Hello fellow Morsonians. Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts regrading my situation. Thank you for the emails, comments and also for simply visiting my website and reading my posts. I am feeling better and the doctor is setting up visits to a counsellor.
Anyway, let’s get on to something more important, a review of the Morse episode Absolute Conviction.
WARNING! THERE WILL BE SPOILERS CONTAINED WITHIN THIS POST.
Chronologically this is episode 24. (Series 6 episode 4).
First broadcast in the UK on 8th April 1992.
This episode is not based on a Colin Dexter novel.
Colin appears at 35 minutes and 29 seconds. He is in the chapel listening to a sermon by Brian Thornton.
I think Colin also makes an appearance near the beginning of the episode (1 minute 48 seconds). I believe that is Colin cleaning the aisle of the church.
He also appears again at about 15 and a half minutes when he is removed from the church by the chaplain.
Directed by Antonia Bird (1951–2013): Antonia only directed one episode in the Morse series.
Written by John Brown (1944-2006): John only wrote one episode for the Morse series.
The death of Lawrence Cryer in Farnleigh prison leads Morse and Lewis into a game of follow the money. Lawrence Cryer was one third of a trio, the others being Alex Bailey and Brian Thornton, who were imprisoned for fraud. The trio swindled many investors of millions of pounds including many small investors who lost everything in the property fraud.
Was he killed by the born again Christian Brian Thornton or is Alex bailey hoping to keep the millions of pounds that are rumoured to be lying in a bank in some foreign country for himself.
Cadet officer DS Cheetham believes the key to the case is in finding out where the money is and is hoping that any success will fast track future promotions.
Meanwhile another inmate of HMP Farnleigh knows Morse from when he was arrested on the charge of murder sixteen years previously of which Charlie continues to insist he is innocent.
As Lewis and Cheetham do their best to solve the case and to impress Morse, he finds himself finding it difficult to motivate himself to solve the case as he cares not a jot about the three fraudsters. However, he is interested and attracted to the governor of Farnleigh prison, Hilary Stephens.
(warning, this review may contain some spoilers)
As with so many of the Morse episodes this one is littered with many great British character actors; Diana Quick, Richard Wilson, Tony Steedman, Steven Mackintosh, Sue Johnston. Jim Broadbent, Phil Davis and Sean Bean, (who for once doesn’t die). It is a smorgasbord of great British talent and what helps to make this a great episode.
Is it a perfect episode? No! As David Bishop wrote in his wonderful book The Complete Inspector Morse “This story is efficient, rather than engaging, while the endless red herrings and false trails begin to frustrate the viewer”. David is absolutely correct but where I would disagree is in it becoming frustrating. In fact I remember when I first watched this episode all the ‘red herrings and false trails’ had me watching the episode even more intently to try and see if I could correctly identify the killer of Lawrence Cryer. I didn’t. The final murder also came as a shock. As intently as I was in watching the episode I didn’t see the anagram clue.
Morse is out of his comfort zone in this episode and John Thaw portrays that sublimely. He runs the gamut of emotions from anger to pleasure, frustration to satisfaction, embarrassment to confidence and self deprecation to praising both Lewis and Cheetham on their good work.
The direction is solid and Antonia Bird allowed the camera to linger on scenes to allow the viewer to enjoy the moments. All too often directors feel the need to edit a scene with close ups and quick edits but Antonia refrained from doing that. One scene that illustrates it beautifully is when Hilary Stephens meets Morse outside the chapel after hearing him sing.
Watch the clip and then read my analysis of the scene below. Let me know if you agree with what I have written.
Morse is often thought of as a loner even though we know he does occasionally sing in a choir (Dead of Jericho) or take part in an opera (Masonic Mysteries). He comes across as rather stand offish but here we see him engaging with another choir member in conversation. We normally only see Morse in conversation with other policeman or people he is investigating or the occasional girlfriend.
Up to this point Hilary Stephens has looked upon Morse as officious and giving off an air of superiority. This superiority could have been maintained if he stayed above her on one if the stone steps. However, Morse comes down to where she stands and any thoughts she may have had regarding his sense of superiority are gone.
