You seldom see a three-generation police procedural, but the U.K.’s “Inspector Morse” and its two “sequels” have been a success from the start.
One of them, “Inspector Lewis,” will start its seventh season on PBS’ MASTERPIECE Mystery on Sunday.
The series started with the successful “Inspector Morse” in the 1980s, starring John Thaw as Morse and Kevin Whateley as his sidekick, Detective Sergeant Lewis. Morse was an experienced policeman, and cultured curmudgeon who policed crime in Oxford, while Lewis was his non-university-attending sidekick.
After Thaw died, Whateley took over with his own series, “Inspector Lewis.” Here the parts were reversed. Lewis, wise in the ways of non-university Oxford, had his own university-attending partner, Detective Sergeant James Hathaway, played by Laurence Fox.
In the opening episode, animal rights groups are going against the owners of a shooting game park. Then one is killed — a prominent brain surgeon. The bodies stack up as the police try to figure out the killer or killers. The multi-cultural, multi-racial nature of modern England is interwoven in the mystery.
By the way, if you’re queasy about dead animals — even fake – be prepared to close your eyes at times.
In the current season of “Inspector Lewis,” a new generation of policing is coming of age.
Spoiler alert for some fan wondering how last year’s ending with Lewis’ retirement plays out.
He did retire. Hathaway returns from an extended leave and becomes a detective inspector. Now, he’s overworking himself and burning through assistants assigned to him, including the latest, Detective Sergeant Lizzie Maddox.
Lewis returns to assist the police force and is assigned to Hathaway. Conflict ensues until the new relationship is established between junior and senior.
In the first episode of “Inspector Lewis,” the University of Oxford doesn’t play as large a part as it has in the past. Hopefully, this will be corrected in future episodes.
And, the third series stemming from “Inspector Morse”? It dealt with a young Morse in the 1960s. It was broadcast earlier in 2014 and called “ Endeavour.”