fans would understand why for instance Morse is so put off after Gwladys Probert's death. Or Lord Hinksey's constant politically incorrect and very haughty British remarks. Let alone Oxford mores, like their constant fastidiousness (like "at the library" all the time), how they look down on everybody, and their prim & proper attitude: witness Lady Hinksey's face of disgust when "Pierre", the gay black hairdresser, sits next to her. By the way, there are 2 confirmed and 1 "suspected" gays at least here, making it one of the most "pink", episodes, and giving one of the best lines of Morse ever, the one when the dean speaks about his musical liking (Cole Porter), and what does it mean about his personality. The hypocrisy of mumbling one (true) answer, and the saying something totally opposite for keeping up appearances is what makes Morse be what it is.
The murder(s) are rather irrelevant, what matters in this case are the character descriptions, some funny scenes (yes, Lewis can be "attractive" to cultured Vavasseur :)) and Brigitte de Plessy's rather odd explanation on how sex life ruled the diva's frequent staff changes and relationship with her nice sister (all in all, a botched attempt in terms of plot, but interesting hypothesis anyway). For cinema buffs, Arabella Baydon was, yes, Rachel Weisz, looking incredibly young, and probably more beautiful than ever. Andrew Baydon's take on Oxford: "when will it modernize" and the answer it gets "Why should it?" are also part of the "jewels", like Gentile Bellocchio's short but expressive monologue on why, being a mediocre artist, he could be in help of a bigger Artist, and that was all there was for him.
Morse says near the end his "philosopical" credo: "Between Art and life, given people like Baydon, I choose Art". No wonder we witness him standing up and cheering for the diva, but following his police duties begrudgingly. But for when there's an opportunity for an ironic remark or a sneer. Or a beer :). One just can't say enough good things about John Gielgud.
I wonder how good would Morse be as an Art critic, if being a police inspector is definitely not what he likes best...
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