A Review of Morse Episode, ‘Who Killed Harry Field?’. Plus the Art, Music and Literary References.

Health, wealth and happiness, leave a comment for god’s sake.

I would like to say a big thank you for the many people who showed support regarding the recent changes in my life as mentioned in my previous post. Thank you very much it has been helpful and gratefully received.

Normally this post would just contain information on the art, music and literary references of an episode but as I have now caught up to the last episode I wrote a review for then each post from here on in will be a complete post; i.e. it will include a review, pub locations, scene locations, cast members, art, music, literary references and other miscellaneous items of interest. So, with a large intake of breath here we go.

Who Killed Harry Field?: Series 5, Episode 3.

Chronologically this is episode 18.

First broadcast in the UK on 13 March 1991.

This episode is not based on a Colin Dexter novel.


Here is Colin at the one hour and four minute mark. Sad to think that he will never make another cameo appearance in person.

Directed by Colin Gregg: Colin also directed Death of the Self.

Written by Geoffrey Case: This was the only episode written by Geoffrey.


Harry Field, a frustrated artist and  bon viveur, has been found dead at the bottom of a viaduct. How his body got there is a mystery as there is no evidence of any car or bike near by.

Meanwhile Sergeant Lewis is thinking of looking for promotion and is trying to decide the best way to approach Morse about the subject. Lewis is looking to get promotion through the Police Transport Department which Morse belittles as boring and a step back into uniform.

Suspects regarding Harry’s death are many and to add to Morse and Lewis’s woes they enter the murky world of art forgeries.

Lewis and Morse slowly begin to make sense of what happened to Harry and as they progress they find that each painting they encounter paints a thousand words.


(warning, this review may contain some spoilers)

Let us get the obvious question out of the way first, did I enjoy the episode? The answer is a resounding YES! It is an episode that will always find a place in my top ten favourite episodes of the Morse series.

Like almost all of the Morse episodes every actor plays their part sublimely. The episode contains some of the UKs finest actors; Geraldine James, Ronald Pickup and Freddie Jones. Each actor appears to relish their roles and I suppose which actor wouldn’t having been added to that collegiate of actors who can add Inspector Morse to their résumé.

In a few previous episodes, most notably Masonic Mysteries, it has become apparent how much Morse not only relies on Lewis but why losing him would be a bitter pill to swallow. In this episode that possibility, Lewis leaving to work in another department, weighs heavily on Morse and so much so he tries to adapt his behaviour toward Lewis by congratulating him on having done a good job. It also becomes apparent in this episode that Lewis holds Morse in high regard and would be a wrench for him to leave behind his working relationship with Morse.

Each episode of Morse, especially the last four or five, has wonderfully pushed the Lewis and Morse relationship forward and this episode was no different.

As in so many Morse episodes, but not all, the cinematography is excellent and one gets the impression that the cinematographer was trying to occasionally create shots that are reminiscent of paintings. For example my main picture at the top of the page looks like a Constable.

In this episode it is wonderful to watch Morse being more than his usual irascible,curmudgeonly self. We see what kind of things make Morse laugh out loud: joke genealogy. Very few things made Morse laugh out loud and we have seen via the Endeavour series that he very rarely laughed out loud. One reason for Morse’s inability or reluctance to find humour in anything will become apparent in episode 21, Dead on Time.

My reasons for not allowing this episode a higher score are admittedly few but they are reasons that cause me concern. Firstly, is the lack of any answer as to why Morse isn’t sleeping. I understand it has no affect on the plot and subplots of the episode but Morse’s insomnia is mentioned a few times in the episode.

Secondly, if Tony Doyle has lustful thoughts about teenage girls then why was he having an affair with 40 something Helen Field? Was it simply to spite Harry? Sex is just sex?

Thirdly, how in hell did Harry Field Senior manage to kill Paul Eirl from the back of a car with such a large spike? Why would Paul Eirl allow him into the car? Even if Harry Senior talked his way into the car why would Eirl allow him to sit in the backseat of the car? Harry Senior had to have been in the back seat to kill Eirl.

Troubling inconsistencies but certainly do not distract from what is a good episode.

Who Killed Harry Field? is an enjoyable romp through not only the vagaries of the working class and Middle England but the indiscretions and pomposity that exists in the art world. Throw in Morse’s fear of losing Lewis to the Transport police, his anger at not being able to charge Harry’s murderer and another titbit about Morse’s past (he enjoyed the art of heraldry when he was younger) and we have an episode that should fit into most people’s top ten Morse episodes.

Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.


This episode has more jazz music than classical. The first piece of jazz music is at the very beginning of the episode. It is by Fats Waller singing Ain’t Misbehavin.

Interestingly John Bishop writes in his excellent book The Complete Inspector Morse that Barrington Pheloung the composer and arranger on the Morse series created a musical facsimile of the above piece, right down to the original’s out of tune notes. As David wrote, “a forgery in a story about a forgery”.


Thank you to John who noticed that Helen Field whistles the theme tune to the British TV Police Drama, Dixon of Dock Green.


Morse is driving toward Paul Eirl’s house while he and his lawyer, Roger McMill are riding quad bikes through the estate.

The music being played over the scene is the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.15 in B flat major K.450.Allegro by Mozart.

This same Mozart piece is played again at 1 hour and 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Morse puts on a cassette in his car after interviewing Jane Marriot, Harry’s model.


After Morse has talked to Helen Field about her affair with Tony Doyle there is a reprise of the Fats Waller, Ain’t Misbehavin’ music.


Lewis enters Harry Field senior’s house to interview him. The music being played is a section of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

Literary References


While Morse and Lewis are visiting Harry’s studio, Morse takes the painting that was damaged by acid from the its easel and reads the Latin phrase written on the back, ‘Lignum Crucis Arbor Scientiae’. Morse translates the phrase as ‘The wood of the cross is the tree of knowledge’.

This phrase has, of course, religious connotations. The wood of the cross may refer to the cross that Jesus was crucified on. It could also refer to the tree in the Garden of Eden. In the Bible’s first chapter, Genesis, there is one tree that God tells Adam and Eve not to eat from, “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.

In Judaism before Adam and Eve ate from the tree evil only existed in a state of ambiguity. After Adam and Eve ate from the tree good and evil become mixed and evil become a more distinct entity.


While Lewis is interviewing Tony Doyle at the school where he works, Tony asks Lewis if he agrees with George Bernard Shaw that those who can, do and those who can’t, teach.

The exact quote is  “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.” However, Shaw’s quote is a corruption of Aristotle’s quote, is a corruption of Aristotle’s ‘those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.” Aristotle saw happiness, fulfilment and a sense of civic duty all arising from education, and felt that “those who educate children well are more to be honoured than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.”


As Morse leaves Harry’s studio for the last time at the end of the episode Morse says on a voice over, “Beware, all thieves & imitators of other people’s labour & talents, laying your audacious hands upon our work“. This is a quote from the German painter Albrecht Dürer. (1471 – 1528).


Morse and Lewis are in the car on their way to the pub. Lewis has asked Morse how it felt to be right all along. “Frustrating” is Morse’s answer. Lewis being the optimist he is says that they have time on their side and may still be able to prove Eirl killed Harry. Morse replies, “The road goes on and on and others follow it who can.”

I’m wondering if this is an allusion to “The Road Goes Ever On” in the novel The Lord of the Rings. There are quite a few versions of the song not only in The Lord of the Rings but in the Hobbit. The second version of the song has the first four lines;

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!


There is a lot of paintings in this episode. I have done my best to identify a many as possible.

The first painting we see is at the beginning of the episode in Harry’s studio. It is a pastiche of  a Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) painting.

The original is called The Grand Odalisque.

At around seven minutes and 57 seconds as Morse is walking around Harry’s studio he passes this painting.

The above is Harry’s version of Francisco Goya’s (1746 – 1828) La Maja Desnuda.

The Prado, Madrid, 1988 | "La Maja Vestida" (The Clothed Maj… | Flickr

During the same scene as above Morse passes this painting.

This is a pastiche of Olympia, by Edouard Manet (1832 – 1883)

Still within the same scene there is this painting below.

The above is a pastiche of a René Magritte (1898 – 1967) painting.

Dangerous Liaisons, Art by Rene Magritte, 1926. | Magritte, Rene magritte, Dangerous  liaisons

The painting is called The Dangerous Liaison.

Morse visits Helen Field during Harry’s wake. In her bedroom there is a painting of Helen as a young woman.

The above is a pastiche of a Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954) painting, Carmelina.

At 37 minutes and 40 seconds Morse visits his friend Ian Matthews to ask his opinion on a Whistler supposedly forged by Harry.

