Masonic Mysteries: A Review plus Music, Art, Locations & Literary References.


As an added help for readers I have added links to many names of actors and TV series mentioned in the post. Just click on the underlined text and a new window will open for the link.

First transmitted in the UK on the 24 January 1990.

This episode is not based on any of Colin Dexter’s books.

This is episode 4 in series 4. Chronologically this is episode 15.

Colin Dexter appears as a member of the chorus of the production of The Magic Flute at various times.


Directed by Danny Boyle. He also directed the episode, ‘Cherubim and Seraphim’, (Series 6, Episode 5). Of course Danny Boyle has become a renowned film director of films such as, ‘Trainspotting’, ‘28 Days Later’ and the wonderful ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.

Written by Julian Mitchell. He also wrote the screenplay for The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn, Service of all the Dead, The Wolvercote Tongue, Ghost in the Machine, Promised Land, Cherubim and Seraphim, Twilight of the Gods, The Daughter’s of Cain, Death is now my Neighbour.

Julian Mitchell makes a cameo appearance in this episode as one of the chorus members standing in front of Colin Dexter. (see above pic)


During a dress rehearsal for the Mozart opera, The Magic Flute, Morse’s (sort of) girlfriend, Beryl Newsome is murdered. Morse is not only found holding her body but is holding a large knife.

Things go from bad to worse as Morse finds himself on the receiving end of someone’s revenge which ends with Morse being accused of committing two murders and is charged and locked up.

Lewis doesn’t believe his boss is capable of such atrocities and finds a way of proving Morse’s innocence but is unaware that the investigating officer, Chief Inspector Bottomley, believes Lewis to be an accomplice.

Morse’s life begins to fall apart and he finding it hard to hold on to reality. Revenge, murder, the Freemasons, Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute and an attack on Morse’s sanity all combine to make this a thrilling and compelling episode.

REVIEW. (warning this review may contain some spoilers)

Well, here we are at Masonic Mysteries. An episode that is always in my top three of favourites. It also appears to be a huge favourite of most Morse fans. It is an episode that barely puts a foot wrong. It allows Morse to show what a brilliant actor he is as he goes through a gamut of emotions, one of those being a feeling of having a mental breakdown.

A strong cast who also don’t put a foot wrong. Though only appearing for a short time, Ian McDiarmid as Hugo De Vries is sublime and must rank as one of Morse’s greatest adversaries, if not THE greatest.

We also get to meet one of Morse’s great mentors, Desmond McNutt played by the wonderful Scottish actor, Iain Cuthbertson. There is talk that the McNutt character will show up in the next series of Endeavour. I hope they get a Scottish actor to play him and not a non Scot trying to do a Scottish accent. The film and TV world is littered with actors trying to do a Scottish accent and who fail miserably, (I’m looking at you Alec Guinness (Tunes of Glory), Christopher Lambert (Highlander), Michael Caine (Kidnapped or was it Master Of Ballantrae?), Simon Pegg (Star Trek), Robin Williams (Mrs Doubtfire. What is even worse in this film is that he calls himself an ENGLISH nanny) and the list goes on. Only a handful of actors have managed to pull off a Scottish accent, Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting), Emma Thompson (Tutti Frutti) and that’s the only two I can recall at the moment. Anyway, enough of one of my pet peeves.

In this episode the Lewis and Morse relationship is not only shown as growing stronger but that it is also evolving. There is an almost symbiotic relationship being created. The German mycologist Heinrich Anton de Bary in defining Symbiosis seen it as “the living together of unlike organisms”. This defines Lewis and Morse’s relationship to a tee. They live together in their working life (Lewis probably sees more of Morse than he does his wife) and they are dissimilar ‘organisms’ or in this case characters.

After the fire and when Morse is in the ambulance and appears to be losing his hold on reality he calls the name of the one person he knows he can trust, the one person who is the rock he can hold on to as the waves of desperation and despair are washing over him; “Where’s Lewis. I want Lewis.” I don’t know about you but I get a lump in my throat when watching that scene. (This scene is at 1h10m10sec)

For the first and last time we get to see more than just the downstairs element of the house but that only amounts to the upstairs bathroom and of course his linen cupboard. I do like new glimpses into the life of our beloved Morse. It satisfies the curious element of my personality.

The episode is beautifully crafted by that stalwart of the Morse canon, Julian Mitchell. Julian wrote ten of the Morse episodes so almost a third of the complete series. In this episode he barely falters in bringing the story alive and filling it with wonderful quotes and excellent dialogue. I write barely because there are a couple of small problems I have with the screenplay. Primarily, is De Vries’s appearance at the home of McNutt dressed as a homeless person. How did De Vries anticipate that Morse would visit McNutt. Was it simply a case of him following Morse and then improvising? No, not unless he drove around with a collection of dirty clothes and make up to allow him to transform into the homeless person. The other niggles are minor and not worth mentioning.

On a positive note it is a piece of brilliant writing that Julian Mitchell has the opening scene showing the character of Papageno dressed as a bird through the window of the building where the play is being rehearsed. Papageno is a sweet innocent character who in the second half of the opera becomes almost as important as the main storyline of The Magic Flute. I have read in the past that the casting of Papageno can make or break a production of the opera. If the actor gets it wrong the character can turn out to be irritating rather than charming. So, could this character be alluding to Sergeant Lewis and the part he will play in this episode?

Then we have a glimpse of what will make Danny Boyle one of Britain’s leading directors. This episode is stylishly directed but without any pretensions. One great scene is when Morse finally catches up with De Vries. This is darkly written scene with the impending death of Morse. His life displayed in photographs on the wall. But Boyle shoots the scene in dazzling bright light. There is light flooding the room from two large windows and this light is amplified by the white walls. There is barely a shadow in the room. Due to the scenes dark writing tone many directors would have had a darkened room or shadows cast across the De Vries’s face to emphasize his black soul and dark intentions. Or with Morse’s impending death a director may have been drawn to have Morse walk into a shadow to allude to his forthcoming demise.

But not Danny Boyle. He bathes the whole scene in bright light to, I believe, allow each character to clearly see who they are and what they stand for and what their actions have created. In the bright light of day one cannot hide from themselves, emotionally, mentally or truthfully.

But for all the dark subject matter in the episode there is still some excellent comic scenes. One of my favourites is Morse’s reaction to finding out the fire was started using a copy of The Magic Flute by Arturo Toscanini. Lewis’s laugh is priceless


EPISODE JAG RATING, (out of ten)


It is no surprise that all the classical music is excerpts from the Mozart opera The Magic Flute. (The Magic Flute (German: Die Zauberflöte), K. 620)

What I will attempt to do is identify the excerpts as to where they happen in the opera and which characters are singing. I have also tried to get all the musical excerpts used in the episode and make them into short videos for each piece.

I am a fan of the opera but do not put myself forward as an expert. So, on that note I apologize in advance for any errors.

So, the episode starts with what is the opening music of the opera.


Morse and Lewis are leaving the town hall where the production was taking place. Morse says to Lewis that he has to speak to McNutt.

After three ladies, attendants of the Queen of the Night, appear and kill the serpent that was tormenting Tomino, he having fainted, he awakes to find Papageno who takes credit for having killed the serpent.


Morse and Lewis are leaving McNutt’s house and walking toward his, now defaced, car. A section of the opening is replayed here.


Morse and Lewis are driving back from McNutt’s house and are trying to make sense of that night’s events.

The music is playing while the council of priests of Isis and Osiris, headed by Sarastro, enter. Sarastro tells the priests that Tamino is ready to undergo the ordeals that will lead to enlightenment. He invokes the gods Isis and Osiris, asking them to protect Tamino and Pamina (Aria and chorus: “O Isis und Osiris“).


The scene starts with Morse staring at the defaced car and then moves into his house where he sits on the settee contemplating all that has happened.

The next piece is from Act 1, scene 1 and is part of the scene after Prince Tamino has just been presented by the Three Ladies with an image of the princess Pamina, and falls instantly in love with her. “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” (This portrait is enchantingly lovely)


Morse is in a cell and Lewis and Bottomley arrive at his house to find angry neighbours beating at Morse’s door as their is music blasting from his house.

We are now at act 2, scene 3. The Queen of the Night appears handing Pamina a dagger, ordering her to kill Sarastro with it and threatening to disown her if she does not. “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen” (“Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart”)


Morse is released from his cell and returns home. As he lies sleeping on the settee a fire starts.

Tamino declares that he is ready to be tested. Pamina enters and declares her intention to undergo the remaining trials with him. She hands him the magic flute to help them through the trials. Wir wandelten durch Feuergluten, (We wandered through the fire’s glow)


We are now in the house of Hugo DeVries and he and Morse talk of what has happened. Hugo turns on a cassette recording of The Magic Flute.

Papageno and Pamina are searching for Tamino when they are recaptured by Monostatos and his slaves. Papageno plays his magic bells, and Monostatos and his slaves begin to dance, and exit the stage, still dancing, mesmerised by the beauty of the music. Schnelle Füße, racher Mut (Swift feet and ready courage)

Our final piece is when Morse is sitting in his car outside where the opera is being played. Lewis and his wife went along at the behest of Morse. The scene sees Lewis and his wife coming out early (though they almost stayed to the end as the music that can be heard playing is almost at the end of the opera).

The traitorous Monostatos appears with the Queen of the Night and her three ladies. They plot to destroy the temple (“Nur stille, stille“) and the Queen confirms that she has promised her daughter Pamina to Monostatos.

Below is a recording of The Magic Flute where all the monologues and dialogues have been omitted.


Literary References


Morse is sitting on the stairs in the building’s hall as the opera company begin to leave having all been questioned. Morse says goodnight to them and then says,

“Good ladies, goodnight sweet ladies”.

This is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Spoken by Ophelia,

Come, my coach! Good night, ladies; good night, sweet ladies;

good night, good night”.


Within the same scene as above, Deardon enters the area carrying the knife that was lying beside the body of Beryl Newsome. Morse asks to see it and lifts is up to the light and says,

“Is this a dagger I see before me”.

From Shakespeare’s Macbeth, spoken by Macbeth,

Is this a dagger which I see before me,

The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.

I have thee not, and yet I see thee still”.


While in his cell he asks Lewis to bring him the libretto of The Magic Flute. He then says, “into the mysteries.Though whether of light or darkness“. I don’t recognize the phrase. It does sound biblical but I cannot find any mention of it.



In the office of Amnox where Beryl Newsome worked as does Marion Brooke, on the wall is a poster.

We have seen this before piece before in the episode Dead of Jericho; Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Proserpine.


