Set in mid to late 1960s Oxford, England, the series centres on the early career of Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) after he has left Lonsdale College of Oxford University late in his third year without taking a degree, spent a short time in the Royal Corps of Signals as a cipher clerk, and then joined the Carshall-Newtown Police. In the pilot episode, having been transferred to CID after only two years as a uniformed police constable, the young DC Morse soon becomes disillusioned with law enforcement and begins writing a resignation letter. Before he can resign, Morse is sent with other detectives from the Carshall-Newtown Police to the Oxford City Police's Cowley Police Station to assist in investigating the case of a missing fifteen-year-old schoolgirl.
Having studied at Oxford gives Morse advantages and disadvantages when dealing with Oxford's "town and gown" divide. During the pilot episode, he tenders his resignation but his superior, veteran Detective Inspector Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), the "gov" at the Oxford City Police's CID, sees in him an unblemished detective who he can trust and takes him under his wing to be his new "bag man" meaning assistant, replacing a corrupt Detective Sergeant.
Series 1 begins with Morse transferring to the Oxford City Police in 1965 following a double-murder investigation that took place during the pilot episode. Morse is taken under the wing of Inspector Thursday. Thursday names Morse his designated "bag man" and shows him the ropes as Morse begins to solve a string of complex multiple-murders, much to the envy and annoyance of some of his superiors, particularly Detective Sergeant Jakes and Chief Superintendent Bright. Morse displays his obvious genius in solving intricate murders, including several with opera connections. Thursday and fellow officer, Police Constable Strange, try to steer the young Endeavour into taking his Sergeant's exam, so that he may be relieved of "General Duties" and become Thursday's official "bag man" with the appropriate rank and title. In the Series 1 finale, Morse is shot while attempting to apprehend a murderer and is placed on light-duty. At the same time, Morse comes to terms with the death of his cold and unfeeling father in December 1965.
Series 2 begins in 1966 with Morse returning to active duty at Cowley Police Station, after spending several months on light duty at Oxfordshire (County) Police's Witney Station, under the direction of D.I. Bart Church. Morse is received warmly by C.S. Bright and D.S. Jakes, as D.I. Thursday begins to keep a more watchful eye on the young Endeavour. As a result of the shooting, Morse begins to suffer from delayed stress and paranoia, as well as an increase in alcohol consumption. Upon return to active duty, Morse is confronted first by three cases, which he tries to tie in together. Morse makes several mistakes in the investigation, but despite his errors, he solves the cases, impressing his superiors. During the investigation he suffers a concussion after being struck over the head and is cared for by his nurse neighbour, Monica Hicks, in whom he takes an interest. At the same time, P.C. Strange enters into Freemasonry with many of Oxford's elite, and D.I. Thursday's daughter, Joan, begins to take an interest in Endeavour. During the course of several cases, pieces of circumstantial evidence go missing, and a murder suspect threatens Morse by claiming association with powerful men who will not take kindly to interference.
In the final episode, the looming merger of city and county police and misgivings about corruption, lead Thursday to consider retirement, in response to strong hints from C.S. Bright about age and health. Disheartened by this, Morse speculates to Monica about leaving the police and going abroad with her. Assistant Chief Constable Clive Deare asks Thursday and Morse to covertly investigate corruption within the police and council. Morse is sent to a rendezvous where he is ambushed by corrupt officers and Thursday is lured to Blenheim Vale, a derelict former wayward boys home, where there was rampant sexual and physical abuse (of which Jakes was a victim). Morse escapes the ambush and goes to support Thursday, who is shot by Deare, a participant in the abuse at Blenheim Vale. Deare tells Morse he has framed him for the murder of Chief Constable Rupert Standish. Deare is about to kill Morse when he is shot dead by a girl who had also been abused at Blenheim Vale, who then kills herself. Bright and Strange show up with backup and an ambulance. As Thursday is being loaded into an ambulance, Morse is arrested by officers from another force for the murder of Chief Constable Standish. The series ends with Thursday's fate unknown and Morse in a jail cell.
