First words: Morse's first words, spoken in 1988's The Dead of Jericho as he orchestrates a raid on a car mechanics' shop: "It's only a small job, a little dent on the wing."
The Dead of Jericho
Total episodes: Sixty-four one hour episodes stretching out across 13 years This makes Morse the longest running detective series in PBS MYSTERY! history, beating out such regulars as Marple, Holmes, and Poirot.
The Remorseful Day
Auditioning: When first asked to audition for the part of Lewis in The Dead of Jericho, Kevin Whately went to the library to check out the novel. He recalls, "This Sgt, Lewis was 63 years old and I thought, 'Well I'm not going to get this'".
Book or tape?: John Thaw read all of the novels. Kevin Whately listened to them all on tape.
Total body count: 81
Make and model: Morse drives a red, 2.4 liter, 1960-ish Jaguar Mark Il; his license plate reads 248 RPA.
In the original novels the car that Morse drove was a classic Lancia. It was only later changed to a Jaguar for the TV series and then in all subsequent printings of the books.
Name that tune: The Morse series' opening theme beats out M-O-R-S-E in Morse code.
Morse's Law, according to Lewis: "There's always a 50-50 chance that whoever finds the body did the deed."
Morse's Law, according to Morse: "There's always time for one more pint."
Morse abroad: Morse and Lewis have ventured outside Oxford twice in the past to solve cases in Australia (1993's Promised Land) and Italy (1995's Death of the Self).
Home Sweet Home: Morse's North Oxford flat isn't in Oxford at all. His 'home' scenes were shot in Castlebar Road, Ealing, west London.
Wanted all over the world: Inspector Morse is watched by viewers in more than 200 countries around the globe.
Villains, victims, and leading ladies: Guest stars who have appeared on the series include Sir John Gielgud (Hamlet), Elizabeth Hurley (Bedazzled), Richard Briers (Hamlet), Frances Barber (Rhodes), Jonathan Firth (Far From the Madding Crowd), Zoe Wanamaker (Wilde), Simon Callow (Notting Hill), and Joanna David (Pride and Prejudice). Behind-the-scenes support has come from such Oscar-winning writers and directors as Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) and John Madden (Shakespeare in Love).
Museum: The Ashmolean Museum is the home of the Alfred Jewel, the Anglo-Saxon gem that inspired the The Wolvercote Tongue.
What's in a name?: Morse's first name-Endeavour-was revealed in 1998's Death is Now My Neighbor. Morse's college nickname, a moniker he picked up during his St. John's College, Oxford days: Pagan. Lewis's first name-Robbie-is first uttered by Morse during 1993's Promised Land.
Deceived by Flight
"Nice to meet you Pagan."
What's in a name? Part 2: Dexter, like Morse is a crossword puzzle enthusiast. The name Morse was chosen in homage to Sir Jeremy Morse, former chairman of Lloyds Bank and a compiler of fiendishly difficult crossword puzzles.
School days: Morse's alma matter was St. Johns College. But girlfriend trouble kept him from receiving his degree.
Seventy candles: Morse and author Colin Dexter share a birthday-September 29, 1930. (Actor John Thaw is 12 years Morse's junior.) Morse was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, to a taxi-driver father with an insatiable interest in Captain Cook and a Quaker mother-a combination responsible for Morse's uncommon first name.
The arts: Morse's favorite composer: Wagner. The Chief Inspector's favorite poet: A. E. Housman, whom he quotes, fatefully, in The Remorseful Day:
"Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day."
Beer?: John Thaw hated the taste of beer. Real beer was used during filming but apple juice was substituted for Glenfiddich Whiskey.
All in the family: Kevin Whately's wife, the actress Madelaine Newton, played Morse's ill-fated love interest in 1992's Masonic Mysteries
Famous last words: Morse's last words, spoken in The Remorseful Day: "Thank Lewis for me."