We are in Strange’s office where we find him talking to Bottomley. Behind him is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

This portrait is by Leonard Munro Borden.


One of my subscribers Nancy has found two etchings by Piranesi in Morse’s home.

The first is around the fifty minute mark when Lewis and Bottomley visit Morse’s home to find the music blasting out from the tape recorder.

This is called “Temple of Antonius and Faustina.”

Nancy wrote “In a previous episode “The Infernal Serpent” Screenshot (259) at 1 hour 25 minutes 44 seconds, I believe that I caught a glimpse of this same picture “Temple of Antonius and Faustine” by Piranesi on wall in Morse’s living room above bookcase with statue of head of Dante.”

At around the 51 minute mark during the same scene Nancy noticed, “another Piranesi etching “Another View of the Temple of Sibyl in Tivoli.”

Great work Nancy and thank you.


Nancy also noticed a poster of the Magic Flute in Morse’s hallway. It can be seen around the 53 and a half minute mark.

This is from a photograph by Bert Loewenhertz.


In Morse’s office he has this lovely poster of The Magic Flute.

The designer of this poster, Jane Ray, is a well-known illustrator and writer of children’s books. This same poster appears in Morse’s kitchen in the episode Fat Chance.


On Morse’s hall wall above the stairs he has this poster.

It’s the Welsh National Opera poster by Robert Holder 1989. Curiously this same poster appears in the episode Fat Chance in the police station. Thanks to Nancy for the information.

Interesting Quotes.

14m 34s

Bottomley: “I know Morse does really care for me”.

Lewis: “He doesn’t much care for anybody, Sir.”

16m 51s

Morse: “The richness of your family never fails to astound me Lewis.”

1h 10m 20s

Morse: “Where’s Lewis. I want Lewis.”

1h 10m 43s

Strange: “You know Lewis, Morse is a very good copper. But sometimes he’s more trouble than he’s worth.”

Interesting Facts

Madelaine Newton who plays Beryl Newsome is Kevin Whately’s real life wife.

Ian McDiarmid who plays Hugo De Vries is probably most famous for playing Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars films.

Mark Strong who plays PC Butterworth has become a well known and great actor and with one of the most distinctive voices on TV and film.


John Molloy made the following observations, “he real Hugo de Vries ( 1848 – 1935 ) was a Dutch botanist and geneticist who developed a mutation theory of evolution. Given that the Morse de Vries was capable of mutating/evolving by way of successfully adopting disguise I wonder if the scriptwriter used the botanist’s name because of this. This point may be of significance if, as you observe in Endeavour, Kent Finn mutates/evolves and becomes Hugo de Vries.


Chiswick Town Hall, Heathfield Terrace, Chiswick. (Opera rehearsals)

chiswick interiorSaint Albans Cathedral, Abbey Mill Lane, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL3 4HB

(Where Lewis and Morse park the car to visit Marion at AMNOX. The car is parked on Romeland. It is also where Marion and Morse talk)

vlcsnap-2015-07-07-10h43m29s155 vlcsnap-2015-07-07-11h54m30s96

Romeland Hill, St Albans, Hertfordshire. (The building posing as HQ of AMNOX where Marion and Beryl worked. The building with the blue door.)

amnox vlcsnap-2015-07-07-12h19m58s14


Beryl Newsome’s flat is said to be on Cowley Road but after looking up and down that road in Oxford I couldn’t find it.


Bodlian Library where Lewis is looking at back copies of The Oxford Mail.


Royal Oak pub, Kitters Green, Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, (Where Morse and Lewis have a pint)

vlcsnap-2015-07-07-11h40m11s210 the-royal-oak



Thanks to Ant who located the wine shop that Morse visits to find out Hugo’s address at around the one hour and 20 minute mark.

Ant pointed that the location is Beaconsfield Old Town. The wine shop has gone and been replaced by Thai massage place.

I believe the wine shop was split into two. The other part is the dry cleaners.


The house where DeVries lives and where he is found by Morse.

A huge thank you to Andy who in the comments who wrote that after extensive research he has found the location of the above mentioned house. 4 Donnay Close, Gerrards Cross, SL9 7PZ.

A huge thank you to Andy for not only locating the house but for forwarding the info to me. It is much appreciated Andy.


A huge thank you to Andy for finding the locations of the two places below.

Firstly, Beryl Newsome’s (the first victim) flat.

This is 7 Charlbury Grove, Ealing, W5 2DY.


The second one is Marion Brooke’s house.

Marion Brooke’s house is at 34 Castlebar Park, Ealing, W5 1DB. This is just a few doors down from Morse’s house which was No. 28.

Marion’s house is the one with the blue door.


diane fletcher

Diane Fletcher as Marion Brooke. Born: April 17, 1944.


Richard Kane as Chief Inspector Bottomley. Born: September 17, 1938.


Ian McDiarmid as Hugo De Vries. Born: August 11, 1944.


Iain Cuthbertson as Desmond McNutt. Born: January 4, 1930 – Died: September 4, 2009.


Madelaine Newton as Beryl Newsome. Born – Unknown.


Celestine Randall as Sandra Machin. Born – Unknown.


Roland Oliver as the Conductor. Born – Unknown.


John Arthur as the porter. Born – Unknown.


Mark Strong as PC Butterworth. Born: August 5, 1963.


Richard Huw as Detective Constable Reardon. Born unknown.