As Morse approaches Hilary we can only get a side view of her face and not much of that. But we do see her head tilt to the side in an almost playful coquettish way. She is displaying a slight embarrassment in finding out Morse sings and trying to show sympathy and a touch of empathy by titling her head.
She now sees Morse in a different light. She can barely stop smiling. Her appearance at the choir meeting and her subsequent desire to tell Morse how much she not only enjoyed his singing but that she was almost in tears puts Morse on the back foot. Morse doesn’t know how to react to her praise other than bashfulness and self deprecation. He tries to distract himself by wrapping his coat around himself like a protective barrier. He then puts his hands in his pockets as if trying to control himself, to stop himself from from becoming tactile.
But, Morse breaks what could have become a romantic scene by asking her “Why have you come?” He could have asked her to join him for a drink to continue the sexual energy that was in the air but his police curiosity won the day. He was not in control of the situation, Hilary was and this was his way of regaining his composure and some measure of control.
The subplot of the rivalry between Cheetham and Lewis is well acted and well written. Each officer is vying to not only solve the case but are vying for the favour of Morse. In what must be one of the funniest endings to a Morse episode, Lewis gets a feeling of oneupmanship over Cheetham.
There will be spoilers in the clip below.
Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.
Death and the Maiden Quartet for Strings by Franz Schubert. Morse is at home while Lewis works at the police station.
String Quartet in C Minor, D 703 – Allegro assai by Franz Schubert. Morse and DS Cheetham drive to Roland Sherman’s house.
Death and the Maiden Quartet for Strings by Franz Schubert. Music being played by Roland Sherman.
Another section of the Death and the maiden was used in the Endeavour episode Canticle.
Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18: Allegro scherzando. (The section used starts about halfway through the piece in the video).
Mi tradi quell’alma ingrata aria from Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Morse and Lewis drive to interview Emma Cryer.
Chorale: Erkenne mich, mein Huter (St Matthew Passion) by Johann Sebastian Bach. Morse singing with the choir.
Chorale: Erkenne mich, mein Huter (St Matthew Passion) by Johann Sebastian Bach. Morse is in his car outside Farnleigh Prison.
Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion has also been used in the Morse episode, Who Killed Harry Field? It was also used in the Endeavour episodes, Trove, Sway, and Neverland.
For a music list for all Episodes of Morse Series with Downloadable PDF & Excel Sheet, click here.
While Morse and Cheetham are having a drink Morse says, “Liberty plucks justice by the nose.” This is from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Act one, Scene three.
Duke Vincentio talking to Friar Thomas:
For terror, not to use, in time the rod
Becomes more mock’d than fear’d; so our decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.
Ar around one hour and 16 minutes Morse and Ms Stephens are met by the college chaplain. He says to Ms Stephens “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” When he leaves she asks Morse what he said, Morse replies, “Who will guard the guards themselves?”
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is a Latin phrase found in the work of the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires.
The governor’s office is full of paintings but unfortunately I can only only identify a few as the others are never shown in enough detail. First we have a large painting behind her desk.
Thank you to Kathleen Avalone who noticed that the above is a print of Prisoners’ Round by and Vincent Van Gogh and not Exercise Yard at Newgate prison by Gustave Doré, 1872 as I originally thought.
The governor moves toward Morse and Lewis and we see this painting.
This is Vincent Van Gogh’s L’Arlesienne: Madame Ginoux with Books.
The above painting is one of a series of six that Van Gogh painted, five while in an asylum.
Hilary Stephens invites Morse and Lewis to sit. On the wall behind her is another Van Gogh.
This painting is Agostina Segatori Sitting in the Cafe du Tambourin. Like the previous painting this woman is a cafe owner. Vincent paid many cafe owners for food and drink by way of his paintings.
What were the set designers trying to convey with the use of two Van Gogh paintings? That the ‘lunatics’ were taking over the ‘asylum’.
In Roland Sherman’s house there is a large mural in one of the rooms.
This is based on Roy Lichtenstein’s painting Whaam!
Time – 33m27s
Pub – The Greyhound Inn, Stocks Rd, Aldbury, Hertfordshire HP23 5RT
Pub Today –
Info – This pub was also used as a location (see pic below) for the 1969 film Crossplotstarring Roger Moore. (clicking on the film name will take you to Youtube page where you can watch the full film.
Time – 42m55s
I believe this is the The Greyhound Inn, Stocks Rd, Aldbury, Hertfordshire. See information above.
At 50 minutes and ten seconds Lewis is chasing after Charlie Bennet. They pass through a pub.
The Bear Inn, 6 Alfred St, Oxford OX1 4EH.
Pub Today –
Info – Said to be one of the oldest pubs in Oxford, with a history that can be traced back to around 1242.
First up we have the location of Farnleigh Prison.
The actual location is HMP Prison Grendon Springhill, Grendon Underwood, Buckinghamshire, England, UK.
In the episode there are a few scenes in what one has to assume as the prison church.
HMP Gendon Prison does have a church within its grounds so I assume they used that location.
Next we have the home of Emma Cryer, the dead man’s wife.
The location is Rossway Park, Rossway, Berkhamsted HP4 3TZ.
The only picture I could find of Rossway Houyse was this below.
The village Morse and Cheethem drive through at around 39 minutes ,
is Aldbury in Hertfordshire.
Morse and Lewis are on their way to visit Emma Cryer.
The above is Merton Street.
In the same scene as above Lewis follows Charlie Bennett into Oxford’s covered market.
At about the one hour mark Lewis visits a rather rough looking area making inqueries.
Thank you to Rod who wrote to tell me that this is Hill Street, Reading.
Unfortunately, Google street map does not go up the hill used as the location in the episode. But this is a view up said hill.
The arrow points to the approximate position of the the house Lewis visits.
A slightly better view. Thank you Rod for forwarding the information. Much appreciated.
At one hour and 14 minutes Morse is singing with the choir.
This is the chapel at Eton College, Eton, Berkshire.
Morse and Lewis interview Brian Thornton in what is supposedly the gardens of the prison.
The actual location is Slough Nurseries, Slough in Berkshire. This location doesn’t appear to exist anymore or maybe goes by another name.
At the beginning of the episode the camera pans around Alex Bailey’s (Sean Bean) cell. On the wall there is a newspaper clipping which has the headline “£40,000 a year for changing light bulbs.”
In the next scene we see a prison chaplain changing a light bulb in his church. Co-incidence? I doubt it.
In Roland Sherman’s house there is a large mural on one of the walls.
This is a depiction of the Hindenburg disaster that occurred on May 6, 1937 in New Jersey, United States.
Morse and Charlie Bennett are having a cup of tea in a cafe in the covered market.
This is the same cafe used as a location in the Endeavour episode Cartouche.
At 53 minutes and 40 seconds during the scene in the cafe, Charlie Bennett recalls how kind Morse had been when he was being interviewed about the death of his wife. Charlie relates that Morse had brought him a cup of tea. Morse replies that he must have been told to as he had just been made sergeant. From a previous conversation we know Charlie Bennett had been in prison for 16 years. The episode was filmed around 1991/92 so that would mean Morse was made sergeant around 1975/76. However in the Endeavour series he was made sergeant in 1967. Even considering the time it probably took the courts to bring Bennett to trial and then the trial itself, let’s say two years, then that still shows a discrepancy in the timeline.
The conductor of the choir that Morse sings with is Barrington Pheloung
Barrington is of course the man who wrote the music for the Morse, Lewis and most of the Endeavour series. He also was the conductor and arranger of those pieces by other composers.
This is Barrington again in the background holding the music sheet.
In the episode Alex Bailey sneers at Thornton’s act of being a born again Christian by saying “Ah, how could I forget the life of Brian.” A reference of course to Monty Pythons wonderful comedy film, Life of Brian.
When Morse says to Lewis, “We go directly to jail, Lewis.” he is of course referencing the board game, Monopoly.
The director of the episode Antonio Bird; 1951- 2013.
John Brown the writer of the episode, 1944 – 2006.
James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange (1927–2012)
Preston Lockwood who played the college chaplain, (1912–1996)
Tony Steedman who played Lawrence Cryer, 1927 – 2001
Thank you to Ronan who relayed the sad news that James Aubrey who played the pathologist died in 2010. (1947 – 2010)
Actors who appeared this episode and an episode of Lewis and/or Endeavour.
