Masterpiece Mystery Endeavor – PBS July 1, 2012 (Tonight)

I meant to write about this show when I found out about it, weeks ago. You know what they say about putting off until tomorrow…

Short notice, but tonight, on your local PBS stations, Masterpiece Mystery will be airing Endeavor. For those of you who are Inspector Morse fans, you will know that his first name, although highly guarded, was actually revealed as >>> you guessed it! >>> Endeavor. Morse’s mother had been a Quaker, and assigned this very big name to her little baby, something he never quite grew into. Thus, everyone called him Morse. (That was years ago, before it became commonplace for people to name their babies with such unusual names.)

This 1 1/2 hour Masterpiece Mystery episode stars Shaun Adams as Morse, the young version of the Morse many of us “knew” as John Thaw’s portrayal. Inspector Morse was an opera-loving,  Oxford-educated man, who enjoyed working the most difficult crossword puzzles while listening to the most beautiful classical music, sipping the finest liquor. (Oh, and he never met a beautiful woman he didn’t want to know better! Even though she might be a suspect in his current murder investigation…)

Yes, I guess I do sound like what I am: a Colin Dexter fan! Although he doesn’t write Cozy Mystery books, his Inspector Morse books are some of the very finest police procedural mystery books I have ever read. And, of course, I am like many  in that I have seen every one of the Inspector Morse television mystery shows, at least once.

So, go set up your mode of taping OR make sure you are sitting in front of your television tonight, with it set on your local PBS station’s channel, and get ready to be introduced to a young Endeavor Morse, before he owned his beloved red Jaguar.

PS >>> Watch for John Thaw’s daughter – Abigail – playing the part of a very busy newspaper editor. The editor is being questioned by Endeavor, while she is trying to get work done at her desk. She asks his name, hears it, and finally looks up to see him and ask him if they have ever met. He says no, to which she replies “Another life then.”


  1. says

    Thank you, Danna! I’ve been renting Morse and watching on DVD, and I like Inspector Lewis too although it’s not quite the same as the original. Didn’t know about this new series, hope it will be good!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Donna, I don’t know when (and if!) they will be deciding to make this into an Endeavor series. Here’s hoping!

  2. Paul says

    Unfortunately, so far, this is just a pilot. I loved it when it was shown here in the UK. Rumours are a series has been commissioned.

  3. Nancy says

    It was very well done and the actor captured some of the gestures and style that we have come to recognize as Morsian (Thavian?)

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Nancy, it’s good to hear that the new actor was able to develop the “Morsian/Thavian” style!

  4. Eva says

    Danna, I’ve been waiting for this prequel to Morse for a long time. I didn’t know it was today. Luckily, I turned on my computer and saw your email. I already missed the first airing, and the second one is at 3 am, so I’ll be waiting for that.

    I really miss all the mysteries, and PBS doesn’t really show much of them anymore ( not that I am aware of). I know that they showed Series 2 of the modern Sherlock, but I didn’t watch a single episode. I can’t really get into it. I think the series is geared for the young people; they seem to be fascinated by the use of the modern technology in the series.

    I get upset whenever I remember that we used to have the A&E and the BBC, and how they showed good quality mystery movies. Now, all they show are low-quality shows, and some of them are numbingly stupid. There must be thousands of people who are mystery fans, and for a while now, I’ve been hoping that a cable channel will pick it up. We haven’t even heard of the Midsomer Murder, anymore. I thought there would be a new production, but I don’t know what happened to that.

    Anyway, I actually stopped watching television for a while now, that is probably why I didn’t know about the new series, so thanks for reminding us.


    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Eva, I totally forgot that Endeavor was on until yesterday morning, otherwise I would have posted an entry at least two days before.

      I agree that PBS, A & E, and BBC(America) used to so much different. I can remember when Mystery! and Masterpiece Theatre were actually on during the same weeks… back when Vincent Price and then Diana Rigg hosted the shows.

  5. Kath says

    Oh, I get the email in the morning about blog updates and missed this again :/ I will have to check and see if they have it online.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      I am so sorry, Kath, for not posting about this show two days before it aired. I hope your PBS station re-airs it this week. (Our PBS local station shows Masterpiece on Sunday night, then again on Tuesday morning, and Thursday morning.) I read about the show a while ago, and then totally forgot about it until the morning it was airing.