James Smith as Bank manager Prettyman. No info.


Timothy (Tip) Tipping as PC Dene. Born: February 13, 1958 – Died: February 5, 1993.


James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange. Born: October 22, 1927 – Died: June 24, 2012. James Grout’s obituary


Author: Chris Sullivan

Up until a few years ago I was my mum's full time carer. She died in, 2020, of Covid. At the moment I am attempting to write a novel.

106 thoughts

  1. I agree with all you wrote, but I can hardly bear the episode until Morse is no longer thought to be guilty. Such good acting.

  2. Where did Morse and DVries originally meet up, and why does he hate Morse so much.?? Seen thie ep countless times, but due for a re-watch soon.

  3. Chris, watching this episode for the ? time, I froze the image at 36.47 when Lewis was examining General Fund B and noticed an error: the 600 pounds interest received correctly appears in the credit column but it has been subtracted, from not added to, the balance!

  4. Derrick Somerset Macnutt
    Born Derrick Somerset Macnutt
    29 March 1902
    Eastbourne, East Sussex, England
    Died 1971
    Five Oaks, Billingshurst, West Sussex, England
    Nationality British, English
    Occupation School master, crossword compiler
    Derrick Somerset Macnutt (1902–1971) was a British crossword compiler who provided crosswords for The Observer newspaper under the pseudonym Ximenes.

  5. Take a look at the bank transaction details at 38.07 or so — they reveal Morse’s first initial long before “The Wench is Dead”!

  6. Did anyone notice the microphone attached to Morse’s tie when he and Lewis are walking to visit Brooke at Amnox? As they are walking and having a conversation (Morse asks Lewis if he believes in God) a breeze blows aside his tie and you can plainly see the microphone. I only noticed it after watching the episode a few times but I’m sorry I did because it jolts you back to the fact that it is just a TV show!

    1. Well spotted Kathleen. I had glimpsed it in the past many years ago but I thought it was a tie pin and didn’t think anymore of it. Wow surprised it wasn’t noticed during filming.

  7. Tying up the connections and loose-ends between ‘Morse’, ‘Lewis’ and ‘Endeavour’ is worthwhile but fraught;

    above is mentioned the expected arrival of McNutt in ‘Endeavour’; but how about Hillian (who kicks-off ‘Second time around’; I suppose that episode is the inspiration for the epithet ‘good detective, but a poor policeman’ in ‘Endeavour’!)? However, there is this huge part of ‘Endeavour’ – so far- in Fred Thursday, never mentioned in ‘Morse’; how is this paradox to be resolved? Perhaps it will quietly be ignored and forgotten about, or maybe there will be circumstances arising which will result in Morse being so upset that everyone understands that Thursday’s name is never mentioned in front of Morse.

    This all raises the question of exactly how long ‘Endeavour’ is to continue; ‘Morse’ started when Morse was in his later 40s, so, presumably the prequel, which commenced where young Morse was in his late twenties, could believably continue for a longer run. (Sean Evans is about 5 yrs older than the character)

    1. Hi Stephen. I have attempted to find all the connections between Endeavour, Morse and Lewis. I believe the Endeavour series will end at 33 episodes as did Morse and Lewis. The Thursday paradox will, I believe, not be resolved in any way to help us understand why he was never mentioned in the original books or series. Thursday is a character created by Russell Lewis and that will be that.

      1. Of course, this is an old thread, but there were actually 36 episodes of Endeavour, and they did a brilliant job of explaining why Thursday was never mentioned by the later Morse. They even suggested that Morse would be working with McNutt, who was the mentor that the later Morse did mention. I loved the final scene of the two cars passing, and the two Morse’s looking at each other in the rear view mirror. A very satisfying finale to a superb series.

      2. Yes, Lanette, I’ve reviewed all 36 episodes of the series in my book on the Endeavour series. I can’t agree that the Endeavour finale was a good episode or that the whole series was superb. See my reviews of the episodes here on this website as to why I believe many of the Endeavour episodes were poor and in particular the last four series.

  8. Chris,

    You mention the quote “into the mysteries, though whether of light or darkness….”

    This is a Masonic reference, not a biblical one. The journey from darkness into light is a common theme in Freemasonry, and the concept of the ‘Mysteries’ (or ‘Ancient Mysteries’) refers to the state of enhanced enlightenment, common to most (if not all) religions dating back to Egyptian times, that is earned through study, ritual and initiation.

    There are tons of interesting materials online relating to the link between Freemasonry and Mysteries. For example, this:

    It’s a fascinating topic, whether you believe in any of it or not!

    Thanks for the blog by the way. I only stumbled upon it because my son is up at Oxford reading English Literature (at Somerville, just up the road from the Eagle & Child, or the ‘Bird & Baby’ as it is known locally) and I was researching some Morseian pubs for us to visit together next term!


  9. Just listened to Kevin Whately’s Desert Island discs, where he said his wife had appeared in “Morse”.
    She (Madelaine Newton) plays Beryl Newsome, the victim.

    1. Hi Nick and welcome to my website. I believe I have mentioned within my review the fact regarding Kevin Whately’s wife.

  10. Seeing this episode again, i can’t help noticing the recurring green color coming back in morse’s clothing, strange’s tie and other props. Is that a significant masonic color?

