A Review of Morse Episode, ‘Dead on Time’. Plus the Locations, Music and Literary References.

Hello everyone and thank you for your patience regarding the lack of posts in the last two weeks. Life as we all know has habit of getting in the way of things. I had some virus that knocked me off my feet but thankfully I am much better now. There are also a few other irritations that are occupying my mind. Those irritations are not fully resolved but I decided to give myself the proverbial kick in the arse and decide to stop feeling sorry for myself.

Anyhoo, thank you all for your continuing support and I hope you enjoy the following post.

Chronologically this is episode 21. (Series 6 episode 1).

First broadcast in the UK on 26 February 1992.

This episode is not based on a Colin Dexter novel.

Where’s Colin?

Blink and you will miss him. He is one of the concert guests at 24minutes and 35 seconds.


Thanks to Anna who spotted Colin at around the 23 minute mark sitting next to Susan Fallon. (She is hidden behind the Violinist).


Directed by John Madden: he also directed The Infernal Serpent, Promised land and The Way Through the Woods.

Written by Daniel Boyle: he also wrote the episodes, Second Time Around, Happy Families, Deadly Slumber, The Day of the Devil.


An Oxford Don, Henry Fallon, who recently returned form America is found shot in what appears to be a suicide. A complication arises in the shape of Henry’s wife, Susan, who it transpires, much to Lewis’s surprise, was engaged to be married to Morse.

Lewis receives a call from Henry Fallon’s doctor, John Marriat, who had been on holiday during his patient’s death, to ask if Morse and Lewis could visit his surgery. The visit to the surgery and the subsequent information passed on by the doctor to Morse and Lewis questions the coroner’s inquest verdict of suicide.

A complicated case and a complicated relationship between Morse and Susan makes solving the case difficult and leaves Lewis having to untangle those two complications without upsetting his boss.

(warning, this review may contain some spoilers)

This is one of my all time favourite episodes and what a cracking start to the sixth series. Looking at this episode at a fundamental level it has all the elements for a great crime episode; apparent suicide, an apparent murder, romance, tears, laughter, pathos, shocks and a partnership that keeps evolving between Morse and Lewis.

I’m repeating myself but once again the producers gathered together an excellent cast of British character actors; Richard Pasco as William Bryce-Morgan,  David Haig as Peter Rhodes,  Adrian Dunbar as John Marriat,  Samantha Bond as Helen Marriat and of course the lovely Joanna David as Susan Fallon. I wonder if it was seen as a badge of honour amongst actors to be asked to appear in Inspector Morse? I would have appeared on the show for nothing. However I am not an actor and cannot act. Though my kids say I am good at acting the fool.

This episode showed the warmth and depth to the relationship between Morse and Lewis. Lewis of course has the more difficult role in this relationship as he tries to help solve the case but tread on eggshells when the case becomes entangled in Morse’s romance with Susan. Lewis’s struggle to decide what he should do with the cassette tape is wonderful and Kevin Whately shows his acting mettle as he struggles between his love and admiration for Morse and his duty as a policeman. The conclusion to his struggle is wonderfully poignant and may bring a tear to the eye.

The scenes between John Thaw and Joanna David are electrifying. Joanna David’s character Susan’s struggle with the past and the present is mesmerising as she struggles with her love for her dead husband and her re-found love for Morse. Joanna David’s subtle and restrained performance is sublime. John Thaw’s acting performance is majestic as he tries to control the turmoil of emotions that are within him and also solve a case of the death of a man who ‘stole’ the great love of his life.

Lewis’s remark to Morse that it all makes sense somewhat that Morse is sullen and “sour” as Lewis puts it after he finds out that Morse was close to marrying a very beautiful woman, Susan. This is a very telling statement by Lewis and it does give a great insight into why Morse does have a sour temperament at times. One does find as one gets older and finding yourself alone that one thinks back on those lost loves with some bitterness. It is all a matter of ‘if only’ and ‘what ifs’.

The only reason this episode didn’t receive a ten out of ten is the character of McGregor played by James Grant. I write character but it is more of a caricature. I do believe that the actor is Scottish but he laid on that accent with a trowel. In all my years of living in Scotland I have never heard that particular accent or that speech pattern.

Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.


The main piece of music in this episode is Scubert’s String Quintet in C major. The movement at the beginning of the episode is the second.

The above piece is played a few more times through the episode. Significantly the above piece turns up in an episode of the Endeavour series, ‘Lazarreto‘, series four, episode three. The piece is played at around the the 21 minute mark in the Endeavour episode.

At the concert that Morse and Susan attend we still have the Schubert Quintet but this time the fourth movement.

Literary References.

None that I am aware of.


Thanks to Nancy for the following IDs and information.

Nancy says the picture to the right of Morse

Is “Woman Reading a Letter” by Jan Vermeer.


Nancy wrote, “Watching episode “Dead on Time,” I also realized that the Turandot opera poster which often appears in Morse’s police office now hangs in Morse’s living room. Next to it is the “Madama Butterfly” poster, too.”


Our first location is the church where Mrs Marriot meets Morse to tell him she doesn’t believe Peter Rhodes killed Henry Fallon.

The location is St Michael’s Church, Bray, Berkshire, England, UK.

Here is Morse walking up to where Mrs Marriot is sitting waiting for him.

Below is how it looks today and the next picture is looking down the lane from the church. In the above picture you can see the red brick houses in the background.

Morse’s car is parked next to the white fence in the background.


Next up we have Byres Hall the home of William Bryce-Morgan.

