“Endeavour”:This series has a long literary bloodline. It’s based on the Inspector Morse novels by Colin Dexter, an Oxford classics scholar who, after moving into a career in educational testing, decided to entertain himself on a rainy day by writing novels.
Too bad for Oxford classics students, too good for the rest of us. Dexter’s Morse is an Oxford-educated detective with a love of beer and opera and a massive disdain for snooty and murderous professors.
Dexter’s novels turned into 33 Inspector Morse episodes, starring the great British actor John Thaw as Morse. Kevin Whately played his blue-collar Yorkshire sidekick Robbie Lewis. Then Morse died, both in the books and in the series, and an Inspector Lewis series was launched, also starring Whately and Laurence Fox as Lewis’ young, Cambridge-educated (here’s mud in your eye!) counterpart. That series is still going on KCTS 9 and through streaming services, and available through checkout at the libraries.
Still with me? Good. The series “Endeavour” goes back to Morse’s youth, as the incomparably dishy Shaun Evans plays the young Morse. All these shows feature complicated plots, atmospheric Oxford settings, terrible crimes and a gorgeous soundtrack by the composer Barrington Pheloung, who has hung on through all three series. Fun inside fact: the young Morse’s boss Fred Thursday is named after the book “The Man Who Was Thursday” by G.K. Chesterton, the creator of “Father Brown.”