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"Coded messages, murder - right up my street. It's not a bad way to start the day."

Inspector Morse was a British Detective Drama based on a series of novels by Colin Dexter, which ran from 1987 to 2000. Set among the dreaming spires of Oxford, it starred John Thaw as the grumpy, intellectual and beer loving Chief Inspector Morse, and Kevin Whately as his cheerful Geordie sidekick Sergeant Lewis. During the course of each episode, the pair would investigate a murder, which would often involve complex university politics, bright but emotional students and the opportunity for Morse to utilise his love of classical music, literature and cryptic crossword puzzles.

The show was immensely popular in Britain, and John Thaw's portrayal of Morse is generally considered one of British television's most iconic characters. Still repeated fairly frequently on ITV3.

Sergeant Lewis later received his own spin-off in Lewis. A Prequel, Endeavour, set in 1965 and starring Shaun Evans as the young Detective Constable Morse, aired in 2012; it has been renewed for a series airing in June of that year.

Tropes used in Inspector Morse include:
  • Afraid of Blood: Morse has quite a distaste for gore and won't look at fresh corpses unless he absolutely has to. Being a murder detective, he sometimes does have to.
  • Always Murder
  • Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon
  • British Brevity: While each season is between 3 and 5 episodes long, each episode is an hour and forty minutes!
  • Cartwright Curse
  • Cool Car: Morse's red Jaguar Mark II.
  • Creator Cameo: Series creator Colin Dexter would make a cameo in every episode.
  • Da Chief: Chief Superintendent Strange veers into this on occasion... in a very British way, of course.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Morse's first name is Endeavour
    • "You poor sod."
  • Eureka Moment: Often supplied by a passing comment from Sergeant Lewis.
  • Famous Last Words: "Thank Lewis For Me"
  • Hey, It's That Guy: Watching reruns of The Sweeney can come as a shock after you've become used to Thaw as Morse.
    • What about the episode where he faces off against Emperor Palpatine? And the episode where one of his colleagues is Admiral Piett?
    • In the very first episode, the Second Doctor appears as a rather creepy peeping tom.
    • Quite a few other famous British faces turn up as guest stars.
  • Ho Yay: Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis. For example, the spoiler above.
  • Inspector Lestrade: Sergeant Lewis (Although, in later series, he sometimes found the right answer before Morse and even once successfully hid the truth from Morse to spare Morse's feelings)
  • Irregular Series
  • Never One Murder
  • Never Suicide: Subverted in that Morse often makes a point of investigating suicides.
  • No Name Given
  • The Not Love Interest: Morse is too ... Morse to be exactly paternal, but Lewis still manages to be his Most Important Person, to the point that he leaves a third of his estate to Lewis and Lewis finds that one of the few pictures in Morse's house is of himself and Morse in front of Morse's Jag.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis. In Endeavour, Inspector Thursday and Constable Morse.
  • Overtook the Series: Originally averted by mixing adaptions of the novels with original plots, but since the death of Morse, the spinoff series Lewis has obviously ended up doing this.
  • Oxbridge
  • Ret Canon: Dexter has admitted he prefers the TV series portrayal of the young, Geordie Sergeant Lewis to the elderly Welshman used he used in the novels.
  • Sesquipedalian Smith: Morse himself
  • Significant Anagram Constantly. Colin Dexter is a major crossword fan and often included anagrams of important character's names.
  • Small Reference Pools: Completely averted due to both Morse and the show's writers having an extensive knowledge of classical music, leading to some obscure references that only a few fans will get.
  • Spin-Off: Lewis.
  • Television Geography: Morse was seemingly able to walk between Oxford landmarks which are in reality several miles apart in a matter of seconds.
  • The Coroner: The show went through several, although Max from the first two series is the most well remembered.
  • Theme Song Assonance: The theme tune is based on the Morse code for Morse's name. Occasionally the composer would throw in the name of a character from that episode, sometimes the murderer, but on other occasions an innocent character to throw knowledgeable viewers off track.

Episodes of this series provide examples of: