ENDEAVOUR: S7E2. ‘RAGA’; Review + Locations, Literary References, Music etc. SPOILERS.

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SPOILERS AHEAD!

 

Where’s Colin?

This may be the Colin Dexter reference in the Raga episode. It reads OUR LOST FRIEND and then something unreadable then TOWN HALL. Part of Colin’s memorial service was held at Oxford Town Hall. It’s near the beginning of the episode as Win and Bridget walk past a notice board. Click HERE to read about my day as a guest at Colin Dexter’s memorial service.

 

Directed by Zam Salim. No other connection to the Morse Universe.

Written by Colin Dexter (characters), Russell Lewis (written and devised by). Russell has written all the Endeavour episodes. He also wrote;

Lewis (TV Series) (screenplay – 4 episodes, 2010 – 2012) (story – 1 episode, 2006)
– Fearful Symmetry (2012) … (screenplay)
– Old, Unhappy, Far Off Things (2011) … (screenplay)
– Falling Darkness (2010) … (screenplay)
– The Dead of Winter (2010) … (screenplay)
– Reputation (2006) … (story)

He also wrote the Morse episode, ‘The Way Through the Woods’.

SYNOPSIS

Raga is also a melodic framework for improvisation akin to a melodic mode in Indian classical music.

It’s June 1970 and Professor Blish has been charged with the deaths of Molly Andrews and Dr Benford. However, Thursday doesn’t believe Blish killed Molly Andrews, neither do I, and is still convinced she was killed by her boyfriend Carl Sturgis. For that reason he has started to ‘stalk’ Sturgis.

Meanwhile there is racial tension in Oxford on the run up to a general election. This tension is exacerbated by the stabbing of a young Asian man. These tensions are heightened by a ‘make Britain white again’ political group who have their leader, Gorman, standing for parliament in the election.

Meanwhile, Ludo and Violetta show up again with Violetta wanting to continue her love affair with Endeavour.

REVIEW.
(warning, this review will contain some spoilers)

I apologise that again my review is a little disjointed but I am very busy with other matters. I also wish I had been able to create a video review but again time is at a premium.

I will state this upfront in my review so you can move on if you do not wish to read my justifications of why this episode was turgid, boring, tired and tonally flat.

This episode felt that Russell Lewis is trying to stretch one slim story line, Ludo, Morse, Violetta, over three episodes and adds a few other murders in for good measure. Speaking of murders that is now eight, if Bridget is dead, in six months. If you include the six ‘accidental’ deaths that’s fourteen. Eight deaths in six months? That is truly excessive.

It would seem that Russell and the producers are imitating every other drama on television by having story lines stretch over numerous episodes rather than keeping with what worked in earlier Endeavour episodes, the original Morse series and the Lewis series; stand alone episodes. Russell is stretching the slim story lines so much he is having to introduce a plethora of coincidences to make it work.: Win’s friend (who we only met last episode) meets Fred on the towpath and becomes a victim; (Surely once people knew of the two killings on the towpath the last thing they would do is walk that towpath alone); Fred finds Uqbah Sardar on the very same towpath; Uqbah Sardar becomes lucid enough to tell Fred about Mr Aziz stealing money; five Asians meet five thugs. I was waiting for a dance off. There are too many coincidences to mention.

As you know I have been impressed by Matthew Slater’s music but I believe he ‘overcooked’ a scene. That scene was the finding of Oberon Prince’s body by the children

It is possible it was the director who asked Matthew to place music over the scene. If he did then he has no belief in his own ability. Once that scene started with the overly dramatic music any tension was broken. Music should be there to enhance a scene not detract from it.

As to often happens in so many TV and film dramas of today the director feels the need to signal what is about to happen with the use of overly dramatic music and this can result  in the scene being less tense and dramatic. What is being said by the film-makers is, the audience are too stupid to realise that this is a dramatic scene so we must spell it out to them in any way possible. The director and the music director are ‘overcooking’ the scene. On top of that you have the nervous children approaching the suitcase. Now you have two signals that something dramatic is about to happen. Three if you count the slow moving camera as it nears the wardrobe where the suitcase is. Four if you count the children holding their noses because of the obnoxious smell.

In film, the idiom, less is more, can be a truism. The quick cuts during the scene also detracted from the forthcoming revelation. So with these four signals it became obvious what was about to happen and destroyed any tension in the scene. The four signals especially the children holding their nose made us the viewer more than aware what was in the suitcase.

I believe the shot could have been better if shot in this way: The camera moves in slowly toward the children in one shot, there is no music. The children play happily. The camera gets closer to the children giving the impression that the children are in danger. As the camera moves closer, still all in one shot, it looks to focus on one child making it appear he or she is the target of whatever is about to happen. In the background is the wardrobe. Just as the camera reaches the child one of the children kicks the ball, it hits the wardrobe, opens the door the suitcase falls to the ground. Quick cut to the suitcase and an arm or leg protruding from the upturned suitcase. The camera moves back through the children who are frozen to the spot holding their noses. Cut.

Now I am going to ‘overcook’ my criticism of the scene. However, this is not the first time a scene from an Endeavour episode has been ‘overcooked’ and that is why I am going to make an example of this one.

Great directors like David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock etc have shown that music is not necessary to make a scene dramatic or full of tension. In Hitchcock’s film, The Birds’ there is no music in the entire film. Hitchcock used natural sounds to rack up the tension. Here is a scene from the film.

Even out of context the scene still has drama and tension.

Next up we have a film by one of the greatest directors who ever lived, David Lean. (Click on his name to see his IMDB. I’ll wager you have seen at least one of his films). This scene involves a couple being told their son, Reg, and his best friend have been killed in a car accident. The music is playing from a radio that was bought by Reg for his parents. The music is of a diegetic nature it has not not been transplanted onto the scene. The music is incongruous in light of what is happening BUT still the scene is full of tension and drama. Not only that but David Lean’s camera doesn’t follow Vi out to the garden where Frank and Ethel Gibbons are pottering about. ( Frank and Ethel are played by the wonderful Celia Johnson and Robert Newton). The camera slowly pans as if afraid to intrude on the parents grief. I will repeat myself in writing that today the director and writer would feel the need to have a camera follow Vi’s character and get a big close of the grieving couple’s face. Today’s writers and directors feel the need to spell out everything to their audience either because they believe the audience are stupid or that the audience are getting dumber.

Again, out of context from the rest of the film, the scene above still has tension and drama.

You can find many such scenes in films by the likes of, Tarantino, Kubrick, Wim Wenders, Kurosawa, Coen Brothers, (Click HERE to see a clip from the Coen Brothers film No Country for Old Men. No music but palpable tension), François Truffaut, Ingmar Bergman, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan to name but a few.

Why is Fred ‘stalking’ Sturgis in such an obvious way? I understand that he believes that Sturgis killed Molly Andrews but how is following him going to help. Surely watching Sturgis in a more surreptitious way would make more sense. Then he could hope to see Sturgis doing something that shows he is involved in Molly’s death.

Another cliche was the death of Bridget. This type of scene has been used since 1930s horror films. Person, usually a woman, keeps looking behind her and then something jumps out in front. No one would jump at this type of scene unless this was their first time watching a drama or horror film. It’s such a cliched, boring, cheap over used type of scene. The director should be ashamed using this. You the viewer should feel insulted that such a technique was used.

The affair with Violetta has already become as tiring as the one with Joan. The actress who plays Violetta has a limited range and the love affair doesn’t come across as passionate. The whole thing feels forced and unnatural. However, if the affair is one where Endeavour is being set up by Violetta, then bravo to Stephanie Leonidas for exuding those emotions perfectly. The last episode in series three will hopefully answer that question.

The whistling motif has been done before and to better effect in the film, Twisted Nerve.

This whistling motif from Twisted Nerve has been used many times in other films most famously in Quentin Tarantino’s, Kill Bill. Click the title to go to Youtube and hear the Kill Bill version.

Hands up all those who knew poor Bridget was going to be a victim of the mysterious whistler. Fred saying to her, “You want to be careful, it’s not safe” was the kiss of death.

Lumpen and far from subtle conversation between the doctor and Mr Bright to highlight that because the doctor appears Pakistani it doesn’t mean he was born there.

Why did we not see Oberon’s second wife? Endeavour talks about Rosemary Oberon to Fred and says, “Well, his first wife.” So that implies there is a second wife. Is this her?

When Ludo visits Endeavour at his house he says that he has been looking for donations for his charitable foundations. This puts Ludo a little closer to being Hugo DeVries. His girlfriend, Marion Brooke, in the Morse episode Masonic Mysteries, worked for the charity Amnox. A bit tenuous but…

What needs to be cleared up in the third episode.