The house is actually Nether Winchendon House, Nether Winchendon, Buckinghamshire.

Image result for Nether Winchendon House, Nether Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, England


Up next we have Morse and Lewis’s only visit to a pub at 56 minutes.

I believe the pub is the Turf Tavern. The Turf Tavern, 4-5 Bath Place, Oxford OX1 3SU. http://www.turftavern-oxford.co.uk/

silent world turf tavern

the-turf-tavern silent world


Our next scene is when Morse and Susan are out walking at 37 minutes into the episode.

The river is the Cherwell and we are looking at Magdalen College in the background.


The next scene is when Morse  is lying down and Susan tells him he should be working. Morse replies, “I’m a detective. Detectives think. Today I choose to do my thinking lying down.”

This was filmed in Deer Park, Magdalen College. In the background you can see the tower of Magdalen College. In the middle ground you can see a large gate to the right and a smaller one to the left. Below is a better picture of them.


Ar around 11 minutes William Bryce-Morgan goes to London to let Susan know about her husband. The building is the Senate House, University College London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London.

Malet Street is the road that runs perpendicular to the road where the still is filmed.


At 23 minutes Morse and Susan attend a concert.

The location is the Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street, Oxford.


After the inquest Morse talks to Susan.

The location is in Reading. The steps Morse and Lewis walk down after the inquest belong to the Forbury Hotel. The Reading Crown Court is next door.

At the end of the episode Lewis finds Morse standing again at Deer Park.

The one location that has been driving me mad is Peter Rhodes antique shop. I just can’t pin it down to where it is. If anybody can help let me know. There isn’t much to go on but here are the best views. Update 11th March 2018. LUCINDA HARTSTONE  has told me the location of the antiques shop is in Eton, by Eton Porny First School, High Street, Eton.

Sadly, the shop is now a Budgens, a small grocery shop.

At 1 hour and four minutes Susan and the doctor meet.

This is the Vaults and Garden Cafe which is part of University Church of St Mary the Virgin.

23 minutes. – After the recital attended by Morse and Susan.

It is difficult to make an accurate identification as we the viewer do not get to see much of the location. With all that ivy in the background it could be Exeter College or Lincoln College but I think it’s Hertford College. I have looked through the scene slowly and careful and I am close to 100% in believing it’s Hertford.


The gun that killed Henry Fallon was his own. The gun box reads “To Dear Henry. Bon Voyage“. I cannot make out the rest. This must have been his going away present from the Oxford University when he left for America.


The character of Susan is based on the character of Wendy Spencer in the Colin Dexter novel, The Riddle of the Third Mile. However this episode is not based on that novel but it was used as a basis for the Morse episode The Last Enemy.

Morse was besotted by Wendy and because of that he failed his final exams. In actual fact Wendy also failed her doctorate or to be more precise it was terminated due to the lack of any work being delivered to the University. Wendy started work at the bar in the Randolph Hotel so after.

Joanna David who plays Susan is Laurence Fox‘s aunt.

Image result for joanna david laurence fox

Joanna David and Laurence Fox.

Quote Me. (Interesting dialogue from the episode)

At ten minutes Lewis is visiting Bryce Morgan to inform him of his brother in law’s death.

Lewis – “That’s quite a machine.”

Bryce Morgan – “You should have one, believe me”.

Lewis – I wouldn’t know where to put it sir.”

Bryce Morgan – “Between your knees man”.


At twenty minutes. After the inquest Morse talks to Susan and then returns to lewis.

Lewis – “You know it kind of explains things sir. Losing a woman like that I might have turned a bit sour myself.”


At around the 22 minute mark Lewis finds Morse in his office getting dressed to go to a concert. Lewis tells Morse he too is going out for the evening to a new Indian restaurant.

Lewis – “I’m a steak and baked potato man myself, but Mrs Lewis likes to live on the culinary edge.”


Morse and Susan are out in Oxford and Morse is lying on a bench.

Susan – “You’re supposed to be working.”

Morse – “I’m a detective. Detectives think, mainly. Today I choose to do my thinking lying down.”


At 44 minutes Morse has been invited over to lunch with Susan and Bryce Morgan.

Bryce Morgan – “So Morse, a police man eh. You surprised me I must say.”

Morse – “How so?”

Bryce Morgan – “A writer. Always had you pegged as a future literary gent. Calm on the outside but inside heaving with all manner of passions waiting to be expressed.”


At one hour and 13 minutes Morse has just had his head bitten off by Chief Inspector Strange. Lewis and Morse exit the office.

Morse – “What the hell is wrong with the man?”

Lewis – “he said sir, he just wants to be sure.”

Morse – “That’s what we all want isn’t it…Matey.”

Connections to the Endeavour and/or Lewis series.

At 13 minutes when Susan and William visit the police station they are greeted by a WPC. We barely get to see the actor’s face but her name is Lesley Vickerage.

Lesley appeared in an episode of Lewis, Down Among the Fearful (2013 Series 7, Episode 1). She played Katherine Dutta.


Richard Hampton who played the coroner will turn up again as the coroner in the Morse episode Absolute Conviction.


James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange (Born: 1926 Died: 2012)

Brendan O’Hea as Telecom Engineer

David Haig as Peter Rhodes

Susan Jane Tanner as Nurse Rogers

James Walker as Henry Fallon (Died: 28 February 2017)

James Grant as McGregor

Richard Pasco as William Bryce-Morgan (Born: 1926. Died: 12 November 2014)

Joanna David as Susan Fallon

Christopher Owen as Solicitor

Richard Hampton as Coroner

Samantha Bond as Helen Marriat

Adrian Dunbar as John Marriat

Dominic Keating as Murray Stone

Well that is all for this post. I hope you enjoyed it. Take care.

