Set in the mid-sixties, this prequel centres around the early career of Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans). After leaving his Oxford college without a degree, and spending a short time as a cipher clerk, Morse joins the police working under veteran DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam). This show was preceded by "Inspector Morse" (1987-2000) starring John Thaw and Kevin Whately.
The newly promoted Detective Sergeant Morse investigates when a famous international thief tries to steal a Faberge egg from an auction. The case leads to the gruesome murders of an academic and a gangster, and Morse is convinced the deaths are the work of the same man. As he struggles with his new responsibilities, he finds himself forced to mentor a younger partner.
Hollywood glamour comes to Oxford as the stars of a new horror movie sequel begin filming in the city. Meanwhile, the unexplained poisoning of a former detective sergeant leads Endeavour and Thursday to a local cinema, which is playing host the film's stars in a special event.
The railway takes centre stage as Endeavour investigates the disappearance of a local woman - with initial fears linking it to the unsolved murder of a teenager, killed several years earlier. Endeavour puts the missing woman's last known movements under scrutiny, while Thursday is absorbed in the investigation of a lorry hijack which he suspects is linked to local gangster Eddie Nero. The murder investigation takes a surprising turn when a woman's body is discovered, but Endeavour notices anomalies at the murder scene which point away from the cold case theory. Meanwhile, Cowley is disrupted by the arrival of two rough-and-ready burglary squad officers, also investigating the lorry hijack, who commandeer Fancy for their plans. Soon stumbling on a potential informant, Fancy is thwarted when his new lead is violently killed. The discovery of another body uncovers a clue that blows the case of the missing woman wide open - and leads to an unlikely culprit.
A photo-shoot on an army base turns sinister when one of the models is found dead. But the investigation is complicated when Sam Thursday is revealed to be involved.
An assassination attempt at an international sporting event opens a new case for Endeavour and Thursday, but their investigation is quickly brought to an unexpected end.
Early June 1967. A missing persons case - that of Danish au pair INGRID HJORT - proves far from routine, pulling ENDEAVOUR into the dueling worlds of Oxford scientific academia, the city's vast parks, Night School and the untamed wilderness of the Oxfordshire countryside.
Endeavour, recruited by his old college mentor Felix Lorimer to look into the safety of his estranged younger wife Nina, contemplates his police career as well as having to contend with unexpected strife in his personal life. Meanwhile, the murder of Cedric Clissold - a manager with a line in fashion - stirs up old gangland grudges as a notorious crime family appear to be in the frame as prime suspects.
Jeannie Hearne is spirited away in the middle of the night with no explanation. Her body is found the next day in the countryside, alerting the attention of the Oxford City Police. Endeavour may be suspended, but with the case been so close to his home, he begins a investigation of his own.
April 1967. As spring blooms, the death of artist Simon Hallward in a horrendous house‐fire leaves Oxford City Police baffled as to the cause of the blaze. When a young housewife dies, seemingly of the same mysterious ‘tummy bug’ that has seen half of Chief Superintendent Bright’s men go on Sick Leave, DC Endeavour Morse’s investigation leads him to an inner‐city supermarket, Richardson's, owned by a wealthy family of the same name, descended from a line of Quakers.
The murder of a schoolgirl brings Endeavour back to Oxford. When he refuses to accept the main suspect's guilt, he has to uncover the truth before it's too late
As the highly-anticipated moon landings of Apollo 11 draw near, Endeavour finds himself investigating the death of a promising young astrophysicist and his girlfriend. Their deaths seeming to be a result of a tragic car accident on first inspection, with the clues pointing to foul play, Endeavour enlists the help of an injured Thursday to uncover the truth.
The murder of a chocolate factory owner during a local hunt leads Endeavour to the sleepy village of Chigton Green. When he learns of a vicious campaign of gossip and rumour, it seems likely that two murders are connected. One of the targets, a beautiful, single mother, captures Endeavour's attention, giving him food for thought about the future.
When a librarian is gruesomely murdered at the Bodleian, Endeavour and Thursday have little to go on besides a set of muddy boot prints. With the two main suspects having their own motives for killing the librarian, Endeavour digs deeper into their backgrounds, tracking a trail that appears to connect to seemingly innocent college bequest.
The ‘white heat' of technology takes centre stage in the first film, as Lovelace College is taken over by a team of research scientists who are developing a ‘thinking' machine to equal and even outstrip the capabilities of man's own mind. As a Russian academic prepares to do battle with the Joint Computing Nexus (JCN or Jason for short) in a game of chess, the Cold War is played out on a chequered field and Endeavour and Thursday are plunged into their most perilous, baffling and darkly terrifying case to date. Throwing himself into his work to mask the heartache of Joan's departure, Endeavour is quickly consumed by his duties when one of the research team is found drowned near Magdalen Bridge. Assuming it to be a suicide on first inspection, the circumstances become more suspicious when two more victims are also found drowned nearby in East Cowley Baths. Is there more to the deaths than meets the eye?
The so called ‘permissive society' comes under the spotlight as Endeavour is tasked with protecting conservative social activist, Joy Pettybon, after she receives a death threat while visiting Oxford to promote her ‘Keep Britain Decent' campaign. Also staying near Oxford and recording their new album are a band called The Wildwood and their manager Ralph Spender, who is desperate to maintain their squeaky-clean image in the media spotlight. However, their harmony is disrupted when the body of local brickie, Barry Finch, is discovered in the middle of Oxford and it transpires that Finch was working at Maplewick Hall, where they band are staying, before he died. Delving into the social revolution of the time, Endeavour finds himself caught in the crossfire of bitter liberalising forces and deep reactionary conservatism both fighting for the consciences of the British people in 1967. And in this collision of two worlds, Endeavour must explore all avenues before more killings occur.
Whispers that Cowley General contains a cursed ward - and a seemingly innocuous death - set off a chain of events that lead Endeavour to investigate the dark depths of the hospital. While there, he is forced to confront his own ghosts as he discovers a chilling secret.
As Endeavour sees in the new year – 1970 – at an opera house in Venice, a murder on an Oxford towpath speaks to Thursday's intuition, and convinced he has the man responsible, he vows to bring him to justice. Returning home, Endeavour makes a new acquaintance, and old friendships show signs of strain. Later, when an exciting new educational television programme appeals for Academic presenters, a contentious college project develops into a fatal battle of the sexes. On investigating, Endeavour and Thursday discover a potential link between the department and a young woman's troubling premonitions.
As campaigning for the 1970 general election gets underway in Oxford, racial tensions escalate in the city and a clash between two young rival gangs results in tragedy. Initial investigations lead Endeavour and Thursday to the door of a familiar face, where they discover the influence of the British Movement, a right wing organisation hoping to win an Oxford seat. Elsewhere in the city, tragedy strikes a second time, this time an Indian restaurant, where a customer's mysterious disappearance and a shocking murder put even the strongest family loyalties to the test.