Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
6 user 2 critic

Ghost in the Machine 

A vanished baronet and the theft of some of his collection of erotic art is investigated by Morse and Lewis.


Herbert Wise


Colin Dexter (idea), Julian Mitchell (screenplay)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately ... Detective Sergeant Lewis
Amanda Hillwood Amanda Hillwood ... Dr. Grayling Russell
Patricia Hodge ... Lady Hanbury
Clifford Rose ... Dr. Charles Hudson
Bernard Lloyd ... Professor Edward Ullman
Michael Godley Michael Godley ... Sir Julius Hanbury
Michael Thomas Michael Thomas ... John McKendrick
Patsy Byrne Patsy Byrne ... Mrs. Maltby
Irina Brook ... Michelle Réage
Lill Roughley Lill Roughley ... Betty Parker
Robert Oates Robert Oates ... Ted Parker
John Elmes John Elmes ... Roger Meadows
John Cater ... The Dean
Rainbow Dench Rainbow Dench ... Georgina Hanbury


The disappearance of Sir Julius Hanbury - and the theft of several of his erotic paintings - provide a new puzzle for Morse to solve. Assisted by DS Lewis, Morse interviews everyone at Hanbury House and it is in the course of searching the grounds that he finds Sir Julius' body, appropriately enough, in the family mausoleum. The pathologist notes that he was the victim of a frenzied attack but the lack of blood at scene leaves the police to conclude that he murdered elsewhere. Sir Julius was a candidate to become the Master of an Oxford college and was known to have a have had a bitter rivalry with another candidate for the position. When Roger Meadows, a friend of the Hanbury's au pair, is killed in a car accident, Morse concludes that that he too was murdered. Jealousy, revenge and greed all play part in the deaths. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

4 January 1989 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Morse says "Ego in Arcadia vixi" at the end, then loosely translates it to mean that even the Garden of Eden had its serpent. Literally, the phrase means 'I lived in Arcadia', where the 'I' (Ego) is interpreted to be the devil or some personification of evil. Arcadia is interpreted to refer to an idyllic setting in Greek and Roman mythology inhabited by mirthful, carefree gods and spirits, and often compared to a Garden of Eden, hence Morse's translation of the phrase. See more »


When Morse buys his second pint he receives a full glass. When the camera returns to Morse as he picks the glass up the level of beer has dropped an inch See more »


Detective Sergeant Lewis: [as Lady Hanbury and Dr. Russell leave separately] Lovely woman, that.
Chief Inspector Morse: That's not a woman, Lewis, that's a Lady.
Detective Sergeant Lewis: Dr. Russell, I mean.
See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful, one of my favourites!
2 July 2009 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The Ghost in The Machine is a beautifully constructed episode, and is up there with Morse's best. It is hugely advantaged by stunning scenery, that house especially was a revelation. There is also a lovely soundtrack, Puccini's Tosca in one scene was very powerful and later proves significant. The plot consists of an aristocrat going missing, as does his paintings. He is later found dead, but the question is did he commit suicide or was he murdered? The episodes also uncovers vulgar art, another murder, and pornography. Thaw and Whately are excellent, and Patricia Hodge was excellent as the wonderfully sophisticated and composed Lady Hanbury. Michael Thomas is very handsome as McKendrick, and I liked the lady who played the french maid Michelle. If I have one minor criticism, it would be I do kind of miss Peter Woodthorpe as Max, though Amanda Hillwood was lovely as Dr Russell. All in all, excellent. 10/10 Bethany Cox.

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