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.

116 thoughts

  1. Susan appears — or rather the back of a woman implied by context to be Susan — in Endeavour s4e3 ‘Lazaretto’. Her mother Caroline (Phoebe Nicholls) has a speaking part. Her father Edgar (uncredited) dies in hospital after a stroke in the course of the episode. Their family home, with which Morse is familiar, appears in one scene (sadly no listing under filming locations).

    1. Further speculation: the box inscription could end with the following three letters – “CSA” Having just returned from the US, they could stand for “Confederate States of America”

  2. I am re-watching all of IM and it’s great to come here and read your interesting observations after each episode. Thanks for all your hard work, it’s much appreciated.

  3. You have absolutely no idea how I have been waiting to find a blog exactly like yours. Thank you so much for all that I love.

  4. I’ve been binge watching Morse, and this is so far my favorite episode. Don’t know why, maybe the cast, maybe Lewis seeming to come into his own in this one. Nevertheless, will continue to the end.

    1. You really feel a mature love between Morse and Susan. The feelings stay with you.

  5. Thank you for this review and your site! I watched the episode last night; hadn’t seen it for years. It was a bit of a record in our house because in a single episode we’ve seen three of the actors live on stage: J. David, Haig and Bond. (Daniel Boyle is credited as the writer, not Julian Mitchell.) I was confused by the inheritance – I didn’t catch or understand why Henry Fallon left nothing to his wife, and how that fit. I agree it’s an excellent episode.

    1. Henry left nothing for Susan because he knew she planned to take her own life. They had made what amounted to a suicide pact.

      1. That’s one way of looking at it. Additionally, however, leaving her nothing in his will ensured that any potential police interest would be deflected away from her. They had already planned his death to look like suicide which would later be identified as murder, so had he left her everything the police could have seen her as a potential murder suspect benefiting from his death. Leaving her nothing ensured the son-in-law was the only viable suspect (the brother clearly didn’t need the cash and the doctor from the assisted suicide organisation had already alerted the police to the suspicion that it was murder, not suicide).

  6. Dear Chris.
    What a superb Blog you have created. I have only discovered Inspector Morse and his world a few months ago and I am “passionate” about it. I am more than thrilled to be on your Blog which has been recommended to me. You are doing an amazing job – dedicated to all details. I do appreciate this very much and I know how much work and dedication you put into your Reviews.
    I am myself a webmaster of two websites. My subject are the books of late French author Juliette Benzoni (some of her books were also translated into English in the Sixties) Thank you so much for all the information concerning Inspector Morse. Thanks to you I am catching up… as they say: “Better late than never”. Best to you, Linda

  7. Hi Chris,
    I just watched this episode yesterday. And I really enjoyed it very much.
    I always go to your website to learn more about the episode.
    Thank you for spending so much time putting together such a great website.
    By the way, I thought I would let you know that your picture of Professor Fallon slumped on his desk is posted upside down.

    1. Hi Christian. Thank you for your lovely comment. In regards to the photo, it’s upside down to show the inscription on the case that contained the gun.

    1. The tape proved that Fallon never actual talked to his wife, Susan as she was actually in the house at the time. This meant she had no alibi becuase of course she helped her husband take his own life. Lewis threw the tape away to save Morse further heartbreak. Susan was dead so there was no sense in blackening her name.

      1. However it does not prove that Susan was in Henry Fallon’s house, only that she was not in her flat to take the call; e.g.she might have been in London out shopping.

      2. Agree with you Chris. Lewis’ handling of the cassette Is very significant in demonstrating the strong relationship between Lewis and Morse, where Lewis didn’t want to break Morses heart, after the strong indications that Morse and Susan had spent the night together 2 nights earlier (Which had resulted in morse being sleepy and in attentive The next morning).

    2. Mike, either Susan or the good Doctor had to be at the house to disconnect the phone line, then reinstall the phone for that call to the Son-in-Law and then disconnect again for the repairman to fix

  8. I loved this episode and I’m so glad that Susan and Morse “got together” at the end. I must say, Chris, that I like hearing the Scottish accent even though it might be exaggerated. As an American I’m not sure what is and what isn’t common usage except from what you say. It is unique! I did watch Broadchurch and I believe he is Scottish. Loved it.

  9. This ep was just on tv. I noticed that Joanna David is Emilia Fox’s mother… Emilia is Dr. Nikki Alexander on Silent Witness. They really do look and sound like each other. 🙂 A talented family! 🙂

  10. Just watched this episode the other day. Fantastic. I agree with so many of your observations. Whately’s Lewis was great in this episode. Loved the ending. Concerning the tossing of the answering machine tape, Lewis saw that there was no need to give Morse even more things to be upset about. A kindness he struggled to decide to do.
    Concerning accents, I’m an American, so I am at a disadvantage when it comes to distinguishing among the various accents of the UK. In my ignorance, I thought the young doctor’s Scottish accent sounded more fake than the butler’s accent. I thought I had seen that doctor in other roles as Irish characters in other crime shows … maybe Frost or Cracker or Trial and Retribution. Anyway, so many good actors in this episode. I liked David Haig’s performance. He did well with that character. Please continue the good work of this site .

