Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS


The Remorseful Day

The Morse Code: An At-a-Glance Reference for the Morse Enthusiast

First words: Morse's first words, spoken in 1988's The Dead of Jericho as he orchestrates a raid on a car mechanics' shop: "It's only a small job, a little dent on the wing."

Total episodes: Sixty-four-stretching out across 13 years-making Morse the longest running detective series in MYSTERY! history, beating out such regulars as Marple, Holmes, and Poirot.

Total body count: 81

Make and model: Morse drives a red, 2.4 liter, 1960-ish Jaguar Mark Il; his license plate reads 248 RPA.

Name that tune: The Morse series' opening theme beats out M-O-R-S-E in Morse code.

Morse's Law, according to Lewis: "There's always a 50-50 chance that whoever finds the body did the deed."

Morse's Law, according to Morse: "There's always time for one more pint."

Morse abroad: Morse and Lewis have ventured outside Oxford twice in the past to solve cases in Australia (1993's Promised Land) and Italy (1995's Death of the Self).

Please, sir, I want some Morse!: Since its debut in March 1988, Inspector Morse has consistently scored among the highest-rated dramas on PBS.

Wanted all over the world: Inspector Morse is watched by viewers in more than 200 countries around the globe.

Villains, victims, and leading ladies: Guest stars who have appeared on the series include Sir John Gielgud (Hamlet), Elizabeth Hurley (Bedazzled), Richard Briers (Hamlet), Frances Barber (Rhodes), Jonathan Firth (Far From the Madding Crowd), Zoe Wanamaker (Wilde), Simon Callow (Notting Hill), and Joanna David (Pride and Prejudice). Behind-the-scenes support has come from such Oscar-winning writers and directors as Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) and John Madden (Shakespeare in Love).

What's in a name?: Morse's first name-Endeavour-was revealed in 1998's Death is Now My Neighbor. Morse's college nickname, a moniker he picked up during his St. John's College, Oxford days: Pagan. Lewis's first name-Robbie-is first (and only) uttered by Morse during 1993's Promised Land.

Seventy candles: Morse and author Colin Dexter share a birthday-September 29, 1930. (Actor John Thaw is 12 years Morse's junior.) Morse was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, to a taxi-driver father with an insatiable interest in Captain Cook and a Quaker mother-a combination responsible for Morse's uncommon first name.

The arts: Morse's favorite composer: Wagner. The Chief Inspector's favorite poet: A. E. Housman, whom he quotes, fatefully, in The Remorseful Day: "Ensanguining the skies/ How heavily it dies/ Into the west away;/ Past touch and sight and sound/ Not further to be found,/ How hopeless under ground/ Falls the remorseful day."

Where's Colin?: Writer Colin Dexter pops up-fleetingly-in each Morse mystery. He has played a tramp, a music lover at an open-air concert, and the Bishop of Oxford, among other walk-ons.

All in the family: Kevin Whately's wife, the actress Madelaine Newton, played Morse's ill-fated love interest in 1992's Masonic Mysteries.

Famous last words: Morse's last words, spoken in The Remorseful Day: "Thank Lewis for me."

Introduction | More | Episode Descriptions | Cast and Production Credits

Home | TV Schedule | About the Series | Past Programs
Discussions | Detectives | Games | Tour the Set | Case Book | Credits | Mystery! Shop
WGBH | PBS Online | Feedback

Trouble reading this page? Click here.