Endeavour, Series 7 by Russell Lewis (ITV, 2020) Morse enters the sordid 70s in a three-episode series that has lost its way. The crimes yield to regular police work (with little input from Morse himself); the overriding arc is built around Morse’s unaccountable love life, plus manufactured conflict with Thursday.
Endeavour, Series 6 by Russell Lewis (ITV, 2019) A rather despondent series as the 1960s start to give way to the 1970s (hence Morse’s moustache) and the old crew find themselves scattered to the winds. Morse in particular has to start again. Chief Superintendent Bright has the best character moments.
Endeavour, Series 5 by Russell Lewis (ITV, 2018) Six feature-length episodes, each self-contained but contributing also to a melancholic series arc. (Anton Lesser has some nice moments as Chief Superintendent Bright.) Morse comes across as antsy rather than preternaturally gifted, but the mysteries are well-crafted to capture the late-60s zeitgeist.
Endeavour, Series 4 by Russell Lewis (ITV, 2017) Appreciation of classical music aside, the young Morse drifts further away from both his older and younger selves. The resulting characterisation is less quirky and the mysteries more susceptible to policework. WPC Trewlove (Dakota Blue Richards) starts to make her presence felt.
Endeavour, Series 3 by Russell Lewis (ITV, 2016) The crimes are more measured this series and Morse is less of a socially gasping savant. Though stepping back from the overt prefiguring of John Thaw’s portrayal, Endeavour remains both an enjoyable character drama and a noteworthy time capsule of 1960s Oxford.
Endeavour, Series 2 by Russell Lewis (ITV, 2014) Four more feature-length episodes. Shaun Evans and Roger Allam further establish their dynamic as the perceptive young Morse and his mentor Fred Thursday. Several of the murder mysteries, however, rely too heavily on stacked coincidences for their execution, obfuscation and eventual unravelling.
Endeavour, Series 1 by Russell Lewis (ITV, 2012-2013) Four feature-length mysteries (plus pilot episode) establishing the young Inspector Morse as a detective constable in 1960s Oxford. Morse is not yet especially redolent of his older self but Shaun Evans excels with a very expressive line in facially portrayed inner monologues.