  1. Who is the whistler/killer?
  2. Who has been skinning cats as mentioned by Ms Frazil in the first episode?
  3. Are the six accidental deaths in six months, accidental?
  4. Whose blood is on Endeavour’s shirt as seen in the first scene of the episode Oracle.
  5. Is Ludo, Hugo DeVries?
  6. What are the names of the Canaries?
  7. Will Fred and Endeavour ever have a drink again together?

Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.

 

MUSIC.

At around four minutes Shaun is in his office and he is listening to music. I don’t recognise the music. I think it may be a composition written specifically for the episode by Matthew Slater.

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As Strange is tasting his food we can hear Spanish Eyes by Engelbert Humperdinck.

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When Ludo visits Endeavour he asks what the music is that’s playing. Endeavour replies, “la cura per l’amore. Tregola.” Which translates as, ‘caring for love.’ I don’t know any composer called Tregola. I have to assume that the piece is one of Matthew Slater’s own compositions. Linda has corrected my poor attempt to translate Italian. The song title means either ‘cure for love’ or ‘healing for love’.

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When Gorman faces his daughter in her flat we hear what I think is Tom Jones singing ‘Without Love’

I am happy that classical music has once again returned to Endeavour as the main musical thrust. So far no annoying period modern music crow-barred in to let us know we are in the 1970s.

LITERARY REFERENCES.

Ludo visits Endeavour at his house. he says;

“A man needs to keep his friendships in good repair.”

Samuel Johnson said “If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, sir, should keep his friendship in a constant repair.”

Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784), often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer.

ART.

Thank you to Gene who noticed the following. At the around the one hour and 13 minute mark we can see a print on the wall.

This print is a variation on the painting, Self-portrait in a Straw Hat by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Lebrun.

 

LOCATIONS.

One of the first scenes is Win and Bridget walking arm in arm. This is Merton Grove Walk that enters onto Merton Street.

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The Asian group meet the racist thugs.

Above photo copyright David Lloyd-Roach.

This is Oriel Street, Oxford.

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The Asian group running away from the thugs.

This is St Helen’s passage that goes from New College Lane to the Turf Tavern pub.

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Tiffin Court is in West London.

This location is Welsby Court ,Eaton Rise, Ealing. Thank you once again to Coco.

Below is an article in the Radio Times about filming at the above house.

 

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Next up we have Win and Fred’s house.

The address is 10 Ramsey Road, Headington.

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The Jolly Rajah is funnily enough a former Indian take away.

This is located on The High Street in the Old Town of Hemel Hempstead.

‘Old Tom’s’ with the misplaced possessive apostrophe, hated by James Hathaway and I, is seen as Ann’s City Cafe (with the correctly placed possessive apostrophe).

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After the visit from Endeavour, Strange and Thursday to Tiffin Court we get a lovely view over Oxford.

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Thursday is following Carl Sturgis.

This is South Street, Oxford. The pub on Thursday’s left is called The Punter.

They turn the corner and walk along the canal path.

As you can see the The Punter Pub and South Street are not far from the city centre.

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Mrs. Radowicz’s home.

Once again Coco has come up trumps on finding this location. 15 Belham Road,Kings Langley. WD48BX.

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Fred walks with Bridget along the canal path on East Street, Oxford.

The building in the background is an old power station, now closed down. Arthur Street runs behind it.

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Endeavour drives up to Ludo’s house. Location unknown.

The location of this house was located by Coco. Wonderful find Coco. Marsh Close London NW7.

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Under the Bridge of Sighs. Morse and Fred talking to Gorman.

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After talking to Gorman, Fred and Morse are seen walking along Merton Street.

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Gary Rogers is attacked by Asians.

This is Oriel Street again. The same place the thugs chased the Asians.

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The team find out two calls were made from this location.

Location unknown.

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David Rees very kindly sent me photos which were taken during filming in 2019.

They are all in Merton Street and we also see Magpie Lane. Thank you David.

PUB LOCATIONS.

Sadly, no pubs used.

Actors who appeared in the Endeavour Series , Episode 2 ‘RAGA’ and/or Morse or Lewis.

Emma Cunniffe as Rosemary Prince.

She appeared in the Lewis episode One for Sorrow as Bryony Willet.

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Rebecca Saire as Mrs. Radowicz.

She also appeared in the Endeavour episode, Colours as the same character.

CONNECTIONS OTHER THAN ACTORS TO THE LEWIS, ORIGINAL MORSE SERIES AND PREVIOUS ENDEAVOUR EPISODES.

Is this a red Jag seen in Roger’s bedroom?

