“Of writing many books there is no end.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Endeavour has been On the Radar, as it were, for a while, and since The Syndicate is now finished (it transpires, unfortunately, that I’ve missed the last episode on iPlayer) it seemed like a good time to start.
According to ITV Player this is series 2, which doesn’t seem quite right on the basis that Endeavour hasn’t been running long enough, but then who am I to argue with the Internet? Anyway, Endeavour follows a young Inspector Morse (except, obviously, he’s not Inspector yet) through the murderous streets of Oxford on his first cases. In Girl (which is an awful name, in my opinion) a secretarial student is found dead of a heart attack at the beginning of a trail of madness, drugs and post-office robbery, leading up to a virtuoso conclusion in which young Morse essentially shows off his impression of Sherlock.
Talking of Sherlock (an activity I never can resist), I was quite amused to see Morse reading a book entitled Moriarty’s Police Law at the beginning of the episode. Oh, the irony.
Obviously, Endeavour has quite a different feel from Lewis, its sort-of-sequel (I never did watch any Morse). For one thing, there’s no Sergeant Hathaway moping around making laconic comments, which is a pity. Neither is there that feeling of Oxford as a hide-bound institution fighting the modern world with all its might, mainly, I suspect, because Endeavour is set sometime in the 1960s, when the Oxford mindset was less old-fashioned. Possibly. That might just be made up. But that was certainly the general impression I got.
Generally, though, I think I quite like it. It’s clever and riddly and faintly menacing. Just one thing, though: Morse’s Sherlock impression got a bit Death in Paradise-y at the end. “Let me tell you a story,” says the detective, pretending to know things he can’t possibly know and declaiming at all and sundry. It’s annoying and completely unrealistic and, frankly, unconvincing from an acting point of view. But it was outweighed by the cleverness of the solution, so I’ll forgive it just this once.