With so many quality detective drama series produced in the British Isles, it is difficult to craft an exact list of productions which could be considered the best of the best. Despite this point, there are three entwined British detective drama series which are internationally renowned as exemplifying British television.
“Inspector Morse,” a television adaptation of a series of novels penned by Colin Dexter, was first televised in the United Kingdom in 1987. Beginning with “The Dead of Jericho,” the series consisted of no less than 33 two-hour episodes, came to an end in 2000 with “The Remorseful Day.”
Set in Oxford, “Inspector Morse” made the university city increasingly inviting to tourists from far flung foreign fields.
Starring accomplished actor John Thaw in the title role, “Inspector Morse” remained true to the source material throughout its 13-year run. Best known for the long running dramedy “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet,” Kevin Whately filled the shoes of Detective Sergeant Robert Lewis.
Interestingly, except for three episodes, Mr. Dexter made uncredited cameo appearances in “Inspector Morse” episodes. In various scenes, the author could be seen in the background.
Six years after “The Remorseful Day” was televised, the sequel series “Lewis” was seen on the British network ITV. In the United States, the sequel series was broadcast as “Inspector Lewis.”
Premièring in 2006, “Lewis” ran for nine series. Focusing on Lewis, now a detective inspector, the series continued to see the university city of Oxford the murder capital of Europe.
With Lewis taking the lead in investigations, Detective Sergeant James Hathaway filled the role Lewis had when Morse was still alive. Hathaway is played by Yorkshire born actor Laurence Fox. Even though Lewis had been influenced greatly by Morse, it was Hathaway that was the academically inclined character.
With the popularity of both “Inspector Morse” and “Lewis,” there was significant interest in developing a series revolving around Morse’s backstory.
“Endeavour,” a period detective drama, like “Inspector Morse” and “Lewis” is set in Oxford.
Set in the 1960s, the period detective drama revolves around the then younger Detective Constable Endeavour Morse. The mantle of the title character, previously portrayed by the now late Mr. Thaw, was taken up by Shaun Evans.
Make no mistake, these series remained true to Mr. Dexter’s characters. Individually, each production was crafted perfectly around the title character. When viewed in chronological order, “Endeavour,” “Inspector Morse,” and “Lewis” prove compellingly entertaining.