      Here’s a heads-up: Inspector Lewis will be start airing this Sunday.

    • Deb says

      Same thing happened to me. Our internet has been unreliable so I missed seeing it when you first posted it. Maybe they’ll have it on again someday….

      • Danna - cozy mystery list says

        Heads-up, Deb, about this Sunday night on PBS: Inspector Lewis is back – all new episodes!

  6. says

    I watched it – loved it. The last bit at the end when young Morse looks in the rear view mirror was a catch in the throat moment. I hope there are more!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Susan, the four of us couldn’t get together to watch Endeavor yet, so I am still really looking forward to watching it (hopefully) soon.

      • Danna - cozy mystery list says

        Susan & Paul D, we watched Endeavor this past weekend. I thought Shaun Adams did a phenomenal job bringing many of John Thaw’s mannerisms back to us. You’re both right about that scene. >>> It took me back many years, and was a very effective way to get us all to pay homage to someone who brought a lot of enjoyment into our lives.

  7. says

    “Endeavour” was excellent! I’m so glad that it wasn’t a disappointment, although I wish the young Morse had the same kind of icy blue eyes as the original. Other than that, he did a good job of capturing the character as a young man, not quite as cynical and detached as Morse would later become. Does anyone know if Colin Dexter is still living and if so, did he make an appearance in this episode? He did walk-on parts in all of the first Morse episodes.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Donna, Colin Dexter is indeed still writing books, and yes, he did make a walk-on (à la Alfred Hitchcock) in Endeavor. (Apparently his cameo appearance is when Morse’s boss is talking him into drinking a beer, since young Morse doesn’t drink ale.)

      • says

        Thanks for the bottoms up – er, heads up on that appearance! I’ll look for Colin on the rerun, which should air tomorrow on the local station.

        • Danna - cozy mystery list says

          Donna, I still haven’t been able to get all four of us together long enough to watch Endeavor. (As I am really looking forward to watching it, I think I might just watch it on my own, and then watch it with my family.)

          • says

            I saw him! I saw him! :-) Colin Dexter is the white-haired gent reading a newspaper just before Morse says, “I don’t drink.” If you blink you will miss him! BTW, it seems that there are a lot of Mystery fans here, maybe someone can answer this question too. When the credits for the techs roll at the end of Masterpiece/Mystery, a red letter appears among the names, and all the red letters together spell something! This has only happened over the past couple of years, and I wonder if there is an interesting story behind it? Just curious.

            • Danna - cozy mystery list says

              Donna, thanks for letting us know when to look… without blinking!

              I just looked on Wikipedia, and someone posted the following:

              “Red letters highlighted in names in the closing credits spell out “Lonsdale”, Morse’s (fictional) college. As in the original series and Lewis, Brasenose College, near the Radcliffe Camera, serves as Lonsdale.”

              • says

                Thanks, Danna! The credits roll so fast that I usually pick out a few letters and figure out the rest, but this week’s episode had me stumped.

  8. Diana says

    It was a very good program and being a fan of “Morse” I was happy to see this prequel. Morse, to my recollection, only once in the Colin Dexter books said what his first name was; however, was it his mother that gave him that name, or for some reason I think it was his father. Something Morse said about the ship “Endeavor”. I may be wrong because it was years ago that I read the books. I miss John Thaw and Morse, but enjoy Inspector Lewis. It keeps the ties.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Diana, hearing that the show is so good, I really want to try to get my family together for that amount of time.

      (I thought his Quaker mom gave him his name, but since it has been so long, you are probably right. If I don’t take notes on something that I can refer back to, sometimes I’m left with just a hazy recollection…)

  9. Loretta says

    My DH and I watched it last night and absolutely loved it. He was only to watch a bit and then do something else but he became so enthralled with the story he couldn’t walk away.

    I hope they make into a series.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Loretta, I’m going to have to repeat what you said about how good Endeavor turned out to be. The four of us were all Inspector Morse fans, but for some reason, corralling the three of “them” to watch the show hasn’t been easy…

  10. Ricky says

    Was able to watch it tonight. SO enjoyed it. Made in the same way and Oxford is Oxford. When he looked in the car mirror, it was really touching. I do hope there are more.