    1. Adrian Dunbar, who played Dr Marriat, is an actor from Northern Ireland – and he’s using his own native Irish accent in this episode. He has appeared in many films and tv series and over the last few years has become best known as Superintendent Ted Hastings in the highly regarded and hugely popular BBC series “Line Of Duty”. (A series that’s well worth seeking out, it you can get it in the US!)

      1. Hi Jay, I admit as an American, I’m not that familiar with the different accents but I thought Dr. Marriat (Adrian Dunbar) had a Scottish accent. I’m guessing a Northern Ireland accent would be different from the Rep. of Ireland because I’ve been to Dublin and the western part and had no trouble recognizing that accent. Never been to No. Ireland, unfortunately was scheduled to go but had to cut my trip short.

      2. He definitely has a Irish accent. Northern Irish and the Southern Irish accents are very different as is the way in Scotland.

  11. This blog answered questions I had about Endeavour’s conversations with Caroline who grave the impression through her wrath that he had left Susan, not that Susan had found a rich doctor more to her mother’s liking.

  12. After she assisted in her husband’s death, how did Susan get back to London so quickly? This is where we see her when she’s informed of his death.

    1. Well, she only had to get to London faster than her brother did. London’s not that far from Oxford. About 60 miles. And she had to get there fast enough to deliver her lecture – that’s the real sticky point. But presumably that wasn’t an issue.

  13. My theory- I think Susan had assistance. I think Dr. Mariat came back from Scotland a few days early. He waited for Susan at some agreed rendezvous point that evening (away from the road that Nurse and Peter Rhodes travelled on). He drove back to London, dropped Susan at College and maybe checked into hotel and lay low for a few days to wait. When Susan let him know the inquest had been finalised, he re-appeared (back from Ben Nevis as Strange puts it! ) to raise doubts about Henry’s ability to hold a gun.
    On the night of Henry’s death, Susan and Dr. Mariat may have counted on Rhodes panicking and possibly fleeing the scene, so the body might not be discovered til the morning. They couldn’t anticipate that Morse would appear as the officer in charge, he being the one person who knew where to find Susan’s brother, who then sped off to London to find her. My theory anyway

    1. Good thoughts, Julie B. I don’t think Mariat went anywhere far, except away from his wife. In retrospect, asking him for his hotel receipts, as some police might, would have made him suspect of something early on.

      1. But, he was in Scotland and played no part in the death of Henry Fallon. Susan Fallon makes it quite clear, around the one hour and 30 minute mark, that she alone fired the gun that killed Henry. That she alone watched him die.

  14. Dominic Keating would go on to play Lt. Malcom Reed for 98 episodes on “Star Trek: Enterprise” from 2001-2005.

  15. Just stumbled across this site when looking for a brief recap. Truthfully only skimmed, however, rather enjoyed the level of detail and the writing. Will have to review more of your site when time permits a more leisurely read… Cheers!

  16. The building with the outdoor steps outside which Morse and Lewis talk is Reading Crown Court. I live nearby. Incidentally, the car drives up from a dead end 50 metres past the court.

    1. Hi Pastuzo. Thank you for the information. On looking at the area it is actually The Forbury Hotel steps they walk down. The hotel is adjacent to the Crown Court.

  17. Dear Mr Sullivan (Chris). I am a retired Queens Oxford grad (maths) but I can’t figure out the overall plot of this great episode. Any chance you could post (& email) to me a 1-2 page essay explaining it all? . e.g. why does Dr Marriot want to get the inquest re-opened? That’s just one of dozens of mysteries to me. The whole story and the characters’ motives has me stumped.
    By the way, doing and publishing a solid plot summary for all the episodes would be extremely worthwhile. Same for Midsommer murders. I doubt if more than 5% of viewers truly understand these plots. If you do it, please let me know!
    Yours sincerely
    Alan Singer

    1. Hello Alan. I’m sorry I don’t have the time to write a one or two page essay but I will write a summary of the episode here. Henry and Susan Fallon’s daughter and grand-daughter were killed in a car crash caused by their son in law, Peter Rhodes. Rhodes was an alcoholic and this was one of the contributing factors of the crash. Henry and Susan Fallon blamed him for the death of their daughter and grand-daughter. Henry is dying from a debilitating illness. Henry and Susan along with Marriot set up a scenario where it will look like Henry has committed suicide but Peter Rhodes will get the blame. Henry Fallon could not live with the thought of his illness destroying his brain so he decided to commit suicide but at the hand of his wife Susan. Dying when he wanted to but also getting revenge on his son in law. Marriot also hated Rhodes because his wife had an affair with Peter Rhodes and she was still in love with him. Marriot had hoped that with Peter Fallon in jail his wife would love him again. Marriat conveniently made himself unavailable for the inquest so that when he returned from his sojourn in Scotland he could show his findings on the illness of Peter Fallon and prove that he could not have committed suicide. This allowed blame to be pointed at Peter Rhodes as it looked like it could only be him who shot Peter Fallon as he was at the house just before Susan Fallon shot her husband. Susan had been in the house all day while the telephone line was being repaired. Once she shot her husband she drove back to London. I hope this helps.

      1. Very fine summary Chris. Although, having just watched this episode again on DVD, it occurs to me that, while Susan clearly Was the killer of her husband Peter as part of a mutual suicide plot, she must have been extremely effective at concealing herself given that the maid / cleaner had been in the house that day

      2. Hi Tony. The Fallon house is huge and I can only assume that the nurse would have had no need to go upstairs.

  18. Could Doctor Marriat have been charged with any crime under British law as it existed in 1992? Could Doctor Marriat be charged with any crime under British law as it exists in 2020? (I ask the question twice because perhaps British law has changed on the subject of assisted suicide in the last 28 years.)