Diana Quick who played the governor Hilary Stephens,
also appeared in the Lewis episode, Dark Matter as Gwen Raeburn.
THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERER/S AND THEIR METHODS.
The two murders in this episode were committed by Charlie Bennett.
Charlie’s first victim was Lawrence Cryer;
Charlie said that the murder was actually an accident. Charlie and Lawrence struggled after Lawrence caught Charlie in Alex Bailey’s room.
The murder he did admit to was that of Roland Sherman;
Charlie killed Roland by injecting him in the chest with digitalis.
Sean Bean as Alex Bailey
Richard Wilson as Brian Thornton
David Fielder as Prison Chaplain
Susan Doran as Young Doctor
Luke Williams as George Newcombe
Robert Pugh as Geoff Harris – Prison Officer
Diana Quick as Hilary Stephens
Tony Steedman as Lawrence Cryer
Cheryl Hall as Laura – Secretary
David Howey as Dr. Stephen James Archer
James Aubrey as Pathologist
Steven Mackintosh as DS Cheetham
Jim Broadbent as Charlie Bennett
Richard Hampton as Coroner
Jonathan Firth as Peter Thornton
Suzanna Hamilton as Emma Cryer
Pete Lee-Wilson as Paul – Journalist
James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange
Paul Dalton as Rob – Photographer
Phil Davis as Roland Sherman
Sue Johnston as Mrs. Bailey
Kevin Walsh as Andy Metcalfe
June Watson as Mrs. Harris
Preston Lockwood as College Chaplain
Georgia Mitchell as Doctor in Casualty
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You wrote: This is a print of an painting of prisoners in the Exercise Yard at Newgate prison by Gustave Doré, 1872. I think this is Prisoners Round by Van Gogh?
Hi Kathleen, you are absolutely right. Well spotted.
An interesting episode, just to add some trivia perhaps, Stephen Macintosh played DS Cheetham the Chief Constable’s nephew, which seemed to get Morse’s back up! – as a Detective Sergeant he would have hardly have been a ‘cadet’. (Richard Wilson also played a Detective Inspector filling in for Garfield Morgan in the Sweeney in one episode), Richard of course being in this episode, so a chance to work again with John Thaw. Charlie Bennett (Jim Broadbent’s character) in Absolute Conviction was also referred to as ‘Guildford’ by Sean Bean’s character, as a cruel joke because he was always claiming innocence for his crime, ‘the Guildford 1’ DS Cheetham blotted his copybook early on in the episode with an unauthorised wire tap on a suspect in the investigation. A good episode which I personally liked, very convoluted!
Chris, this is an excellent overview of this episode and I enjoyed reading. I recall in this episode that Morse accidentally refers to Cheetham as “Lewis”, when he is walking up a path with Cheetham and says “I need a drink Lewis”. Has anyone else spotted that?
In general, for me, all the episodes stand as an indelible testimony to the genius of John Thaw and his supremely evocative portrayal of this complex character, which pulls on our heart strings to this day. All of us can relate on a human level to Morse and he continues to make us feel safe and to inspire us to persevere through adversity.
Hi Andrew and welcome to my website. I did notice the mention of ‘Lewis’. It was intentional and in the script. I think the idea was that no matter how much Cheethem tries to impress Morse he will never replace Lewis. Lewis will always be who Morse turns to.
What about the reference to the nickname “Guildford”? I’m assuming its to Lord Guildford Dudley’s execution by Bloody Mary and his innocence in the plot of Lady Jane Grey, right?
Hi Gene. The ‘Guildford’ nickname is in reference to the Guildford 4. The Guilford 4 were four men imprisoned for bombings. They always professed their innocence and eventually their convictions were quashed.
Ha. My historian’s brain went right to the historical! Thanks for the info.
Thought the name Cheetam was appropriate for one who so easily had the phone tapped to impress Morse.. .he was a cheater!
Loved it when Morse said, I need a beer Lewis.
Also thought the director did a great long pan of Morse leaning against a wall while waiting for the Governess to complete her phone conversation after choir practice. We caught Morse having a think, and great profile shot of him
I hope you do some more of these. I’m a first time watcher of the Morse series and I’m really enjoying them and your website is the perfect companion to the series. Especially great for finding out where I know various character actors from.
Thanks Brendan. I will be writing about the rest of the Morse series in the near future.
Didn’t James Aubrey, who played the pathologist in this episode, die back in 2010 ? Another for the in memoriam section sadly.
Thank you Ronan I didn’t realise he had died. Only 63. I will add that sad news to the post.
I just recently came upon your delightful site and am amazed at the degree of thoroughness you devote to each episode. I especially enjoyed the bits about the music and art works. As an amateur singer of Renaissance music, I’m always happy with the wonderful choral music as well as the opera selections. One thing I didn’t see in your piece that I think should be mentioned is the amazing production values in this episode. Both exteriors and interiors are noted for their fine use of pastel shades. Walls, doorways, clothing, furnishings…all are infused with soft green, pale pink, cream, yellow, mauve… all the colors of the pastel rainbow. Add to that the excellent camerawork and you have a feast for the eye. I didn’t catch all the names as they rolled quickly by, but those who were responsible for the overall look of the production deserve uniformly high marks. On another note, I was happy to see Jim Broadbent and Phil Davis in the cast; both are always a delight. I’ve seen Steven MacKintosh (Cheetham) a few times before but couldn’t find anything in the lists of his TV roles that rang a bell.
I look forward to following your extensive and erudite comments on each episode. Keep ’em coming!
First of all, I always read your posts after each episode, they provide a lot of insight, thank you. Speaking of insight, how dd Cheetham figure out the account number with Cryer dead? I thought that each of the 3 crooks had only one third of the account number….
I will have to assume that it is a writer’s blunder
I have not seen the episode you are referring to Adrian for two or three years, so I will have to check it out again. However, from what I remember Richard Wilson’s character, Brian Thornton, gave the detectives not just the account number, but the name of the bank or financial institution, and the country in which it was based. I believe it was Leichtenstein, although I could be wrong, where Thornton and his fellow fraudsters had hidden their money away. It was a murder inquiry, so even if the Thames Valley Police did not have the full account number, they knew the financial institution and in what country it was based, so they could have demanded the bank manger or leading authorities, open up the full details of the fraudster’s account. Millions of dirty money was of course uncovered, although paradoxically, it turned out the motives behind the murders in this investigation, did not have any relation, to the aforementioned fraud by the criminal trio.
Thank you, it was a Swiss bank, we see Cheetham getting off the phone with someone connected to the bank. But this approach would defeat the whole idea of each fraudster having only one third of the account number. Besides, a Swiss bank would not reveal anything. It is a weakness in this script.
Thanks for the reply Adrian. As I said, I will have to see this episode again at some point. Although, what I will say is, you have a lot better knowledge of the financial world than I have, and you have cleverly pinpointed an area of weakness, in the screenwriting of this episode. Perhaps, it was just as well, the motive behind the murders was not related to fraud by the criminal trio, or otherwise that would have opened up, a further can of worms, in the writing of the script.
Further to my above comments, attempting to answer Adrian’s question, I have managed to quickly browse through this episode, and Richard Wilson’s character, Thornton, did indeed tell the detectives, that the dirty money, he and his fellow fraudsters had hidden away, was based at Banca Centrale in Liechtenstein. However, he could only provide Morse, Lewis and Cheetham with his bank account number, and he did not know the other two account numbers of Cryer and Bailey, which were required to unearth the millions of pounds, secretly concealed. Nevertheless, one of the criminal trio was dead, namely Cryer, and the police could thus search high and low, for evidence of his account number.
This left one number to discover, and it has to be said, it was all rather vague, how Cheetham on the phone to the foreign bankers, was able to persuade them to open and reveal this account, which we find out, contained a fraudulent seven million pounds. Strange, did say later that the Serious Fraud Squad would now be on to it, so I suppose Cheetham could have threatened the Liechtenstein bank, with those economic crime specialists. In addition, given it was a murder inquiry, and the police had two of the three account numbers needed, pressure could have been applied to the overseas bank and to Bailey, including his family and associates, for the final missing number.