  11. Anita says

    Masterpiece Mystery is one of the very few shows my husband will watch with me. We have several PBS stations in our area and I constantly search for the older shows. “Morse” is one of his favorites. “Endeavour” was a great show.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Anita, you are so lucky to have more than one PBS station in your area. I’m guessing you have access to a lot of the shows A & E used to air. Lucky you!

  12. SlipStream says

    If you are a fan of Inspector Morse (and Masterpiece Mystery) then the pilot prequel “Endeavor” is a must see ! IN case you missed the airing, you are in luck as there is a pretty good quality streaming of the episode available temporarily. ENJOY !

    Masterpiece Mystery/Endeavor Streaming (until 31.July.2012) ==>

      • SlipStream says

        You are most welcome … I was also happily shocked to learn that PBS had evolved to streaming (albeit temporary). I guess they really want people to watch “Endeavour.”

        What’s next I wonder – a prequel to “Poirot” !?!

  13. says

    Just watched “Endeavor”, loved it. Shaun Evans is magical in the role, a wonderful actor…great skill at showing emotion through his eyes and facial expressions.

    I hope they continue this show. I’m a fan!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Mary, your description of Shaun Evans sounds like you could be talking about John Thaw!

  14. Kim says

    The red-letter thing has been going on for a while. The one at the end of the first Lewis Season 5 sent me to the laptop to find out what it meant. It was a clever allusion to an ancient arrogant chemist.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Kim, maybe one day I’ll try to watch the credits and freeze on all of the red letters. They must have a great time figuring out what words they are going to hide in the credits.

  15. Peter says

    I am a film maker in Boston USA and I work with classical music musicians making opera, dance, and also with symphony orchestras. I have alway’s enjoyed Mr. Furlong’s music, perfect in every way for this series.
    Inspector Morse is one of the best produced mystery series I have ever seen. I relished every episode, especially when Morse lapsed into listening to great opera. Good opera selections were used in my opinion.
    Endeavor is of the highest standards, constantly riveting, plus I too loved the mirror effect when Endeavor was asked what he would become in life and he looked into the car rearview mirror and saw John Thaw as inspector Morse looking back at him. I jumped out of my chair and clapped. The whole program kept me totally involved with a great story, acting, and filming. All the adult Morse references were very skillfully done as well.
    When I saw the first red letter sticking out of the rolling credits I grabbed my pencil. I knew it was a mystery within a mystery. Last night the anwer to the riddle was L.O.N.S.D.A.L.E, the ficticious college that Morse supposedly attended. Great work, expect the best for the new episodes to come.
    Finally, Masterpiece Theater’s “Lark Rise to Candleford” is one of the other best series I have ever seen. Strong characters, great direction, acting, music, incredible videography. Look it up if you haven’t seen it. Start with Season 1 episode 3, then go back to the beginning. The beginning is a little weak compared to the rest of the season but that is because it is expository in nature.

  16. Peter says

    By the way, thanks to Tivo, I was able to catch all the red letters hiding in the rolling credits as they roll by quickly.
    Footnote: 30 years ago, I had the great fortune to sing with Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston. I was in her union chorus. The greatest singers in the world got in line to come to Boston to sing for Sarah, a true genius and musician. In Sarah’s retirement, her favorite TV show, while she gathered the other’s in her home around her, was Inspector Morse.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Peter, what an honor to be selected to sing with Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston’s union chorus!

  17. kaye says

    I immediately sent masterpiece email after watching the first Endeavour showing because I was so instantly touched and thrilled by the story line and, of course, the outstanding acting. They informed me there will be other shows! Thanks for info re red letters
    .. I missed those….as I told them the Inspector Lewis & now Endeavour shows have brought back a bit of Morse/John Thaw who is still missed.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thank you for the information about Masterpiece Mystery!, Kaye. I’m looking forward to seeing more Endeavors.

  18. lamit says

    What was the choral work used in tonight’s airing of Masterpiece
    Endeavour. (Sun. June 29, 2014) I want to purchase the work
    it’s self!

    Thank you!

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