Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
4 user 1 critic

The Wench Is Dead 

While Morse is in hospital for a bleeding ulcer, he takes an interest in an 1859 murder and becomes convinced its resolution was a miscarriage of justice.



(novel), (screenplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Chief Inspector Morse
... Dr. Millicent 'Millie' Van Buren
... Chief Superintendent Strange
Louisa Lawrenson ... Nurse Hall
David Keyes ... Walter Towns (as David Keys)
Paul Mari ... Rory Jack Oldfield
... Adele Cecil
Alan Mason ... Mr. Greenaway
Aline Mowat ... Sister Nessie MacLean
... Nurse Fiona
... Mr. Benfield
Karen Staples ... Mona
Matthew Finney ... PC Adrian Kershaw
Jonathan Copestake ... Philip Tomes
Andrew Grubb ... Ward (as Andy Grubb)


Morse is taken seriously ill at a museum reception and is hospitalized. While there, he takes an interest in a 140 year-old case known as the Oxford Canal Murders. The case involved the murder and rape of young woman traveling by canal boat from Coventry to London. The case resulted in two men being hanged and Morse believes there was a miscarriage of justice. With Lewis away at the Inspectors course Supt. Strange, who has counseled Morse to take early retirement, assigns fast-track university graduate PC Adrian Kershaw to do some leg work for him. Morse determines that a fraud took place and that the victim may have been someone else altogether. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

11 November 1998 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Colin Dexter: In the very first scene at the lecture about the historical murder. See more »


[Sister Nessie interrupts Morse and Adele as they are talking. She needs to give Morse an injection]
Sister Nessie MacLean: I need his buttocks.
See more »


Clarinet Concerto in A Major
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1791)
Morse has it playing in his house
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User Reviews

Solid episode
27 October 2012 | by See all my reviews

This is a good, solid storyline. Morse is in hospital, reviewing a historical case while convalescing. In that respect it is very like the book Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey where her inspector (Inspector Grant) while in hospital, after falling through a roof, reviews the princes in the Tower deaths, allegedly killed on the orders of Richard III. Obviously this case is different, being one from 150 years earlier and from Morse's Oxford but the similarities are great. The story is told as Morse in hospital and flashbacks to the original trial. Wonderful story all the same and some excellent performances especially from the supporting cast who often get overlooked by critics praising the leading actors.

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