  11. I just watched this episode, my first episode of Morse ever, although I have seen all of Lewis and the first four seasons of Endeavour which I love. Thanks for your writing Chris, you’ve really done some in depth coverage here, I love all the behind the scenes info.

    1. Thank you Matt i’m glad you are enjoying my site. I hope you find many other things of interest.

  12. How come no one’s ever picked up on John Thaw’s/Morse’s & Ian McDiarmid’s/De Vries’ mispronunciation of “Monostatos” (the “baddy” in The Flute)? The stress should be on the second “o”, not on the “a”. By way of explanation, I am rewatching the rerun on ITV3 at the moment…

      1. I have found that the Wine Merchants shown in the previous scene was Beaconsfield Wine Cellar, 38 London End, Beaconsfield

      2. As mentioned below – Beaconsfield Old Town is where the Wine Merchant scene was filmed. Was there until a few years ago (although had rather less in your face customer service than Morse got!). Seems to be some kind of beauty treatment place now.

        Chippenham Close I suspect is a false name – the sign is on wooden posts (2×4” timbers ?) which seems wrong for such an upmarket estate. That estate looks incredibly familiar however (lived last 10 years in South Bucks including Beaconsfield).

      3. I am so, so sorry for having taken so long to answer your comment. Thank you for the information regarding the location of the wine shop. I have added that info to my post. Again, sorry.

  13. Hi Chris, I have just found the music for the scene where Lewis checks the Oxford Mail at 1:02:02 . . . it’s also from the Magic Flute, near the end of Act 1, called ‘Wie stark ist nicht dein Zauberton’. I’m sure you knew, but I didn’t, and its such a lovely note of lightness and joy in this harrowing episode 🙂

  14. Absolutely outstanding episode. First class. One thing is puzzling me about Morse’s home, though. In this story we see that it is clearly a house with upstairs rooms. Yet in The Remorseful Day the house seems to have several doorbells, like a group of flats? Was this a deliberate change or just a production team continuity error?

  15. I love this review, thank you, Chris. It’s an amazing episode that has stood up to multiple viewings. I first saw Diane Fletcher in the original “House of Cards” with Ian Richardson, where she was absolutely formidable, and she is here too. One aspect that makes me chuckle is Hugo De Vries being described early on as a total charmer (Morse says when he walks into a room “women kick off their shoes and men open their wallets.”) but when he is finally revealed in all his oily reptilian glory, his manner and appearance are so loathsome it’s impossible to imagine anyone finding him attractive. I guess an aspect of his genius was an ability to transform himself into someone who wouldn’t make your skin crawl!

    1. Hi Sloan and thank you for your lovely comment. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think you are right in regard to your thoughts of DeFries but attractiveness can be a rather subjective thing.

  16. In what Endeavour episode did Hugo de Vries meet Morse as a Sergeant? I’m confused. Thank you.

    1. I’ve been rewatching series 7 of Endeavour recently, and having then watched this episode of Morse again tonight, I’m 90% sure Hugo DeVries and Ludo Talentti are the same person.

      There’s a glimpse of DeVries name on some of Ludo’s paperwork which Morse looks through in Zenana, the way Ryan Gage plays Ludo has more than a good touch of Ian McDiarmid’s portrayal of DeVries, and then there’s the references to both characters love of opera and wine. There’s also at least a passing resemblance between the two actors.

      I suspect we may see a bit more of DeVries in the final series of Endeavour, as a means to link the two series together, and as Fred shot Ludo in Venice, I can’t help but think there maybe some sort of retribution ahead.

      1. Hi Mike. See my reviews of series 7 on connections between DeVries and Ludo. I have been saying for sometime that I believe that Thursday will be killed by Ludo in series 9. This will be the incident that explains why Thursday is not mentioned by the older Morse.

  17. How did de Vries get the keys for getting into Morse’s house and how come none of the neighbours noticed a strange man letting himself in?

  18. This is always in my top three favorites as well, Chris. The only thing that doesn’t sit right with me and doesn’t make sense to me is when Lewis is out in the car while Morse is inside with DeVries and Lewis hears the gunshot that DeVries fires. He just keeps banging on the door and asking Morse if he is ok. Wouldn’t he break down the door or the window or however he could get in?

    1. I too have always had a problem with that scene, Kathleen. Lewis should have broken down the door or at least go to the window and find out if Morse is alive.

      1. Great work on the site: how did the police know to apprehend the duo in the garage? Clearly DeVries again outwitted Morse and got the girl to boot!

    2. I guess we have to give allowances for contrived suspense on TV sometimes. Or maybe the location owner wouldn’t allow it!

  19. Hi, Chris,
    I am so excited, Masonic Mysteries is being shown in about 4 hours on PBS, in the California Bay Area (KQED) and I cannot wait to use all of the knowledge from you, your website and my colleagues who also love Morse.
    Thank you so much for making this ride so much better, cheers!

  20. There is a problem with this episode: the Swedish police tells Lewis that DeVries is dead. Later on, the same Swedish police tells Lewis that DeVries “let himself out on parole 6 moths ago”. Either the Swedes are totally incompetent or someone dropped the ball. It is never resolved what happens to Marion: does she get charged or does Morse (again!) let her skate, like he has done in the past? Must subtract two Jags from the score , 7 JAGs.