The actual painting is a James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) and is titled, Caprice in Purple and Gold, The Golden Screen.

Morse revisits Harry’s studio. He looks at the painting below and says, “Hello Harry“.

This is a pastiche of a Rembrandt (1606 – 1669) titled, Self-Portrait.

At 52 minutes and 50 seconds Morse visits Paul Eirl’s mansion. Morse stands in a large room (this is actually the dining room of Brocket Hall). On the wall is a large painting.

The painting is  by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 – 1792) and the subject is George, Prince of Wales who would later become George IV.

At 58 minutes Morse again visits Ian Matthews who shows him a painting of the apparently only known painting of the Italian painter Giovanni Bellini (1430 – 1516) by Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528).

There is no such painting of Bellini by Dürer. The actual painting the above is based is by Dürer but the painting is titled Saint James the Apostle.

Someone has reversed the image and added other elements to disguise the real painting ever so slightly. All for the good of the storyline.

The next slide Ian Matthews shows Morse is a drawing supposedly by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696 – 1770)

Thank you to Remmert who identified the above painting as Giovanni Battista Pietolo’s versions of “The Agony in the Garden” or “Cristo nell’orto degli Ulivi”.

Below is the original.

Tiepolo IV: Guardi's Sister and The Agony in the Garden | picturesinpowell

At 1 hour 13 minutes Morse returns to Paul Eirl’s mansion to question the staff. While there he looks at the painting that was painted by Paul Cezanne (1839 – 1906), commissioned by Paul Eirl’s father. It’s the painting on the right.

The painting is a Paul Cezanne and is titled The Chateau Noir.

The building is in Aix, France It was painted in 1899. Chateau Noir was then a recently constructed neo-Gothic castle designed to mimic aged ruins. Cezanne painted the Chateau numerous times between 1900 and 1906.

The picture to the left of The Chateau Noir in the screen capture above is another Cezanne. This one is called Road Curve in Montgeroult.

The scene captured in the above screen cap was filmed in the Morning Room of Brocket Hall.

At one hour and 26 minutes and 45 seconds Ian Matthews is at Harry’s studio with Morse. Ian is flipping through Harry’s paintings.

The one at the front is a pastiche of a Giovanni Bellini and is titled, Lady Combing Her Hair. See below.

The next painting Ian looks at is below.

This is a pastiche of a  Henri Matisse painting. The original is titled, Reclining Nude.

Up next is a pastiche of the French painter  Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947).

The actual painting is called Model in Backlight.

At 1 hour and 29 minutes Morse and Lewis visit Harry Field Senior’s house. There they see on a wall a painting of Harry as a child with his mother.

The above painting is based on a painting by Giovanni Bellini, Madonna and Child with Pear.


Take a look at this clip below from the episode and see if you can spot something odd about it.

Did you spot it? Four times the painting changes behind Harry Field Senior. Films and TV shows occasionally include continuity mistakes but four times in the one scene? I believe the continuity errors were intentional. Why the errors? All the paintings behind Harry Senior are possible fakes?

The paintings behind Harry Field Senior can all be found at Christchurch College. The paintings are as follows.

This is The Virgin Adoring the Child by Jacopo del Sellaio (c.1441–1493).

The next one is;

The Virgin and Child and Three Angels Piero della Francesca (c.1415–1492).

The third painting behind Harry Field Senior is;

The Virgin and Child, with Six Saints (left, Saints Catherine of Siena, Francis and Ambrose, and right, Jerome, John the Baptist and Bernardin of Siena) Sano di Pietro (1405/1406–1481).

Up next we have;

This is The Virgin and Child (Madonna of Humility) Starnina (c.1364–1413).

After the above it goes back to,

The Virgin and Child and Three Angels Piero della Francesca (c.1415–1492).

Thank you to one of my subscribers, Jenny Ribeiro for pointing me in the direction of Christchurch Picture Gallery, Oxford.

Talking of fakes.

Visiting Helen Field to inform her of Harry’s death we can see that the street name is Keatings Way.

The street Keating’s Way is an inside joke referring to Tom Keating (1917-1985), the infamous art restorer and forger.


This episode is the only Morse, Lewis and Endeavour episode where the title is a question.



Here we have a photograph of Harry doing his Marlon Brando ‘Wild One’ impression.

Mildred: Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?
Johnny: Whadda you got?


