Following on from the excellent pilot episode last year, Endeavour returns to ITV for a series of three stories. Presumably the intention is to fill the lack of Oxford-based detectives now that Lewis has finished. So we have the return of Shaun Evans as the young Detective Constable Endeavour Morse finding his feet in Oxford CID.
A young woman has died from a heart complaint – natural causes, everyone presumes. Every one apart from Morse of course. But with Post Office raids and gas meter conmen on the loose, there is plenty more that he ought to be looking into. But when the partner of the woman’s doctor is found in his car with a bullet inside him, things start to escalate. Unfortunately, the new head of CID has his eye on Morse, who has been given responsibilities above his rank. One wrong move, and he’ll be back in the ranks. And of course, wrong moves are Morse’s speciality…
Casting, first of all. Shaun Evans again excels with his interpretation of Morse – as I said last time, less an impression, more an interpretation. The ever-wonderful Roger Allam does a wonderful job as Morse’s immediate boss (interesting choice to make him a very competent officer – it must have been tempting given Morse’s starring role to make DI Thursday reliant on his deductions, but that’s certainly not the case) and James Bradshaw and Sean Rigby do excellent jobs of channelling two regulars from the John Thaw series. Anton Lesser’s Chief Superintendent Bright does seem to be a bit of a caricature but that’s a dramatic necessity to make life difficult for our hero.
So the strong cast ensure that this is an entertaining two hours of television. But what about the substance? As I suggested beforehand, the final years of Morse, for me, were somewhat self-indulgent, where plot was sacrificed for character “development”. Lewis was a breath of fresh air – the mystery came first, although clues were often thin on the ground, and at times, sections of the plot that were ultimately irrelevant to the main plot tended to vanish into thin air rather than being resolved.
Here, I am delighted to say, we have the best of all worlds. A genuinely clued, complex mystery, complete with plenty of misdirections and red herrings and, at the end of the day, a plot that made sense, while dealing , without preaching, with some serious emotional issues.
I won’t say more about the plot – I’d just heartily recommend that you watch this. One of the best pieces of television that I’ve seen for a while – and when the theme music kicks in at the end…