    Thanks for creating and operating this outstanding website, Chris. It is an invaluable resource for Morseheads like me.

    1. Hi Larry and welcome to my website. The law hasn’t changed in the UK in the intervening years but there has been a change in the way the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) deals with such cases. Suicide was decriminalised by the Suicide Act in 1961 but it remains a criminal offence in the UK to assist or encourage another person to take their own life. Anyone who breaks this law could face up to 14 years in prison. Nevertheless, a person who has committed the offence will not always be prosecuted. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has discretion over whether to do this and has published guidance on the topic. There have been some recent cases where British people have assisted suicide by taking their dying loved ones to the Swiss organisation Dignitas. On return to the UK they have been arrested but all charges were dropped. In the case of Dr Marriat, it would be difficult to prove his involvement. I hope this answer helps in some small way.

      1. Thank you Chris. It does help.

        Thinking further on this matter, it occurred to me that assisting a suicide is one thing, but shooting a guy to kill him, even with his “consent”, is something else. That takes it into a whole different realm. If Susan had not committed suicide, she would, I think, have been liable for prosecution for murder. And maybe even Doctor Marriat as well, for conspiring with her in advance of the shooting.

        Also, surely it is a crime of SOME sort to attempt to frame an innocent man (in this case, Peter Rhodes) with murder. Both Doctor Marriat and Susan (had she lived), would have been liable for prosecution for that act as well.

        My last thought (I promise): the fact that Susan could engage in a plot like that, to frame Rhodes in such a cold-blooded way, reveals something very lacking in her character. I personally think that Morse should have been made aware of what Susan was capable of. Others will probably disagree with me on this, and that’s fine.

  19. Hello, Chris.

    Love your blog!!

    I have a question about “Dead on Time” that I don’t think anyone else has asked. I would very much like to know what your answer to it is.

    At the very end of the episode there is some cross- cutting between Morse and Lewis walking together and Dr. Marriat entering Susan’s London flat, as she had requested at their final meeting, We see alternate shots of Morse and Lewis, and then the doctor unlocking first one lock, then another, going into the flat, looking around, etc. (I hope I am remembering the episode accurately.)

    My question is: Why? Why the cross-cutting?
    The images of Morse and Lewis talking quietly together are lovely and speak volumes about the supportive nature of their relationship. Morse, torn apart by grief, has been out all night. And Lewis is so worried about Morse that he has spent the entire night looking everywhere for him.

    But cutting back and forth to the doctor takes the viewer in an entirely different direction. Why are we seeing this? What is the purpose of it? Is the doctor going to stumble across some other horrible secret in Susan’s flat? A patently absurd notion, but the shots of him looking around definitely seem to be building up to SOMETHING. And then we cut back to Lewis and Morse deciding to have breakfast together. And that’s where the episode ends!

    It’s just very baffling and confusing. An odd choice for the writer, director, and editor to make. Why insert that footage of the doctor?? It is distracting, and comes close to spoiling the scene between Morse and Lewis. I don’t get it!

    Any insight you can provide would be much appreciated.


    1. Hi Gretchen. Dr Marriat went to Susan’s flat to collect the message left by Susan’s husband on her answering machine. If you remember Henry supposedly talked to Susan after the telephone repair guy had repaired the phone line. As we know Lewis found the message and this proved that Susan was not at the flat. Henry’s call was to give Susan an alibi as it was witnessed by the phone repair man. When Dr Marriat finds the tape recording gone he knows that someone is now aware that Susan lied. I loved that scene especially with the cuts between Lewis throwing the tape and Dr Marriat finding the phone recording machine empty. I hope that helps Gretchen.

      1. Thank you for explaining this episode. I enjoyed it but was very confused at the end. I searched the web and found your blog. Your blog is very informative. Now all my questions have been answered.
        So sorry to her your mom.

  20. Oh, yes, this helped a lot! You cleared it up completely! Somehow I didn’t pick up that he was there to retrieve the tape. Silly me!!

    It all makes sense now. And I agree that the scene was artfully shot.

    I really want to watch the episode again now!

    Thank you so much, Chris!

  21. Larry, I am one of those people who would have liked Morse to be told about Susan. Why let him go on with an idolized image of her? She hurt him so much by dumping him in the first place! And I think that Morse would have not felt so badly if he knew why she couldn’t resume her relationship with him instead of just thinking she just didn’t care enough about him. That hurt him more than the truth of what Susan did.

  22. One more thing about Susan. I thought she was unnecessarily callous at the inquest, knowing Morse was there, when she made a point of saying they were “happier than any couple had a right to be.” And did she choose Henry just because he was an “exceptional” man, so she saw a better future for herself and Morse could not give that to her? But he would not have left Oxford if not for her so who knows what he would have achieved. But although I did not like her for Morse and did not like her myself, the heart wants what the heart wants.

    1. I agree with Kathleen, Susan USED Morse (like several other women in the series), misdirecting him at every opportunity. She never loved him, she was just leading him on. There is one disappointment: after Morse extracts the truth out of Helen, sees that Peter was set up but he still doesn’t get the complete picture , he gets hung up in seeing Helen’s husband as the perp. At no point he makes the effort of verifying the doctor’s alibi (that he was in Scotland). For this, only 8 Jags.

