John Thaw played the beloved character Inspector Morse for more years than I care to remember. Then Colin Dexter, the author, decided to kill him off in his final book, The Remorseful Day. The television show followed suit. Now ITV had a hole in their TV schedule where “Morse“ used to be.
In an attempt to fill that hole, ITV created “Lewis”, letting Morse’s former Sergeant take over doing essentially the same things, but, unfortunately, without Morse, who was the heart of the show. And then the prospect of competition with reruns of the original show made this sequel awkward at best.
I won’t say it was a desperation move, because in some ways it was inspired, but ITV hit on the idea of a prequel. In it, we would be able to see where all of Morse’s idiosyncrasies come from, including his shy ways with women. Shaun Evans, who plays the young Morse, has just the right balance of youthful enthusiasm and puzzle-solving skills to demonstrate how Thaw’s Morse became the old detective that he was.
It also allows us to see the Oxford City Police before it was combined with Oxfordshire County Police to become the Thames Valley Police that we know and love today.
In my opinion, I loved revisiting a time in England where there were changes happening almost every day, when the old ways were giving way to new methods, when the old soldiers were letting the young lions roar for a time. These were the years of my late teens, and they were the most formative of my life.
We should ‘endeavour’ to hold on to them…