    1. Hi Adrian, I think DeVries hacked into the Swedish police computer and changed the information to suit himself so perhaps he could have written two different outcomes. As far as Marion, I thought that when Morse was questioning her, she was in custody then. So I assumed she was charged as I don’t believe she could walk away from what she did. As we’ve seen, we never find out anything about the trials or sentences of the criminals once Morse arrests them. I can only think of three instances ( there may be more) when he had to testify at an inquest and they were in the Dead of Jericho episode, the Dead on Time episode, and the Service for All the Dead episode. And even then we didn’t know for certain the final outcome.

      1. Hi Kathleen

        It made no sense for DeVries to overwrite what he has already written in the police records (the fact that he’s dead, this is the best cover). I think it is a writer oversight.
        Morse definitely lied on behalf of the woman murderer at the inquest in Service for All the Dead.
        I think DeVries murdered Beryl, despite his denying it. He was inside (as the costume checker) while Marion was outside , on the public phone. Morse has a quick look at the phone card before throwing it on the floor, an unexpected error from a senior detective.
        DeVries is also the one who unloads McNutt body from a van into Morse’s house, he had ample opportunity to kill him when he was left alone with McNutt.

      2. Yes I agree that DeVries killed Beryl and McNutt. Marion was his accomplice but he used her and tried to blame her for Beryl’s murder.

  21. Too bad we don’t get to see Marion coming out of prison and trying to make good on her threat. This would be “Revenge Part 2”. BTW, my grandfather on my mother’s side was a mason, he taught my mother the secret handshakes ……I never bothered with this nonsense.

  22. Am I the only one who found Richard Kane’s performance as Chief Inspector Bottomley unbelievably hammy? I appreciate that he was portraying a pompous, self important character, but this was certainly not the way to do it. His dreadful overacting stood out for all the wrong reasons from the rest of the cast’s subtle, naturalistic performances and grated in every scene he appeared in….

  23. Ha! Yeah, he did lay it on awfully thick. To be fair to him, he may have been following the director’s orders.

  24. Great site! We’re just re-watching Morse for the 4711 time and I just remembered an episode from the middle/late 90’s:
    We were at our (then) favorite restaurant, “Santorino” (formerly “Romantica” on Moscow Road Greek-Cypriot),
    and at the table just to the right of us were seated: Ian McDiarmid!

    1. Hi Jasper, Just when I thought I was the only one who watched Morse unendingly! Glad to see I’m not the only addict! Don’t know where that restaurant is/was but what a lucky night that was for you.

      1. Thanks Kathleen, you’re not the only addict….. 🙂
        Will watch *Deadly Slumber’ tonight.

        (We alternate with ‘Foyle’s War’ and have just completed ‘The Adam Dalgliesh Chronicles’ too.)

  25. It may have been speculated on already but I wonder who might be cast in the role if McNutt features in any future episode of Endeavour?

    1. Hi Julie and welcome to my website. There is only one proviso I am looking for and that is the McNutt actor is Scottish. I don’t want a non Scottish actor trying to do a Scottish accent.

      1. The Endeavor series is still in production, I gather. Maybe McNutt could be written in now as a cameo? He appears a kind and generous sole of strong opinion. Hmmm. Maybe we can think who might best portray him?

  26. Morse drinks bottled Samuel Smith’s Strong Pale Ale in this episode. I wanted to try how it tastes. Closest I could buy online was Samuel Smith’s Organic Pale Ale. And you know what? It is good. Little thin, compared to strong ale, I suppose, but anyway, I think that Morse could swallow a pint of that, draught lacking.

      1. I think he would frown at the word, but liked substance. “Organic” in this case means nothing, really. It is just for jumping onto the modern hype bandwagon and appeal to younger audience, I believe. Just naturally grown barley and hops, like in old times.

      2. By the way, you have Morse eating habits section here. Would you care for compiling Morse drinking habits section? Sort of beers list? I have spotted this Sam Smith brand, but there must have been many others, bottled and draugt.

      3. After some tasting of Sam Smith’s online offer I came to (my personal) conclusion, that the best Morse watching companion beer they offer would be Oatmeal Stout. It’s excellent beer anyway, Morse or no Morse. On the other end is Organic Chocolate Stout. Don’t even think of drinking that. And of course I didn’t try lager.

  27. How about Robert Carlyle as McNutt ? Also, apropos of Masonic Mysteries: my Mum’s name was Beryl.

      1. That could work Shell. He is about the right age, has the right build and is Scottish.

  28. I can help you with the location of Beryl’s flat, supposedly in Cowley Road. It’s Charlbury Grove, in West Ealing. You can see St. Benedict’s Abbey at the bottom of the road. It’s very close to Castlebar Park, which is where Morse’s house was. I think the house has been demolished and replaced by a block of flats.

    One other thing stuck out. When they are inside the flat in Charlbury Grove, there is a close-up of a nearly empty bottle of Sam Smith’s on a table, with a glass alongside it. Also in shot is a copy of a Ruth Rendell book. Exactly the same close-up is used after the fire in Morse’s living-room.

    1. I was wondering if Morse’s house was still standing. Does anyone know the history behind the house, i.e., owners and why it was demolished? I thought the house was very charming, such a shame to destroy it.

      1. I used to live a couple of miles from the house and often went past it. Five years ago, I moved out of London, but still visited Ealing a couple of times a month – until COVID. I vaguely remember that it was empty, fell into disrepair and was then boarded up, quite a few years ago.

