MORSE CODE: New season of Endeavour continues origin story of much-loved detective

SUNDAY nights have always been a great time to catch up on quality British drama on PBS, and this month is no exception with the debut of Season Four of Endeavour .

BEST OF BRITISH: Roger Allam as DI Thursday and Shaun Evans as Endeavour Morse

For those unacquainted with the compelling British police procedural, it is a prequel to the long-running Inspector Morse and, like that series, is set primarily in Oxford. Shaun Evans portrays a young Endeavour Morse beginning his career as a Detective Constable with the Oxford City Police CID and being moulded into the iconic character immortalized by the late John Thaw. The series launched five years ago in the UK, introducing the young Morse as a disillusioned detective who plans on resigning from the force until taken under the wing of veteran Detective Inspector Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), the “guv” at the Oxford City Police’s CID, who sees in him an unblemished detective whom he can trust.

As Morse gradually finds his feet and shows his brilliance by cracking several difficult cases, he earns the respect of some in his department – and the resentment of others. In the seasons which follow Morse undergoes personal and professional crises – including being shot by a suspect and sabotaged by his colleagues – all the while displaying a unique gift for detective work.

Season four opens in the summer of 1967, and the effects of the Cold War and sixties counterculture are being felt in Oxford. It has barely been two weeks since the events depicted in the Season 3 finale, and we find Oxford’s finest picking up the pieces of their personal and professional lives. Endeavour waits to hear the result of his Sergeant’s Exam, and self-medicates to numb his heartache over the love of his life, Joan, who seems to have left Oxford – and Morse, for good.

Endeavour airs Sunday nights at 9pm from August 20th through September 10th. Check local listings for details.