Shaun Evans Endeavour Morse Detective Constable (DC), Oxford City Police CID, Cowley Police Station
Roger Allam Fred Thursday Detective Inspector (DI), Oxford City Police CID, Cowley Police Station
Anton Lesser Reginald Bright Police Chief Superintendent (PCS), Oxford City Police, Cowley Police Station
Jack Laskey Peter Jakes Detective Sergeant (DS), Oxford City Police CID, Cowley Police Station
Sean Rigby Jim Strange Detective Sergeant (DS), Police Constable (PC) Oxford City Police CID, Cowley Police Station
James Bradshaw Dr. Max DeBryn Home Office Pathologist
Abigail Thaw Dorothea Frazil Editor, Oxford Mail newspaper
Caroline O'Neill Win Thursday Inspector Thursday's wife
Sara Vickers Joan Thursday Inspector Thursday's daughter
Jack Bannon Sam Thursday Inspector Thursday's son
Shvorne Marks Monica Hicks Morse's neighbour, a nurse with whom he slowly enters a relationship
Simon Kunz Bart Church Detective Inspector, Oxfordshire Police CID, Witney Police Station
Dakota Blue Richards Shirley Trewlove Woman Police Constable, Oxfordshire Police CID, Witney Police Station
SERIES 3 / ITV
"Ride" / 3 January 2016
"Arcadia" / 10 January 2016
"Prey" / 17 January 2016
"Coda" / 24 January 2016
Endeavour returns for series 3
‘A sadder and a wiser man, he rose the morrow morn’
Published: Mon 30 Mar 2015
Which familiar faces are set to return for the new series of Endeavour after the shocking and tragic events at the end of series 2?
Falsely accused Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) was last seen isolated and alone languishing in prison, framed for the murder of Chief Constable Rupert Standish. Endeavour had unearthed corruption at the very heart of the City Force but his investigation had taken a sinister twist. Will his life be back on track? “Live in the shadows long enough…? You forget the sun.” And does it resemble the life he’d known?
What of Endeavour’s senior officer, DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), whose life was hanging in the balance after being shot in the chest? Has Thursday survived serious injury? Is his trademark trilby still hanging on its hook?
Series three of the phenomenally successful ITV crime drama and prequel to Inspector Morse will comprise 4 x 120 minute films and will once again be written by Lewis and Endeavour creator and Inspector Morse writer, Russell Lewis. Colin Dexter, whose first Morse story was published in 1975, continues his association with the drama, acting as a consultant to Endeavour producers Mammoth Screen.
Set in 1967, three months after Donald Campbell’s ill-fated attempt to break the 300-mile speed barrier on water, the first of the new stories follows the murder of bus conductress Jeannie Hearne on the night she visited the local fairground. With the backdrop of the fun fair the investigation begins…
“1967 is for Endeavour ‘perhaps the end of the beginning.’ Change is abroad in the world and not even the city of dreaming spires can escape its influence. Change for Endeavour, and those most dear to him – personally and professionally. Departures and arrivals. Entrances and exits. Our next quartet of mysteries will take the audience on a psychedelic Summer of Love fairground ride, filled with twists and turns, shrieks and scares. In particular, one encounter at a certain stately home will echo down the years, and have consequences that not even Endeavour Morse could have foreseen. The only constant is death… And Green Shield Stamps,” says writer Russell Lewis.
Returning to their roles are Jack Laskey as DS Peter Jakes, Sean Rigby as PC Jim Strange, Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright, James Bradshaw as Dr Max DeBryn and Abigail Thaw as journalist Dorothea Frazil.
Endeavour debuted in 2012 with a feature length story to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Morse. Shaun Evans won over critics and viewers alike with his portrayal of a young Morse and consequently, the film became the highest performing new drama title to air on ITV that year.
The second series returned in March 2014 with a peak audience of 7.0m and a 27% share, making it one of the best performing returning drama series on ITV that year. The final film was ITV's best performing drama of any type for ABC1 Men during 2014.
Endeavour III has been commissioned by ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea.
Russell Lewis serves as Executive Producer alongside Mammoth Screen’s Damien Timmer and Michele Buck, and Dan McCulloch (original Endeavour Producer, Indian Summers). Tom Mullens (Black Work, New Tricks, Waterloo Road) will produce the new series.
Endeavour will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.