        Hopefully, when we’re released from house arrest, I’ll be back down there before too long. I’ll make sure to go past it

      2. Thank you Barney. How wonderful for you that you were able to live near it. At least it will survive in the TV series and our DVD’s.

  29. There is another fundamental problem with this episode: if Morse doesn’t forget his mason’s medallion at the start of the episode, there is no way that he stumbles on Beryl being murdered. De Vries, (as the costume checker) could not have put the whole setup in motion. But he already had the intention to murder Beryl, he already had Marion lined up outside to all her and draw her out of the rehearsal. This is a major logical error, I already subtracted two Jags for the contradictory reports from the Swedish police on De Vries, I am subtracting two more.
    One lesser point: De Vries shoots in the air and drops down pretending to be dead. Morse doesn’t check for pulse as the standard dictates and rushes to the door to let Lewis in. Lewis left the car keys in the ignition, another gross error for a policeman. Sorry, this episode doesn’t work for me.

    1. DeVries hid Morse’s medallion forcing the situation where Morse had to go back for it. Morse was in shock after DeVries ‘shot himself’. Morse was under stress thinking he was about to be killed. So, taking Devries’s pulse would not have been foremost in his mind. Getting help from Lewis, who was banging on the door, got his attention. Why subtract two jags because of the Swedish mix up? The contradictory reports from Sweden was because DeVries hacked their computer system.

      1. Sorry, Chris, it can’t be the way you are trying to explain away the oversight. De Vries tells Morse to “go out there and get the medallion from a box under the table”. All the medallions were there, in THAT box, so there is no way to arrange that Morse ends up without a medallion. Also knowing Morse, there is no way that he misses that he doesn’t have a medallion while all the others do.
        As to the Swedish cock-up, if one hacks a file, he ends up EITHER dead OR on parole, not both.
        Taking the pulse of a person who shot himself is standard procedure: “Is he dead?”, If “yes” call the coroner. If “no”, call an ambulance. Morse does neither, a very big mistake for a seasoned detective.

    2. DeVries is not just the costume checker, he is the dresser. He hands out the costumes, and presumably hands Morse a deficient costume to set this up.

  30. Following extensive research I have discovered the location of the house where Morse confronts De Vries, named as 4 Chippenham Close in the episode. It is actually 4 Donnay Close, Gerrards Cross, SL9 7PZ. The estate looks quite different now, with a lot more trees than when the episode was filmed.

    1. Thank you so much for this info Andy. I have added the information to my post. Great piece of research Andy.

      1. After doing some more detective work, I can add two further locations:

        Beryl Newsome’s flat is at 7 Charlbury Grove, Ealing, W5 2DY, opposite Ealing Abbey which is seen as Lewis drives in.

        Marion Brooke’s house is at 34 Castlebar Park, Ealing, W5 1DB. This is just a few doors down from Morse’s house which was No. 28.

      2. Fantastic work Andy. As you notice I have created a post about the finding of the three locations. Thank you Andy.

  31. This website is magnificent – – !! I love it. Chris, would you know where or how I can find the actual teleplays for any of the John Thaw Inspector Morse episodes ? Appreciate what you do.

  32. Watched this episode again recently. I can’t believe I missed the immortal line at the end, where Morse is trying to persuade Lewis to take Mrs Lewis to the concert that night. ‘You can record Eastenders!’ It sounds so wonderfully banal and everyday among the usual classical references and high drama.

  33. In the clip of Strange & Lewis chatting outside Morse’s fire-damaged house (shown above), is the chap who saunters over to Strange asking for a statement possibly a disguised De Vries ?

  34. “Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies” is of course from Ophelia in Hamlet, but it also appears as an allusion in Eliot’s “Waste Land.” The poem is divided into sections that seem very relevant for this episode: The Burial of the Dead, A Game of Chess (there’s a chessboard behind Morse when he’s sitting on his sofa), The Fire Sermon, Death by Water, and What the Thunder Said. I won’t bang on about it but I suspect there are many, many parallels in this episode, just as many as to Magic Flute.

  35. First, great site! Mother and I love watching these shows, along with Taggart.

    And good to know that I am not alone in loving this episode. One of the very best. Ian McDiarmed’s diction is one of the best in the business. I am also sad that they never (or at least not yet) have introduced McNutt into the Endeavour series.

    Good work!

    1. Thank Marcus and welcome. Here’s hoping that in the final series of Endeavour, series 9, we will be introduced to McNutt.

    2. I think McNutt is a bit irrelevant in Endeavour.The idea was he was supposed to teach Morse how to be a detective. In this series, Morse has already solved dozens of murders before he even meets McNutt.

      1. Hi John,
        The entire McNutt connection did not ring true to me either. In Masonic Mysteries, Morse says to Lewis that McNutt taught him everything he knew (but as Thursday once said anyone can learn to be a policeman but being a good detective can not be taught) when he was a young ignorant sergeant but right from the start of Endeavour, when he was a young detective, and later on as a sergeant, Endeavour solved all the crimes without any mentoring from Thursday or anyone else. Thursday shared his life philosophies with Endeavour but Endeavour solved the crimes for the most part on his own.
        And I never understood the label of “poor policeman” given to both Morse and Endeavour when his deciphering of the clues was good police work and ultimately solved the crimes. Morse had Lewis do the “donkey work” under his direction and in Endeavour, well, he solved everything on his own despite the protestations and doubts of Jakes, Bright and even Thursday! So in my mind he would certainly qualify as being a good policeman.