      1. Right! Where did you stay in Scotland, what hotel/inn, etc. ? Basic police work.

    2. Susan was a very selfish character. Morse must have had beer goggles on at university and carried an idealised image of her for years. She was deeply unpleasant and also quite boring as a person, too in this episode. Not to mention a criminal. I really disliked her too. I liked that Lewis saw through her for Morse’s sake as well as solving the crime, and that he had Morse’s back. Poor old Morse grieving all those years for an illusion.

      1. I think part of the problem is that Susan is played as just a little bit too wide-eyed and simpering, which tends to highlight her manipulative side instead of the grieving side

  23. compliments on having such an informative blog. i’m still in lockdown and have been tearing though a bunch of box-sets that have been sitting on the shelf for many years. anyway its the turn of IM and i have to say that it’s proving to be most compelling. it’s also nice to find a complementary blog that’s matches up to the intricacies of the series.Kudos.

    1. Welcome AJ. Thank you for such a lovely comment. I hope you continue to find things of interest on my website.

  24. I agree with several of the comments that it would have been nice for Morse to learn the truth about Susan and her true motivations. I understand why Lewis saw no reason to further hurt Morse, but maybe with time, he will tell him. Such a good episode though and I enjoyed getting clarity to what happened between Morse and Susan. The Endeavour episode exposed Susan’s mother as cold-hearted and against the relationship. I imagined that she was an influence on Susan’s choice to leave Morse.

    1. Yes, it’s not clear to me that Morse is better off thinking that she was innocent, but didn’t love Morse enough to change her mind about suicide.

  25. Excellent summary Chris. Just one point of difference though. I realise you’re Scottish, from seeing you speak on your various videos. I thought however that the character of McGregor played by James Grant was really amusing, and added a bit of levity to what was otherwise a fairly tragic and complex plot. The interplay between McGregor and his master, on the mechanical Horse and then the little routine about the lemonade, were intended I think to operate like Italian opera buffo or farce, to Leaven the multiple tragedies and the deaths playing out in the episode. Laddie, if it was up to me, I would restore the star that you cruelly withheld on account of McGregor. 😉

    1. Tony, I absolutely agree. I got a few chuckles out of McGregor and I really liked his relationship with Susan’s brother.

      1. That’s a Highland accent. Have you not met any ‘teuchters Chris?
        Grant’s performance is perfectly in tune with how English directors envisaged certain Scottish stereotypes at the time.

  26. What a wonderful blog! I’ve just recently discovered and started binge watching Inspector Lewis, then Endeavor and now finally onto the original: Inspector Morse. I may re-watch them in sequence again… but I’m so glad to have discovered your blog, especially the music and location references. As an American, I really appreciate your analysis of the various accents of the characters. I watched Inspector Morse with Endeavor on my mind already.. and appreciate this background story about Morse’ love of his life. I feel better knowing Morse had some romanic interests in his earlier years (in Endeavor).. perhaps his work is his life. What you can’t have always feels like it’s the best thing.. but in reality, perhaps the Inspector’s lifestyle is the best the way it is so he’s free to do what he does best as a detective without the burden of having to meet certain social status requirement so his spouse won’t feel pressured, especially since we met the toxic mother of Susan. Really appreciate the friendship of Lewis and Morse, and love that Morse is starting to treat Lewis better (i mean the man saved him from prison!)

    1. Hi Jelly and welcome to my website. Dead on Time is a great episode and the ending with Lewis and the cassette is lovely. Morse’s work is his life though if he found the right woman he would be willing to share his life with them. I hope you find much more on my website of interest.

  27. A small thing but I loved how Morse said of Fallon “…he was really quite brilliant” – superlative intonation…an acting masterclass. I don’t want to be rude but it really highlights the limitations of someone like a Roger Allam

    1. I think we need to remember, Stephen, that ‘Morse’ is an Oxford graduate and therefore John Thaw is being asked to play a very well educated and articulate character, whereas Roger Allam (a great actor) is playing a far less sophisticated character and plays to that role of the blunt, honest copper quite brilliantly. Mike.

  28. Love the blog Chris. Been watching Inspector Morse this winter having lived in Oxford for five years and I like to see how my surroundings used to be (and still are). This brilliant episode, I must say, illustrates that Morse leads such a tragic life.

  29. It’s amazing the amount of research and time you’ve put into this excellent website. In light of how much respect I have for your devotion Morse I thought you’d like to know I’ve recently watched this episode again and realized you credited Julian Mitchell as the writer when it was actually Daniel Boyle.

  30. I just watched this episode, and I was wondering if that’s a young Sue Perkins sitting next to Morse at the concert in the Sheldonian? It looks rather like her, but there’s no mention of it anywhere on the interwebs that I can find. What do you think?

    1. Hi Lauren. There is no mention in Perkins’ IMDB account. I will have a look at the episode.

      1. Thanks Chris. There’s no mention of it anywhere I can find. I’ve done a quick screen grab & hopefully the link will work, so you can see if you think it might be her. It just caught my eye as I was watching – but because no one else has mentioned it, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m mistaken!


      2. The girl certainly has a resemblance to Sue Perkins but looking at photos of Sue from the 1990s I don’t think it is. Sue’s face is more round than the girls in the scene. Let’s see what everyone else thinks.

  31. Once again, Thank you for your superb blog. I have one niggle with this excellent episode. The critical 3PM call from Henry Fallon, the victim, to his son-in-law, Peter Rhodes, to ensure Peter is present at the murder scene without an alibi is too critical an element for the police to fail to determine through phone records that such a call was actually made. Lewis should have done this prior to arresting Peter Rhodes or certainly afterward.