We learn in this episode that Morse can speak fluent German.


Time – 21m16s and 1h42m40s

Morse and Helen Field visit a pub.

harry country pub

Morse and Lewis visit the pub.

harry 5th pub country pub

The pub today is called the  Auberge du Lac.

auberge harry field

Location – Brocket Hall, Welwyn AL8 7XG


Time – 27m32s

Lewis wants to discuss with Morse his thoughts on trying to get promotion.

Pub – Victoria Arms, Old Marston Mill Lane Old Marston Oxfordshire OX3 0QA.

harry 3rd pub victoria arms

Pub Today

harry victoria arma 3rd pub


harry victoria arms map

Info – http://www.victoriaarms.co.uk/home


Time – 25m50s and  47m46s

Harry’s bike is found at this pub.

harry 4th pub crooked chimney

Pub – The Crooked Chimney, Cromer Hyde Lane, Lemsford, Welwyn Garden City AL8 7XE

Pub Today

crooked chimney where bike is found


crooked chimney map

Info – http://www.vintageinn.co.uk/thecrookedchimneywelwyngarden/


Paul Eirls Mansion.

The actual mansion is Brocket Hall, Lemsford, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Brocket Hall


The school where Tony Doyle works.

The location is Nicholas Hawksmoor School, Green Street, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.


Harry Field’s model Jane Marriot’s house.

Shenleybury Cottages, Shenley, Hertfordshire.

In one of Harry’s paintings there is a water tower which Lewis tries to find and relate to Harry’s model Jane.

Lewis finds the water tower and Jane.

Blenheim Mews, Shenley, Hertfordshire, England, UK.
(water tower in Harry Field’s painting)


Blackwell Bookshop where Helen Field works.

Blackwell’s Bookshop – 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford.


Morse visits the College of Arms to attain some information about heraldry.

City of London Club, 19 Old Broad Street, London


At 37 minutes and 25 seconds Morse visits his friend Ian Matthews to get his opinion on a pastiche of a Whistler. The location is used again when Matthews tells Morse about Albrecht Dürer and the Eirl’s father’s collection.

The location is the Holywell Music Room is the city of Oxford’s chamber music hall, situated on Holywell Street in the city centre, within the grounds of Wadham College. Holywell St, Oxford OX1 3SD.




Next location is when Matthews hands Morse a postcard of the Matisse painting.

The location used is Wadham College, (front quad) Parks Road, Oxford.


Morse and Lewis talk to Harry Field Senior about Paul Eirl’s father’s collection.

The location is I believe the Ashmolean, Oxford but I have to say I am not completely sure about the location.


Next location is where Harry Field’s body is found.

The location is Cherry Tree Lane over the trackbed of the dismantled Hemel Hempstead to Harpenden railway (The Nickey Line). Harry’s body is on the dismantled railway line beneath Cherry Tree Lane.


Next up we have the scene where Lewis is following Tony Doyle and one of his pupils.

Below is the route that is taken.


Next we have the scene where Lewis and Morse discuss Tony Doyle and if he might be Harry’s killer.

Morse and Lewis walk through Tom quad in Christ Church.


Trevor Byfield (Born: 20 October 1943) as Harry Field

Trevor also starred in the Lewis episode Counter Culture Blues as Bone.

John Castle (Born: January 14, 1940) as Tony Doyle.

Geraldine James (Born: July 6, 1950) as Helen Field.

Nicola Cowper (Born: December 21, 1967) Jane Marriot.

Steven Payne as Sergeant Taylor

Andy Mulligan as Gordon Collins.

Helena Lymbery as Barmaid

Sean Cranitch as Patrol Man (he is the one who found Harry’s bike).

David Belcher (Born: 1939) as Landlord

Maureen Bennett as Val Lewis. ( I think this was the first time Maureen had been credited in the Morse series. She appeared as Val four times.

Val Lewis / Wife
– Greeks Bearing Gifts (1991) … Val Lewis
– Who Killed Harry Field? (1991) … Val Lewis
– Fat Chance (1991) … Val Lewis
– Service of All the Dead (1987) … Wife

Philip Locke (Born: 1928 Died: 2004 age 76) as Freddie Mortimer.

Veronica Lang as Julia

Ronald Pickup (Born: June 7, 1940) Ian Matthews

Ronald Pickup also appeared in the Lewis episode Wild Justice as Fr Moreno Mancini.