      2. McNutt is very relevant in the Morse Universe. It is Russell Lewis who did not follow the Morse canon in relation to the McNutt character.

  36. The computer stuff isn’t very good. Lewis may know something about computers, that doesn’t man he has instant knowledge of a company’s internal IT systems and can operate them without a second thought.

    Also, it may be possible to hack into a company’s own systems – though I am not sure how when this episode was made. That however, would not give access to the banking system and allow real transfers to be made.

    1. John, I mention when it was first broadcast at the start of the post, 1990. From that, you can deduce it was filmed in 1989.

  37. I am always conflicted when I watch this episode. On the one hand it is excellent, on the other it is so over the top to the point of stupidity. I appreciate though it is a fan favourite and is important one in character development.

    Negative points for me are set up at the beginning. There were far too many variables for the murder to have taken place as “cleanly” it did and ensure Morse was implicated. Secondly, I always found the Bottomley character too over the top. Thirdly, and this was the one that Chris touched on was that de Vries was already in disguise when Morse and Lewis arrive at McNutt.

    Positive ones are the music, I love The Magic Flute and particularly like the episode features a number of pieces from it rather than just one. I thought the relationship between Morse, Lewis and Strange was good. After this episode I think Strange appeared in a lot more of the episodes, not every single one, but certainly more from this point onwards than he had previously.

    I saw in the comments some discussion on the inconsistencies on the information from Sweden. I presume that someone, say Lewis or another officer, firstly called Sweden and asked about de Vries, they looked his name up on the computer and said he’s dead. It was only when Bottomley spoke and we don’t know whether there was more than one conversation, to get more information. So rather than just relying on the computer answer, they did some research from their non-computer files or another system.

    1. For me, this episode falls in the ‘full of holes but cracking entertainment’ category. ‘Deceived By Flight’ and ‘Driven to Distraction’ are other examples. It’s certainly OTT, with the one-dimensional character of Bottomley a low point. As a fellow officer, would he really doubt Morse’s innocence so readily and consistently? I’m also never a fan of villains in disguise either. It stretches belief in ‘Day of the Devil’ and it doesn’t work here either. BUT, it is still a terrific, fast-paced police drama, and is in my Top 10

      1. Agreed, a few holes but great entertainment. Watching in sequence, and this is the best so far.

  38. Thank you for your wonderful blog, Chris- just discovered. Like I did for the Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul series I am watching Endeavour and Morse chronologically- am up to Masonic Mysteries. This episode fostered a love of classical music for me when I first saw it as a young boy- happy memories of sitting in front of the fire with my late parents- A few plot holes I have noticed – any explanations?.
    – how can Hugo move Macnutt’s dead body on his own let alone get it up the stairs and into the airing cupboard? Did he use the Force?
    – surely Morse doesn’t own the whole property? I had assumed he had a flat in part of the building. Perhaps it’s split into apartments some of which have two stories?
    – It must have taken Hugo a long time to scratch up the car- enough to be noticed by passers by. Why didn’t Morse and Lewis connect this with the visitor and give chase?
    – Hugo seemed to shoot himself in the nether regions. Would he not have been saved by the medics?
    All in all a superb episode though, one of the best.

    1. Howard S, you make some good observations. Morse’s flat seems surprisingly large, I agree. And when I saw MacNutt’s body in the airing cupboard (Britspeak I had to look up), I thought to myself “How did the killer manage that? That would be a feat of strength even for a very strong man” Didn’t know it was Hugo at that particular time, and he doesn’t quite fit the bill. You are also right on in thinking that two good detectives like Morse and Lewis should have realized the homeless man (which was Hugo) likely scratched up the car. They certainly should have made considered him the prime suspect in Macnutt’s murder as they saw Macnutt drive off with him. As for Hugo shooting himself in the nether regions, he may have done that to insure success – no real chance of pulling away with the gun buried in his abdomen. But still, he couldn’t guarantee a fatal shot, just a good hit.

      Still, holes and all, the best episode so far.

  39. I watched this last night as I am working my way through Morse after watching all of Endeavour. I thought it was one of the best episodes I’ve seen so far, but think that Hugo de Vries wasn’t sufficiently fleshed out and seemed a panto villain. We’ve never come across him before in person or in mention before this episode when Morse was recounting it all to Lewis (though some think we have met him before in Endeavour, but I can’t see how that train of thought would work) so it really was now you see him now you don’t. It was a mix of tragedy and comedy as well. Those awful baggy Y-fronts “Are these yours Morse?” (and the look on his face!), the music blaring out of Morse’s house and driving the neighbours nuts, the computer virus “Have A Nice Day” contrasting with the blood and poor old McNutt stuffed into the airing cupboard. Lewis couldn’t go out because Eastenders was on the telly (best reason to go out, in my mind!) Morse seemed pretty sanguine about being threatened with a gun in the house, too. My favourite episode so far.

  40. @Chris – I just discovered from looking him up that Richard Kane who played Bottomley sadly died this year, 15 Feb according to IMDB. Not sure if you have covered that elsewhere but thought worth a mention.

  41. I am not a fan of detective dramas where the central character becomes the main suspect/murderer. It must be almost unknown outside of fiction, The Mouse Trap being the enduring exemplar.
    The hammie over acting by the Bottomley character grates and just makes Thaw look all the greater actor.

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