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Character Profile of the Month - November 2001

MORSE, Endeavor
(Inspector Morse)
c/o Oxford Police Department
Oxford, England

John Thaw as Inspector Morse
John Thaw as Inspector Morse

Morse is an Inspector for the Oxford Police [later promoted to Chief Inspector]. He is middle-aged, single, likes to listen to classical music ["I‘m a Wagner man"], solve the Times crossword puzzles, consume beer, and is vulnerable to a woman‘s charm. As for his investigative skills, they are top notch. Morse’s whole life revolves around 9 letters [D-E-T-E-C-T-I-V-E] but he gets queasy at the site of a dead body. 

Morse’s mother was a Quaker whom inspired in him an overwhelming sense of duty. His father [who left Morse at the age of 12] was obsessed with all things relating to explorer Captain Cook. Morse’s first name "Endeavor" is based on the name of Cook’s ship. 

A loner, Morse was often melancholy about life. He once said "I‘m old, unmarried and don‘t understand human nature." He has no friends because he is arrogant and can’t help but show off his superiority. He uses his murder investigations to keep his mind off of his own life. Despite his devotion to duty Morse espoused this simple rule "Morse’s Law...There’s always time for one more pint." Morse kept a picture of the woman he loved and lost between the pages of poems by A. E. Houseman, his favorite poet. 

Morse investigates crimes with detective Sergeant Robbie Lewis whom he envied for having a family and a sense of normalcy in his life. Both Morse and Lewis report to Chief superintendent Strange. During their investigations, Morse often uses the help of a pathologist. He has worked with Max, Dr. Grayling Russell and Dr. Laura Hobson. To get to the scene of the crime, Inspector Morse drives a red Mark II Jaguar automobile that sports disk wheels, a black vinyl top and a 2.4 litre manual transmission. Its license reads: 248 RPA. 

Morse's first case involved murder of his friend Anne Staveley, the victim of an apparent suicide who was found hanging in her home in the Jericho quarter of the town. Other cases followed drawing Morse and Lewis into the world of devil worship, rape, the stabbing death of a retired professor, and the murder of an Englishwoman abroad that took Morse & Lewis to the beautiful city of Verona in northern Italy. On occasion, the cases turned personal. Once, the chef at Lewis' favorite Greek restaurant was found murdered and another time the suicide of Morse's step-niece lead their investigation into a world of raves, wild house parties and designer drugs. And even though Morse insisted on being in control of his cases, his practical side allowed him to partner with his old rival Chief Inspector Dawson to solve the mysterious death of a former deputy police commissioner that linked with the unsolved murder of a girl 18 years earlier. 

When he fell ill, Morse reluctantly relinquished his hold on his cases to the Sergeant Lewis. But even though Lewis lead the investigations, that didn't preclude Morse from offering his council and advice to solve yet another murder with the help a young police recruit Adrian Kershaw. Soon after, however, Inspector Morse died of heart attack [two months shy of retirement]. His last words: "Thank Lewis for me." 

TRIVIA NOTE: The Inspector Morse series is based on the crime novels of Colin Dexter including The Daughters of Cain, The Dead of Jericho, Death is Now My Neighbour, The Jewel That Was Ours, Last Bus to Woodstock, Last Seen Wearing, The Riddle of the Third Mile, The Secret of Annex 3, Service of All the Dead, The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn, The Way Through the Woods, The Wench is Dead, The Ghost in the Machine, Driven to Distraction, Greeks Bearing Gifts, Masonic Mysteries, Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories, Second Time Around, Sins of the Fathers, and The Remorseful Day [in which Morse dies]. In the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock, Colin Dexter appeared in cameos in every episode of Inspector Morse either as a passerby or as an anonymous customer in one of the pubs that Morse frequented. The Inspector Morse series was produced by Central Television in the United Kingdom and aired on PBS stations nationwide in the United States. The finale episode for the series "The Remorseful Day" was aired in England on November 15, 2000 and later aired in America on February 22, 2001. Fans of the show will notice that an underlying melody in the series theme song contains the dot/dash tones of "morse code."     



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