Set in the 1960s, the show follows Endeavour Morse in his early years as a police constable. Working alongside his senior partner DI Fred Thursday, Morse engages in a number of investigations around Oxford.
With the help of DS John Bacchus, Inspector George Gently spends his days bringing to justice members of the criminal underworld who are unfortunate enough to have the intrepid investigator assigned to their cases.
As WW2 rages around the world, DCS Foyle fights his own war on the home-front as he investigates crimes on the south coast of England. Later series sees the retired detective working as an MI5 agent operating in the aftermath of the war.
Series 1 follows the early police career of young Endeavour Morse, who upon leaving his Oxford College without a degree, spending time in the Royal Signal Corps., and eventually joining the Oxfordshire Police, is transferred to CID, attaining the rank of Detective Constable. Originally starting out his career at Carshall-Newtown Police, Morse transfers to the Oxford City Police in 1965 following a murder investigation during the pilot episode. While with the Oxford City Police, Morse is taken under the wing of veteran Detective Inspector Fred Thursday. Inspector Thursday names Morse his designated "bag man" and shows him the ropes as Morse begins to solve a string of complex murders, much to the envy and annoyance of some of his superiors, particularly Detective Sergeant Jakes and Chief Superintendent Bright. Thursday and Morse's fellow officer, Police Constable Strange, try to steer the young Endeavour into taking his Sergeant's exam, so that he may be relieved of "General Duties" ... Written by
The title of Endeavour: Pilot (2012) was revealed as "First Bus to Woodstock" by Damian Michael Barcroft in his website during an interview with actor Shaun Evans and another with writer Russell Lewis. This title references "Last Bus to Woodstock", which was the first Inspector Morse novel written by Colin Dexter published in 1975. See more »
A more than worthy, and almost as good, prequel series to Inspector Morse
Not just a more than worthy prequel series to one of my favourite detective dramas of all time and goes very well with it, but it is a great series on its own as well, one that got off to a good start, though some of the pilot and the first episode had a still-finding-its-feet-feel (understandably), and just keeps getting stronger. It maintains everything that makes Inspector Morse so good, while also containing enough to make it its own.
Endeavour looks great, the series throughout is exquisitely photographed and there is something very nostalgic and charming about the atmospherically evoked 1960s period detail. It was also a genius move to keep Barrington Pheloung on board, with his hauntingly beautiful scoring and immortal Inspector Morse theme, while the classical music and operatic excerpts are delightful to hear and fit perfectly (a notable example would be in the Fugue episode, the music having a beautiful and frightfully ominous effect).
The series is also every bit as intelligently written as Inspector Morse, it's every bit as entertaining and also every bit as tense. Not all the story lines are very original, but they are always incredibly gripping with the mysteries not being too complicated or the identities being too improbable or obvious, Morse and Thursday's father/son relationship has a lot of warmth, is so well written within the stories and is a large part of the series' appeal and there is some good suspense (chilling in fact in the case of Fugue). Pacing is restrained, but that allows the atmosphere to come through, and pretty much all the same it excels in that aspect. The characters are interesting, and are evolving more and more with every episode, Morse's familiar characteristics are becoming more obvious as the writing develops and Morse and Thursday's relationship more entertaining and heartfelt.
Shaun Evans does some powerful, charismatic work as younger Morse, and is getting more and more confident with every episode, showing enough loyalty to John Thaw's iconic Morse while making the character his own too. Roger Allam is also superb, his rapport with Evans always compels and entertains but Thursday is quite a sympathetic character, as well as loyal and firm, and Allam does a lot special with a role that could have been less interesting possibly in lesser hands. All the acting is very good, as is the controlled direction, but it's the performances of Evans and Allam that will always be remembered most vividly.
All in all, a more than worthy (if not quite as good, only because I love Inspector Morse with a passion) prequel series and also a great series on its own that keeps getting stronger. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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