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When Gorman is talking to Morse and Fred under the Bridge of sighs, he says that Oberon was a heavy roller and would bet on anything, anywhere, anytime. He will bet on two flies crawling up a wall. This last line is very similar to a line spoken by Caroline O’Neill in the Lewis episode, ‘And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea’.

When I heard the name Uqbah I couldn’t help but think of the name written out in blood on a piece of paper next to a dead body in the Lewis episode, Allegory of Love. The name in blood, however, was Uqbar. Half a reference 🙂

 

James in the comments section mentioned two possible connections. I had noted them but I thought they were rather overly tenuous but I decided to post James’ comment and let the readers decide if they are truly connections.

“…this Endeavour episode centred around the murder of two people with links to an Indian restaurant. This brought to mind the Morse episode, “Greek Bearing Gifts”, which concerned, if memory serves me right, the death of a chef in a Greek restaurant, that Mr and Mrs. Lewis had previously attended.

My other connection for this week’s Endeavour episode, would be the suitcase that contained a torso and other dismembered body parts, although there was no head. This sounded similar to the mutilated body parts found in the canal, during the Morse episode, “The Last Enemy”. It is also interesting that one of the overarching storylines in this year’s series, includes the mysterious deaths by the canal, therefore, this is perhaps another connection to that original Morse episode.”

Thank you James.

Miscellaneous.

The episode opens with the kind of advert that was seen at the cinema of the 1970s usually created by Pearl and Dean.

Part of the ‘advert’ is the name and place of the restaurant.

Cawnpore was a key episode in the Indian rebellion of 1857. It was an uprising against The East India Company.

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There was a general election in the UK in 1970. It was a surprise victory for the Conservative Party under leader Edward Heath. This general election was the first in which people could vote from the age of 18, after passage of the Representation of the People Act the previous year.

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The Oxford election was won by Christopher Montague Woodhouse, 5th Baron Terrington, DSO, OBE (11 May 1917 – 13 February 2001) was a Conservative politician and Member of Parliament for Oxford from 1959 to 1966 and again from 1970 to 1974.

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The National Front party a far-right, fascist political party in the United Kingdom in the 1970 local elections, fielding 10 candidates: almost all received under 5% of the vote. Led by A. K. Chesterton at the time. No NF candidates stood in Oxford.

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Of course the the restaurant name, The Jolly Rajah is a play on the Jolly Roger. Jolly Roger is the traditional English name for the flags flown to identify a pirate ship.

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The name of the building where Oberon Prince lived was Tiffin Court. Probably chosen with its sub continent references because of Carry on up the Khyber a film of 1968. I think there is a scene where they discuss Tiffen during a seige. Tiffin is an Indian English word for a type of meal. It refers to a light tea-time meal at about 3pm.

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Oberon is a king of the fairies in medieval and Renaissance literature. He is best known as a character in William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which he is King of the Fairies and spouse of Titania, Queen of the Fairies.

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Ms Frazil mentions a farmer drowned in pig swill. The sixth freak accident in six months. So that’s skinned cats mentioned in Oracle and now freak accidents.

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Rosemary Prince tells Endeavour that she and Oberon on their TV show Et Viola, “I was his Johnnie to his Fanny. This is a reference to the famous Fanny Cradock and her husband Johnnie. They were stalwarts of the small screen for many years during the 1960s and 1970s.

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Why is it when we visit Endeavour’s house he is always doing a crossword? Why isn’t he seen reading a book?

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Thursday mentions the phrase, ‘Faces and heels’ in regard to American wrestling. In professional wrestling, a face (babyface) is a heroic or a “good guy” n professional wrestling, a heel is a wrestler who portrays a villain or a “bad guy”

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Thank you to Amber who pointed out that Ludovic ‘Ludo’ Bagman is a character in the Harry Potter books who became head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports.

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When talking of Oberon Prince, Ludo says he was ‘no Robert Danvers.’ Not sure who this is referring to. Thank you to Polly who told me that Danvers is a Peter Sellers character from the 1970s film, There’s a Girl in my Soup.

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The episode is something of a family affair. We get Roger Allam as Fred Thursday, his wife Rebecca Saire as Hazel Radowicz and Roger and Rebecca’s son William Allam as Gary Rogers.

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Sheldon kindly pointed out that there appears to be references to the Matt Damon film The Talented Mr Ripley. This seems to be emphasised by the reveal of Ludo’s surname as ‘Talenti.’