Freddie Jones (Born: September 12, 1927) as Harry Field Senior

Vania Vilers (Born: 1938 Died: 2009 age 70) as Paul Eirl

Jeremy Clyde (Born: March 22, 1941) as Roger McMill

Dicken Ashworth as (Born: July 18, 1946) as George Drummond

Anna Patrick (Born: 1962) as Eirl’s Secretary

Stephan Grothgar as Carl (as Stephen Grothgar)

James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange

So, we come to the end of another post. I hope you not only enjoyed the post but found it helpful. Take care everyone.

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.

61 thoughts

  1. Thanks ever so much for your detailed review, they are always amazing! I like this episode for the wonderful Freddie Jones I do wish you well with the path your life is taking and send best wishes to you and all your family!

      1. Chris, I recently watched a Father Brown and thought I saw one of the portraits of Helen from this episode. The FB Episode was S8E8 look at about 6:50 into it. It may just be a similar composition. See what you think.

  2. This is a fantastic blog entry Chris; probably one of the most detailed yet, not only in identifying the multitude of paintings shown in the episode, but also finding all the locations. Seems a lot of the episode was not in Oxford, but over in Hertfordshire.

  3. Reading your fantastic postings on INSPECTOR MORSE always makes me feel like I must dive into watching the Series immediately! One of these days, one of these days… I was introduced to the Morse world by ENDEAVOUR, which now has expanded to include LEWIS. I’ve watched both Series multiple times and I absolutely love them! Even though I haven’t watched INSPECTOR MORSE itself yet, I find the insight you’ve been sharing is totally fascinating. Thank you!

    p.s.1 Glad to see you back. May God continuously watch over your Mother and you, and keep you all safe.
    p.s.2 Loved and smiled: “Leave a comment for god’s sake”!

    1. Thank you for this detailed post. I have learnt so much. I have watched the Morse and Lewis series numerous times but this has helped me understand the references better.

  4. Great post again! Keep going please, I love to read them every time.
    Visited Oxford last Friday and your research was a great help to get around. Saw a lot of locations and of course pubs mentioned in your blog!
    Regards Karel de Jeu, The Netherlands

  5. Really impressed by your detailed analyses of the episode-I came across this by chance as I was looking on line to see who else had spotted the Harry Field senior scene with the changing background paintings. I have seen this episode half a dozen times but just noticed it this time round. Thanks for all the wonderful background info!

  6. Wonderful write-up! Such a good episode. Love Morse laughing. Love the feeling between Morse and Lewis. Geraldine James is so great in this, as is the late, lamented Trevor Byfield. I thank you, yet again, for writing this blog.

  7. Hello!

    I was first introduced to Endeavour by a British colleague a couple of years ago. I really enjoy watching Endeavour. He had told me about the Morse and Lewis shows but I didn’t start watching the Morse episodes until now.

    I found your website by accident the other day. It’s a great website. And it’s very informative. It’s truly a labor of love!

    I was curious to find out why this was the last episode in which Colin Dexter had a cameo appearance. He was still living until last year.

    Thank you very much.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi and welcome to my website. Colin made many more cameos in the Morse series. If you click on ‘Colin Dexter’ page at the top of the homepage you will see posts in their about Colin’s appearances.

    2. I watched this episode this afternoon and was looking up where I might have seen Nicola Cowper before when I ran across this. What a wonderful posting, Thank you very much.

  8. Really enjoyed this information. Now approaching the end of August 2018 – all the best for your course. Most of all enjoy it. Vicki

  9. Thank You Chris for a great page on the above episode and I will be returning to it and your wonderful blog when I have time to really sit down and enjoy it . I came to this page while looking for confirmation of filming locations for the …..Harry Field ‘ episode as I live just a mile across the fields from Lemsford on the outskirts of Hatfield . I well remember me and my friends discussing this episode when it came out and spotting the locations from our locality . Filmed I would I would guess in the long hot summer of 1990 , it really shows off the Mid-Herts country side at its best. I remember another episode from the first series filmed inside my local Pub , The Long and Short Arm , in Lemsford with a great view of the village High Street over a very young Kevin Whatleys shoulder. Maybe I’ll come across that episode as I explore your these pages . One point of interest , the art work in the above episode , especially the pastiches of old masters works. A very clever plot devise and one wonders who produced or sourced them as that seems to me a hell of a lot of work . Would a modern day production team go to that much effort and expense for just fleeting glimpses of such work . Any way good luck with your future ‘Endeavours’ Craig McTaggart Herts UK

    p.s. The end shot of Nicola Cowper walking across the field toward the water is now Arsenal Fc’s training ground at London Colney , just off the M25

  10. The picture gallery where we have the amazing four paintings continuity joke behind Harry Fields senior is the Christchurch Picture Gallery, Oxford. I love that scene, it always has me in stitches!
    Thank you for this post. I loved reading the details as we watched a re-run here in Portugal.