Ultimately, I believe the outcome of this part of the episode was rather vague, because it was not central to the motive behind the murders. I also suspect the writer still wanted a result or happy conclusion for the police, regarding the fraud story, because a lot of time had been spent on it, during the investigation. Unfortunately, in creating that result, the writer did not explain successfully, how Cheetham uncovered the illicit millions.
Nice post, James. From wiki:
“The 2008 Liechtenstein tax affair is a series of tax investigations in numerous countries whose governments suspect that some of their citizens have evaded tax obligations by using banks and trusts in Liechtenstein; the affair broke open with the biggest complex of investigations ever initiated for tax evasion in Germany. It was also seen as an attempt to put pressure on Liechtenstein, then one of the remaining uncooperative tax havens—along with Andorra and Monaco—as identified by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2007.”
The “Absolute Conviction” aired in 1992. It would be another 16 years before Liechtenstein would start cooperating with the tax evasion investigators. So, the writer (John Brown) really blew it.
Thanks for the information on Liechtenstein, Adrian. The writer of “Absolute Conviction”, was thus correct in naming this tiny landlocked nation, as a popular location for criminals and tax evaders, to secretly hide their millions of ill-gotten gains. However, the manner in which Cheetham was able to uncover the secretly concealed bank account was rather vague. I feel John Brown, the writer, rushed the conclusion of the fraud investigation, to enable a good result for Cheetham and the viewing audience. In terms of credibilty though, as you have portrayed Adrian, it is much more difficult in reality, for the police to unearth and expose, secretly hidden bank accounts, held overseas, particularly those in Liechtenstein. Furthermore, my Britanicca Concise Encyclopedia from 2010 states, “Liechtenstein is a centre of banking, because of its stable political situation and its absolute bank secrecy”.
It struck me that the beautiful Bach melody provided the basis for Paul Simon’s American Tune.
Not one of my favourites. I couldn’t get too motivated about the 1st victim nor was I that interested in who killed him. It was all a bit dreary. Jim Broadbent’s character was far more interesting so I concluded early on that he must be central to solving the puzzle. Didn’t think Mrs Stevens was all that exciting either, very one dimensional character I thought.
Hello, the doorstep interview with Metcalfe and Lewis looks like ‘Alpine Street’ in Reading
Hi, I love this site. Have watched this episode yesterday and in it Jim Broadbents character Charlie Bennett says he first met Morse 16 years ago, after he had just made sergeant. If this was broadcast in 1992 then that makes 1976. But in Harvest, set in ’67, he is not a sergeant. In the first episode of the next season, set in ’68 he is a sergeant.
Minor point, no real bearing on the brilliance of the whole set of characters.
Hi Joseph. I’m afraid Russell, Lewis who writes the Endeavour episodes, does play fast and loose with the Morse Lore at times.
Either that or Morse was just deflecting the compliment out of modesty, not wanting anyone to know he had been kind to Charlie at the time.
Charlie Bennett said that the date of his wife’s murder was Tuesday 4th June. That must have been in 1974. It would have been perhaps a year or so before he was convicted in 1975, leaving 16 years to pass until 1991, when the episode would have been filmed.
“Charlie killed Roland by injecting him in the chest with digitalis.” It was digoxin, not digitalis. They are similar, but not the same. Morse suddenly remembers that Charlie was a teacher of chemistry, not physics. The fact that Charlie was a chemistry teacher would not make him familiar with either compound, if he was a school teacher.
When Morse is interviewing Mrs. Bailey in her darkened apartment,the music in the background sounds very similar to “All By Myself,” the instrumental piece inEric Carmen’s hit record. This would have been apropo to her claustrophobia & the fact that her husband is in prison.
I thought for sure that the syringe with no chemical residue would have been a perfect vehicle for the injection of an air embolism, which is very difficult to pinpoint forensically. This ruse has not been used in any Morse or Endeavor episodes that I’ve watched thus far (all of Endeavor thru S7e2 & Inspector Morse thru this episode; I have yet to watch the Lewis episodes, which I watch next.)
The music may be different in the American version. This happens often due to copyright and the like. In the UK version the music playing is Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The music used in the wonderful film, Brief Encounter.