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Bright tells the Doctor Sardar that he spent time in India. He mentions ‘Pankot’ and ‘Chandrapore’. Pankot, which was also mentioned by Bright in the Endeavour episode ‘Prey’, was the name of the village “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom”. In the E.M. Forster novel ‘A Passage to India’ Chandrapore is the name of the city featured in the novel. Mr Aziz, the delivery driver for the Jolly Rajah, is the main character in Forster’s novel, a “Dr. Aziz”.

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Kathy Aubrey, one of my subscribers, believes the tune being whistled is Oh,Oh Antonio. the lyrics for the song are;

In quaint native dress an Italian maid
Was deep in distress as the streets she strayed
Searching in every part
For her false sweetheart
And his ice-cream cart
Her English was bad it cannot be denied
And so to herself in Italian she cried,
Oh Oh Antonio he’s gone away
Left me alonio, all on my ownio
I want to meet him with his new sweetheart
Then up will go Antonio and his ice-cream cart.
So sad grew the plight of this fair, young lass
She’d faint at the sight of an ice-cream glass
She’d dream nigh every day
He’d come back to stay
But he’d fade away
Her old hurdy-gurdy all day she’d parade
And this she would sing to each tune that it played.
She sought in despair for Antonio
And looked everywhere that she thought he would go
Soon she to pine began
As each face she’d scan
For her ice-cream man
She faded away, but they say in the streets
The ghost of that girl in Italian repeats.

Thank you Kathy.

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When Fred and Endeavour visit Gorman in his HQ is it a coincidence that Gorman’s bodyguard is called Nigel. Surely not a reference to Nigel Farage.

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Angie on Twitter made a good point in writing that Endeavour in his all black outfit looked not unlike Steve McQueen in the excellent film, Bullitt. However, Steve’s turtleneck is blue.

FRED THURSDAY’S WORDS OF WISDOM.

After interviewing Gary Rogers, Fred and Thursday discuss the case. Fred is annoyed at the way organisations such the one Gary was part of never get the blame. He says,

“Nothing ever sticks to those bastards. British movement. He’s a movement alright.”

THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERER/S AND THEIR METHODS.

One of the five Asian men is stabbed to death.

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Mr Aziz killed with a meat cleaver. Killed by Rafiq Sardar.

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Oberon Prince killed by Rafiq Sardar using a meat cleaver I believe.

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Gary Rogers is killed by Asian thugs.

Bridget is killed by the mysterious whistler. Or was she? She is shown to be in the credits for the third episode, Zenana. Of course, it could be a flashback or a re showing of what happened to her.

CAST

Caroline O’Neill as Win Thursday


Flora London as Bridget Mulcahy

Jason Merrells as Martin Gorman


Harki Bhambra as Bobby Singh


Buom Tihngang as Johnny Simba


Ted Robbins as Stanley Nayle

Roger Allam as DCI Fred Thursday

Carol Royle as Mrs. Bright

Sia Alipour as Dr. Farook Sardar

Anton Lesser  as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright

William Allam as Gary Rogers


Madhav Sharma as Uqbah Sardar


Pal Aron as Rafiq Sardar

Sean Rigby  as DS Jim Strange


Neil Roberts  as Oberon Prince

Shaun Evans  as DS Endeavour Morse

Stephanie Leonidas as Violetta Talenti

Ryan Gage  as Ludo Talenti

Shane Zaza  as Salim Sardar


Sam Ferriday as Carl Sturgis

Rebecca Saire  as Mrs. Radowicz

Hiftu Quasem as Nuha Sardar

James Bradshaw  as Dr. Max DeBryn


Deva Wareing  as Ilsa Trent


Abigail Thaw as Dorothea Frazil


Emma Cunniffe as Rosemary Prince

Graeme Stevely … Adrian Sloane (as Graeme ‘Grado’ Stevely)

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.

91 thoughts

  1. I have enjoyed the season to the extent that I haven’t been much bothered by the criticisms made here, accurate though they are. One thing that doesn’t seem to have been mentioned is something akin to the breaking of the fourth wall, where it appears in the prologue to the first episode of series 7 that Morse addresses the viewer directly, telling us this is a story about love. This hasn’t happened before ever. I think this is the clearest expression we are likely to get about Morse’s own subjective view of love, that it lets you down and confuses you and leaves you in pain, and in this case at least is based on a lie. A less damaged soul might believe the tragedy of Violetta genuinely loving him but being unable to disentangle herself from Ludo; she says as much. Maybe it says something about the damage his own past has inflicted on him that he is unable to accept this. He has a vulnerable quality often and I think it’s only a matter of time before we see this broken down to leave him embittered. Dx

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