    1. Thank you Jenny for the information. I have updated the post with this new information and the identity of the paintings behind Harry Field Senior.

  11. And further to the above, I just looked at their collection online and indeed all four of those changing paintings are there. Someone had fun!

  12. Hi There!

    Just to say how much I enjoy your channel. My husband, an Oxford educated GP now long dead used to enjoy Morse and Wagner. I am a producer of ballet, opera and bookbinding! I enjoy audio books to get myself to sleep. A book can take many weeks! I enjoy Colin Dexter’s “Last bus to Woodstock” very cleverly braided and last week I caught up with the TV production of the same book.

    It was not at all as I remembered it from the audio book so I re-listened to the audiobook and I was right. The TV producer’s re wrote the book and to my mind ruined it. I wondered just what Clin Dextor thought of the butcherey. It was blatent. It turned a fascinating murder into an accident!

    I commented on your posting and I shall comment on the TV video, some one has had the generosity to put the complete series up in full screen.

    You seem to know Dextor and do much to keep his creative ideas alive so could you ask him? Please. I hope Dextor appreciates just how much you do to keep his legacy alive. I wish I had someone to do that for me.

    1. Hi Janette and welcome to my website. I’m glad you are enjoying it. I’m afraid that Colin died in 2017. His family certainly do appreciate my work as they invited me to Colin’s memeorial service in Oxford last year and asked me to make a speech in regard to what Colin means to his many fans.

  13. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I understand the pressure you will have been under as a carer, I therefore wish you well for your studies. The biker shot of Harry, used as an homage to Brando, is, I believe, taken from an episode of The Professionals ‘Wild Justice’, 1980, wherein he appeared as King Billy (featured as Ziggy Byfield).

  14. Brilliant detail on the paintings, and one of my all-time favorite episodes! You do raise a couple of interesting questions… we have scant details on how either murder was committed, and since Harry Sr., was willing to spill the beans, he presumably could have cast light on just how he managed to leave Eirl in that condition. I seem to remember they point out marks on the ground showing how hard Eirl hits the breaks, but it’s not clear if that was from actually being stabbed or from Mr. Field rushing at the car. In hindsight, one gets the impression they must have met and spoken before the killing, and that Mr. Field was indeed in the backseat.

    Still, the strengths considerable outweigh the drawbacks, and I must say I don’t think this episode always gets as much praise as it deserves. Better than the Australian outing, imho. Especially strong turns from Geraldine James and Freddie Jones, while Vilers is underused but really effective as the smooth villain. Barrington Pheloung’s score is especially excellent and prominent, with the unusually intense “Eirl Theme” (available on one of the Morse soundtracks) unique to this episode. Speaking of Eirl, I’ve long loved both the exteriors and interiors of Brockett Hall.

    Lastly, this is the episode of Morse that turned me on to both Cezzane and Mozart’s piano works!

  15. Mark Gilbert refers above to this episode being set as much in Hertfordshire as in Oxford. Other episodes are too, the giveaway being the McMullen rather than Morrells pubs. I fancy this is as a result of production moving after early episodes produced by Kenny McBain at Bray Studios to Elstree for the Ted Childs produced series making Hertfordshire locations much closer to ‘home’ as it were.

  16. Thank you for all the details that you provide. It makes for an interesting read. I wanted to comment on something I noticed in this episode. The model Jane Marriott, mentions at the end that Harry had changed her eyes in the painting. It’s shown that way then. But, when Morse and Lewis are walking around Harry’s studio after Harry’s body is found… the eye isn’t open and angry like it is at the end. I rewinded and checked a couple of times and I’m pretty sure that’s the case. Did anyone else see that. Sorry if this is already mentioned in the comments. I didn’t see it but didn’t read them all. Cheers.

