DATELINE: Unpleasant Developments
Morse, We Hardly Knew Ye!
In this abbreviated seventh season, the second or middle part of the trilogy of related chapters will continue to indicate to us something bad has happened to the psyche of Endeavour Morse, our stalwart and brilliant young detective.
Perhaps the constant and unrelenting crimes of violence are having a terrible effect on all the characters. Well, in a thoughtful series like Endeavour, this means your characters are developing into something you may not like.
The three major characters (including James Bradshaw as the amusing coroner) watch a woman view her teenage son on the morgue slab and go mad with denial that he is dead. Not pleasant stuff for our hardened police.
In this case, we saw veteran Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) finally fed up with murders and cruel treatment people inflict on each other. When the old cynical pro goes obsessive, you know that he will have a more divisive relationship with his sergeant Morse (Shaun Evans) likely to destroy their relationship.
The overlap of the first episode is that Thursday still believes another man killed young waitress Molly. He is now obsessed, trailing the suspect off hours when another is going on trial for the crime.
We see more of Morse’s personal beliefs than ever before: He opines the “dead deserve justice,” as to why he does a job he dislikes. He also admits he is not the forgiving type (which we think may include forgiving himself). He loses his moral scruples at last and in disappointing fashion, going after the married woman after all. Well, actually she goes after him with wanton disregard for her millionaire husband.
Morse’s quondam friend, the woman’s husband, we suspect, knows all about this and has been observing. We will find out in the final episode of the season whether our detective skills are up to Morse’s level. He seems not to see it.
The show is overlaid with racism against Pakistani immigrants in 1970, and cruel violence even among themselves in their diaspora. We were reminded of the old chestnut movie, My Beautiful Lauderette, from the 1980s that also covered the Pakistani prejudice in England.
If this is how the show will ultimately evolve, we may at long last lose our taste for the characters and the series, whether it returns for an eighth season or not. Morse’s moral scruples have been compromised and that is never a good sign for heroic TV detectives.