First broadcast in 1987, the Inspector Morse series is a crime drama based on the Colin Dexter novels of the same name. The show is based around the exciting exploits of Chief Inspector Morse (John Thaw), a senior officer within the Criminal Investigation Department of the Oxford Police, as he investigates heavy crimes in and around Oxford with his sidekick, Detective Sergeant Lewis (Kevin Whately). Morse is a grumpy classical music aficionado who loves beer, and who frequently loses patience with the earnest, but somewhat slow, Lewis.Written by
The opening notes of the theme music are based on the word "Morse" in Morse code, altered for musical purposes. The same notes are also included at the end and in places within the theme music. In the 1995 documentary "The Mystery of Morse: The Making of Morse", the composer stated that the theme sometimes spells the name of the murderer, a cryptic version of the name, or, as a red herring, an innocent character. However, there is nothing documented on the Internet for any specific name or episode. Morse code experts say that, aside from the code for "Morse", any other Morse code-like notes in the theme are complete gibberish, probably because the code was modified greatly for musical purposes. See more »
Based on average crime novels by Colin Dexter, this is truly one of the times that the television version actually surpasses the novels in quality and makes the stories come alive and touch the heart and the mind. What makes this series so compelling, like the Duchess of Duke Street, Rumpole and Foyle's War, is the main character and the actor who created this marvelous,complex and compelling character. John Thaw and the producers/writers who worked with him made this a timeless series in the only way possible: make the lead character charismatic and intriguing (and extraordinarily well acted). It is virtually impossible for a series to last beyond several episodes based only on plots (I know, many will argue with this, but I stand my ground). The series has to be character driven to maintain its brilliance, episode after episode--in this case 33 episodes. That is not to say that the plots are unimportant, but only that they are clearly secondary to Morse and his relationships with those around him--especially his sergeant and his superior. But most important are his relationship with life and his values and the way he chooses to live his life; these are especially enthralling for a t.v. series (or movie or play or novel for that matter). I highly recommend this show--even for those not normally inclined to watch mysteries. This transcends the genre spectacularly. By the way, I greatly enjoy the Midsomer Murder series, but they are merely entertaining. The Morse episodes not only entertain, but can considered to be art.
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