  17. Didn’t Harry Sr. have previous dealings with Eirl so that might explain why he would have been let into the car? I too noticed the paintings changing and thought the same, that it could have been a way of showing what paintings were copies by Harry Sr.?

  18. As a retired high school and college teacher, I can’t count how many times I heard people say the “corrupted” quote about teachers. I wish I had done the research you did because I never realized it was a corruption of Aristotle’s quote ‘those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.” I can see clearly how Aristotle’s idea was completely turned around into an insult, yet his intention was that teachers understand on a deeper level. You make my day and now I’m going to go rewatch the terrific epsiode and cherish that moment once again. Thanks.

    1. Hello Stephanie. It’s not often I find that I have made someone’s day. So happy to have been helpful. Enjoy the rewatching of the episode.

  19. I have just been watching this for the umpteenth time as i watch the rolling credits and listen to the theme tune it takes me back to a much happier gentler time I wish I was back there again.

  20. OK, I’ve watched this 3x and I’m seeing it again right now. It is the best episode. But….I don’t recall who was suggested was the killer. Eirl? His son?

  21. There is some confusing dealing with Eirl (or someone else?) making a phone call from his car, the one that was left sanitized in his garage. There is another confusing bit about how Eirl, having recorded Harry’s call replays it to Harry’s wife a few days later in order to establish his alibi. But by that time, Morse already knew, from the pathology report, that Harry’s been dead for 4 days PRIOR to the call, so the whole masquerade is for nothing. Then, there is the totally unrealistic way Harry sr. killed Eirl. If Eirk (or his driver) killed Harry jr. earlier, there is no way he would have allowed Harry sr. anywhere close to him. This episode is much weaker than 8 Jags. Six at the best.

    1. I found this one of the weaker episodes as well–both in terms of pacing and plot feasibility–still, great Morse/Lewis interactions and strong supporting cast.

    2. Agreed. Incredibly weak plot. How Harry Sr. pulled off the killing of Eirl is never explained. Doesn’t really seem possible. But strong episode for other reasons – Morse/Lewis interactions, art, etc.

  22. Further to the comments of Craig, above: no credit/mention seems to have been given to the artist who painted all the pastiches for the episode, as well as the originals of Harry’s wife etc,.

  23. Watching ‘Who Killed Harry Field’ the other night, I was struck by the parallel between Harry and Helen Field and Brett and Wendy Whiteley – Geraldine James’ portrayal of Helen in particular.
    While Brett Whiteley was successful and celebrated, he was even more driven and self-destructive than Harry is shown to be, surviving the making of the episode by only a year.
    This is, for me, one of the best and most memorable Morse episodes. Though the question of how the death of Eirl was accomplished is never clarified, or how the ancient, if spry, Harry Senior could have managed it. In the, probably cut, Australian Channel 72 version Harry Senior does not actually admit to anything other than a long-ago forgery. Perhaps Morse’s comment at the end suggests that he is not that interested in finding out, satisfied that justice has been done.

    1. Thank you for that big of information. I was wondering g why that location was omitted from the list.

  24. A wonderfully informative blog on this episode -which I loved. So marvellous to watch such a cast against such a canvas!
    Like Morse observes at the conclusion, it’s the journey in this episode – not the end.
    Thank you for your labours. I look forward to your book on Morse which I do hope you are going to write.
    I also appreciated your detective work on the dispiriting quote regarding teachers by George Bernard Shaw. (Now there was a curmudgeon!)

    1. I won’t be writing a book on Morse as that has already been done by a friend of mine, David Bishop. Well worth buying. I will soon be publishing a second edition of my Lewis book plus a book on the Endeavour series.

  25. Caught the last half-hour or so of this episode on my local PBS station tonight (I’ve seen them all numerous times going back decades, plus Lewis and Endeavour), and I too thought it sounded like Morse was quoting Tolkien at the end. Surfing the net I find there were multiple versions, and the one Morse quotes from is the last one, spoken by Bilbo, which appeared in “The Return of the King”:

    “The Road goes ever on and on
    Out from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    Let others follow it who can!
    Let them a journey new begin,
    But I at last with weary feet
    Will turn towards the lighted inn,
    My evening-rest and sleep to meet.”

  26. I love this informative post so much, what a wonderful wealth of information that led me to watch the episode again with fresh eyes. I’d love to know the location of the photo at the top of this page, where Morse revels to Lewis he knows he has been reading PACE and wants promotion! I tried to find it around the crooked chimney but couldn’t. Any ideas gratefully received.