    1. This is a thought that first came to my mind when watching this episode. Why wouldn’t Lewis speak directly with the phone company right off the bat instead of just assuming Peter Rhodes was lying? But I agree this in no way detracted from this excellent episode.

      1. Good point, Kathleen. However, even good coppers are lousy policemen sometimes. Meaning that, Lewis , at that point, had made up his mind that Rhodes was the killer, and was not pursuing leads as he should. He should have attempted to verify the call time immediately, but didn’t because , at that time, he was sure Rhodes was the killer. That changes later, of course, when Lewis can’t accept Rhodes as the killer. But it’s bad police work nonetheless.

    2. The telephone company wouldn’t necessarily have records of local phone calls. (I know they wouldn’t in the US. At least not back in the early 90s.)

  32. I watched/streamed Dead on Time last night and was tremendously moved by the episode. I was in tears when it finished.

    1. It is a wonderful episode, Sheldon and of course one of my all time favourite episodes in the Morse Universe.

  33. I just watched Death is Now My Neighbor again and I still wonder why didn’t Julian Storrs find it odd that Angela’s daughter was in their room and in his bed? Why did he think she was there and where did he think his wife Angela was? I think it was the consensus that he didn’t know what Angela was planning or what she did but did he after the daughter showed up and Angela was gone? And if he didn’t know anything, what did he think was going on?

  34. Kathleen, did you post this here by mistake, instead of the Death is Now My Neighbour page ?

  35. The story line in this episode is entirely poetic and tragic. It is extremely painful to watch Morse fall for his doe-eyed siren yet another time to have his ship wrecked. She is the most amiable appearance, but with her husband she concocts an evil plot against their son-in-law. Her husband who, as a law professor, used to spend his life telling people how to discern right from wrong. But facing injustice and crippling disease in their personal lives, many rules of law seem to turn have turned relative to the two. I won’t go on about how I think Susan is a selfish brat for having left her fiancé for someone else, because that would be way too judgemental… but doesn’t fate turn its ugly face to her in the end, like in a classical tragedy?
    Lewis is stretching the rules a bit, too, tampering with evidence, to spare his friend Morse more pain.
    From the practical side: usually Morse would have quickly questioned the telephone technician about what he experienced in the house and would have found out that his blonde innocence incarnate lied to him. But, you know, he was once more way too personally involved in a case, which I think authorities would never let happen in real life.

    1. Hi Eli, I do agree with your take on this episode. I always felt that Susan was selfish and heartless when it came to Morse and that she left him for a more promising lucrative future with Henry Fallon. Morse was so in love with her that he was blinded by what she really was, very unusual for him. I thought if Lewis told him the truth about her and what she had done, Morse wouldn’t have spent his entire life pining for her and would have been able to move on. But Lewis’s sympathy for his friend wouldn’t allow that and therefore he would have to have destroyed the evidence he found. All in all though I find it an outstanding episode in all aspects, the writing, the acting and the directing. It’s always in my top three.

      1. Hi, thanks for your reply. It would be good if Susan was actually shown in all her deviousness.
        When Morse is losing it with the doctor and how he should have prevented Susan‘s suicide his desperation is so painful.
        I actually find it too stressful to watch, it‘s that good.

  36. This is not in my top 5, but is very close behind. It is a tour-de-force and on re-watching the viewer, or at least I am, is torn in emotion in how to think of Susan.

  37. This is a marvellous episode- one of the best. The acting, writing and pace are all superb. Morse can never be happy can he? I loved how the walk at the end with Lewis mirrored the walk Morse had with Susan. Sadly Morse has no one else other than his work colleague whom he berates and bullies, yet has grown to have a deep affection for him. Why did Lewis sleep in his car outside Morse’s house? Was he worried about whether Morse would hurt himself? That’s a lovely touch by the writers- just one line that reveals everything about their relationship.
    It’s also sad that Morse and Jim Strange were great friends earlier in their career as seen in Endeavour but likely Jim’s career goals meant that once he took on a supervisory role over Morse their friendship cooled- as often happens. I do wonder whether Joan is watching ‘in the wings’ so to speak but probably they don’t socialise with Morse anymore.
    Interesting link- the Senate House at UCL where Susan Fallon works was used as the INGSOC HQ in the 1984 film of the book 1984.

  38. In the SWAY episode, in the scene where Gloria Deeks is late for work, Charles Highbank, the window dresser, remarks that Gloria is always “dead on time”.

  39. Contrary to some of the negative comments above, I enjoyed this ep more than most.
    The portrayal of academic rivalry was nicely set up and Barry Foster’s Alex was a power house performance of smug entitlement. The swagger was convincing and his manner swinging between charm and menace done so well. A contrast with the IMHO over the top Robert Hardy in Twilight of the Gods I would say.
    The inevitable failure of Morse’s romantic efforts was subtle and the blind alleys, to me at least, seemed less overwrought than the Susan Fallon tangle in Dead on Time.
    I do agree with criticism of the padding elements, the Germans being superfluous and a waste of production time.
    The lock keeper’s advice on the severed head seems nonsense and yes, still water may have indeterminant flow but around a busy lock?
    The improbable Miss Burns pub meeting in London with the irrelevant tension with the chat up merchant also shouted filler.
    Would Morse really go into Regents Park zoo on the off chance of finding the suspect? From my memories of the place, it would be a long shot. Better off going back to the pub and having some thinking time and see her back in Oxford.