It should be noted that both of you are correct. It’s the same passage in the Rach 2 that is used in Brief Encounter as well as in Eric Carmen’s hit song
There are too many loose ends in this episode, one of them is when Alex and the prison doctor have a conversation about “ending something” because Morse is around. It is a gratuitous red herring, the only thing that they had been doing was playing soccer.
Made my day. Barrington pheloung conducting.absolute bliss .
I have now watched this episode twice in two days, and I understand most of it, but I’m not sure about one detail: when did Charlie Bennett have the opportunity to put the heart pills into the box of chocolates?
Thank you for the information you make available.
The supposed converted fraudster quotes Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’:
“No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head” (Act 1, Scene 5).
This is a sound episode. Rich and atmospheric. A wee bit farfetched. The connection between Charlie and Roland was not breadcrumbed and the explanation didn’t seem in keeping with the story presented. Morse’s comment about paying attention to the money, “that was the problem, I couldn’t see the people” was a good one.
I assumed Lewis’s comment to XXX at the end about the money actually being in the Cayman Islands was a joke.
Sterile, straightforward, uninspired and workmanlike entry in the series.
I’m throwing in some points for the score, direction, acting and the writing. Albeit uninspired, it was absent many of the plot holes we get in the Morse canon.
Mackintosh was great and Bean under used – he got to belt a football though! Broadbent was very good as well.
Five jags from ten for me.
Hi Chris. Any idea on the location of Sherman’s house?
“I need a drink, Lewis.” CLASSIC!!!!
At first I wasn’t engaged in this episode — but neither was Morse. He said so himself. Neither one of us really cared about the inmates killing each other in prison. But then Morse said, “It’s my job,” so I guess watching it was my job too 🙂 And I ended up enjoying it! Especially the scenes with Hilary. I still think there could be something between them. I feel like they left the door open there. (Yes, I know there will never be anything, ever, LOL. Just let me dream.) And of course Jim Broadbent is always sublime.
I have to say, one of my favorite games to play when watching Morse is, “Where do I know him from???” And this time it was about Robert Pugh. Where do I know him from??? Ah, from The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain 🙂
And, favorite part of the episode: The end, where Lewis tells Cheetham some bullshit story about what actually happened. Lewis, you stole my heart!
Hi Holly. Jim Broadbent is a great actor and always worth watching. I love the scene after he kills Roland Sherman and explains why he killed him and why he didn’t run after doing so.
The church was St Barbara’s Church Deepcut in Surrey. At the time it was part of the RAOC depot of the the same name. It was (and still is) the last wriggly tin prefab church that many churches of the military overseas colonial forces. As such it is listed building. The interior furnishing would be built of the local hard woods. In this case Oak.
An episode full of great actors. The addition to Cheetham doesn’t jar too much and it is good to see Lewis get his own back on him at the end.
Towards the end of the episode Morse is looking at Bennett’s file and there is a clear date 1975 on the photo of him.
I love this episode. Very very underrated in the Morse canon. A plot full of twists and turns, but not twists and turns just for the sake of it (are you reading this, Russell Lewis?). I particularly liked Diana Quick’s character. Shame Morse didn’t get to see her again. Anybody know the location of Sherman’s house?
This has surely got to be the best cast ever assembled for a Morse episode: Sean Bean, Richard Wilson, Jim Broadbent, Diana Quick, Phil Davis, Suzanna Hamilton, Sue Johnstone. Is there a better one?
Thank you for this site! I watched some of Morse years ago and am now binge watching them…about one a day, sometimes two! I have turned to this site more than once with questions. So glad I scrolled on down, as my question was about Guilford and it was answered in the comments! Whew! 😀. I really enjoyed this episode. Not too convoluted or long for me!
Susanna Lundgren, Portland, Oregon, USA – viewing BritBox stream 5/31/23. Fabulous site answering so many questions. Saw most episodes in 90’s, again PBS but scattered. Now: binge in order, in gorgeous hi-def. This lit lover, artist, historian, choir singer, Latinist is in happy & grateful delirium. Thx!
Thank you Susanna. I hope you find lots more to enjoy on my site.