  27. Great blog Chris, but we differ greatly on our view of this episode. I find it pretty weak. Flat direction and pacing, and a plot that sort of fizzles out, with a lot of unanswered questions. Very anti-climactic. Still, some nice scenes between Morse and Lewis

    1. Thanks Neil for the lovely compliment regarding my website. Differ away Neil. This is one reason for having the comments section is to allow discussion and debate. I have never deleted a comment that disagreed with my opinion.

  28. Is it possible that some of the original art work for the episode was done by Anthony Christian? One of the art works incorporates his face at upper left.

  29. One of the heraldry Latin inscriptions was similar to that carved on a bench in the Oxford University Parks I remember in the 70s onwards.””Ore statbit fortis arare placet ore stat.”” This reads really “o rest a bit for….”

    1. Thank you Tom, that is interesting. I wonder if said bench is still there at Oxford University parks.

  30. This is a strong episode, I too would go in the top 10. Probably the weakest bit is Paul Eirl and how on earth he ended up dead.

    I always assumed that Tony Doyle took photos and spent time with teenage girls (hence the rapid bonfire), but when it came to sex itself he went to Helen Field.

    Great cast who created believable characters. The wake scene for example is fanastic seeing the different emotions.

  31. I love your website, and admire the hard work you put in to comment so extensively on all the Morse episodes. The other day, I watched this episode again, and was glad to also find your website again.

    Two comments on the paintings. The one I enjoyed most is the Rembrandt self portrait, showing a happy Harry Field – his mischievous grin is quite infectious.
    Then, you had trouble finding the Tiepolo, but that may be because you thought is was a drawing! The slide image does make it appear to be in black and white, but the actual painting is done ‘en brunaille’. It is one of Giovanni Battista Pietolo’s versions of “The Agony in the Garden” or “Cristo nell’orto degli Ulivi”. Also, the slide shows only part of the painting, which measures 48 cm by 26 cm, almost twice as high as it is wide. Still, you can see the Angel holding the cup, one sleeping disciple in the bottom right (there are two more down below), and mid right the mob coming for the arrest. The painting is on display at Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire, which boasts one of the finest collections of Italian Old Master paintings in private hands (https://collections.burghley.co.uk/collection/the-agony-in-the-garden-by-giambattista-tiepolo-1696-1770/). You’ll find the Tiepolo in the First George room, and I plan to go see it next time I visit the U.K.

    1. One thing I’ve wondered about concerning the paintings. While Harry’s father is speaking to Morse, although to my eye he is remaining in one position, the paintings behind him keep changing. At first I thought maybe a continuity error but possibly another significance or I may just be wrong about his stationery position?

      1. Kathleen, I write about this very thing in my post on this episode. I also made a video about it some years ago.

      2. Thank you Chris. I hadn’t discovered your wonderful website, or even the Inspector Morse series, until later on after your original Morse reviews. But now I have an incentive to read the early Morse reviews.

    2. Thank you Remmert for identifying the painting. I have included your information in the post.

  32. My favourite Morse and I remember feeling oddly vindicated in this when ITV chose it as the episode they aired in memory of John Thaw after his death had just been announced.

    It’s got rather fewer implausibilities than most Morses, though I agree it is hard to envisage just how Eirl met his end. The whole business of Eirl tricking Harry into recording a message for his wife that was later used to disguise when exactly he had been murdered has also baffled me. How exactly did Eirl manage this? And also why? After bumping off Harry, why not just bury his body somewhere on the vast estate and trust that no one will ever find it or make a connection?

    The great performances of Freddie Jones, Geraldine James and Ronald Pickup are three good reasons for liking this episode, as well as the locations, the photography, the art and the music. Also I like the fact that, for once, Morse meets a middle aged woman through his investigation and doesn’t spend the whole episode trying to form a romantic engagement with her – a personal bugbear of mine. It is also the only episode I can think of where he meets a male character he admits to liking – albeit it is Harry Field himself and he’s dead.

    On a location note – the place where Harry Field Snr apparently lives is something of a mystery – both where it is meant to be and the location of filming.

  33. Just discussed your blog. Very well done.
    I very much enjoyed this episode. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between Endeavour and the original series – it feels like Endeavour tries to tackle larger themes, but sometimes I find that off-putting. This story really hit the spot.

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