  40. Oddly enough, the most likeable character in this episode, for me, was Susan’s brother. He favored Morse and loved his sister (yes, he was slightly eccentric). As for Susan, the difference between the 1992 doe-eyed, “I feel like a silly schoolgirl” character and the naked sultry blonde at the window of the Endeavour pilot was too much to reconcile. But, “Dead on Time” is one of the best episodes. Morse certainly does “owe Lewis one.”
    Thanks, Chris, for this great site.

  41. Great posting, but I found the writing in this episode completely preposterous. Morse asks a widow out at the funeral?!? And she accepts?!? In what universe?

    What Lewis does is unbelievable too. Suppressing evidence more than once just to preserve feelings? It’s is both not in his character and not what the ever-logical Morse would have wanted either. Just completely wrong.

    It was also obvious way too early that it was a frame-up job.

    1. I don’t know, I might have not turned that tape in as evidence knowing that it would only bring useless pain down upon my friend, especially with all the principals dead. However, there are loose ends here. Wouldn’t Lewis have been debriefed by Strange about his sortie into London to Susan’s flat? Afterall, Strange arranged it all. Also, what happens to Rhodes? Do the police just say “Never mind, we got it wrong.” . I guess so.

  42. So happy to have found your wonderful blog- thank you! I’m hoping you can help clear up a lingering question I have: in the end, who does Morse believe to be the killer? Knowing how his mind works I doubt he would be able to leave any loose ends or pieces of the puzzle unconnected. I was sorry that Lewis threw the cassette tape in the river (out of character for him to tamper with evidence), because it seems likely that Morse would figure it all out anyway.
    Thank you again!

    1. Hello Jennifer and welcome to my website. Morse believed it was Dr Marriat. It WAS out of character for Lewis to destroy evidence. However, his love and admiration for Morse is demonstrated by him throwing the evidence away and thus protecting him from the truth. Lewis didn’t want Morse to find out a truth that would hurt him deeply; Susan helped her husband kill himself. Just as an additional note, there is no killer in the episode. Susan would be guilty of assisting a suicide. It’s one of the great moments in the Morse series when the cassette hits the water while Dr Marriat simultaneously opens the cassette compartment.

  43. I m glad there is a blog such as this – thanks for the meticulous work -, because I was and still am quite puzzled after watching the episode last night: does Lewis throw Rhodes and his girlfriend under the bus out of loyalty to Morse? Will ever-suspicous Morse not eventually come to the conclusion that the will was actually a suicide pact? I mean he noticed Lewis’s doubts about the Doctor in the interview room. How could the case of Rhodes and his (ex-) girlfriend possibly hold up in court?

    1. Hello Thomas and welcome to my website. Thank you so much for your lovely comment regrading my website. I’m not quite sure why you think Lewis threw Peter Rhodes and his ex girlfriend, Helen Marriat under the bus. Morse and Lewis realise that Peter Rhodes had no part in Henry Fallon’s death that’s why Morse’s attention turns to Dr Marriat. By the end Morse still believes, in some way, it was Dr Marriat that helped to kill Henry. Yes, it is possible that Morse will realise that there was a suicide pact though he will find it a hard pill to swallow as it means that Susan was not willing to live for him.

      1. After watching the end yesterday, it’s still fresh in my mind. I think Morse knew the Doctor was telling the truth in the interview room, when he indeed said, if she wasn’t willing to live for you then why me even, something along those lines. So I think in the proverbial sense he’s already swallowed the pill. But if Lewis was ever to tell him about the tape, etc. He might blame Lewis for her death (Mrs. Fallon). And on that point, I was quite disappointed in Lewis. He should have told Morse everything, and not protected him from the truth. Morse has always stood by the truth, justice etc no matter the cost. It’s an episode I will need to watch again. 🙂

      2. Why would he blame Lewis? Lewis got rid of the tape to make things less difficult for Morse. That is why we get the double meaning of Lewis and Morse final words, Morse – “l don’t seem to have any money. l’m sorry.” Lewis – “So, it’s down to me, then?” Morse – “Well, let’s just say it’s one l owe you.” Lewis – “Yeah. Let’s just say that.” So, Morse owes Lewis the money for a breakfast and, of course, Morse unknowingly owes Lewis for destroying the tape and saving Morse from more grief.

      3. I meant was if Morse had known about the tape in advance he may have connected the dots much sooner and prevented her for committing suicide, or assisted dying. Definitely an episode to re-watch. 🙂

  44. Do you ever feel late for the dance..or late for the blog. Some of these posts go back quite a few years, I am still working my way through the episodes , I only been on and off watching the last few years. I am trying to figure out right now during the episode ( I will never make a detective), who are the parents of Rhodes? Mister and Mrs. Fallon are both in-laws. I guess I will figure it out or I might not (does it even need to be worked out?) by the end of the episode. I could watch Morse simply over and over, indeed I do watch them over and over, along with Midsomer Murders..another Favorite of Mine. And Endeavor , I watched all the episodes, and loved every one. Keep up the good work on the website. A treasure. 🙂

    1. Hi. I think my website has been on the go for about eight years now. Welcome. We never meet Rhodes’ parents.

      1. Yes, I was getting mixed up a little. It was a complex enough case to solve. Rhodes was married to Mrs. Fallon’s daughter, that helped me figure things out. I am very bad at remembering who’s who sometimes when watching or reading books too. Thanks for reply.

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