Masterpiece Mystery: Season 8, Episode 19

Inspector Morse I: The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (11 Feb. 1988)
"Mystery!" Inspector Morse I: The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (original title)

TV Episode  |  Mystery
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11 February 1988 (USA)  »

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Good plot, atmosphere - unconvincing hero poorly portrayed (interesting depiction of British hygiene--or lack thereof)
1 December 2011 | by (Austria) – See all my reviews

There are twists and turns to the plot that will keep mystery fans entertained, and the atmosphere of the Oxford college world seems well done; however, there are a number of problems: 1) The main character is quirky but two-dimensional and unconvincing (he drinks and obsesses over classical music and crossword puzzles; that's about it); 2) John Thaw is not enough of an actor to breath life into this shallow character and give him some kind of substance, center or believability; 3) The writing, direction and editing combine to produce a choppy, disjointed effect that gets in the way of the story and is very distracting (starting with the opening credits). But Morse is also a time, place and culture capsule, and it's amusing to see the inspector going to great lengths and enduring considerable discomfort to avoid soap and water: he is shown kneeling on his hard bathroom floor, bent over the bathtub, attempting to wash his hair without getting wet, rather than simply taking a shower!

With a better script and better directing and acting, Morse could have been a truly fine British TV mystery. As it is, it's barely average.

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