Thursday, September 7, 2017

Weekly Rec: Endeavour

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Many of the best mystery series - book or television - take place during periods of great social change and upheaval. Widespread cultural, social, and political shifts present all sorts of new opportunities and motivations for people to commit crimes, and the effects of abstract changes are portrayed in pointed, personal ways. It makes the whole context of the investigations much more interesting; a delicious tension is created between what's happening in the world and the need for detectives to put at least small parts of it back in order.

This is one of the reasons why the British show Endeavour works so well. It's a prequel to the long-running classic Inspector Morse mysteries, but you don't need to have seen Morse to enjoy Endeavour. (I haven't!) It's set at Oxford in the 1960s, where a young Endeavour Morse is starting out as a policeman. It has all the things you look for in a traditional British mystery show - dead dons, class maneuverings, gorgeous architecture, mostly decent police officers, tea - but it's the sixties and things are changing rapidly around Endeavour, as students protest, women enter the workforce, and conventions crumble. In a recent episode, "Canticle," he even gets involved with a mystery surrounding a Beatles-esque rock band and a woman protesting their supposed obscenity. It's one of the finest of the series so far.

The first three seasons of Endeavour are streaming on Amazon Prime: one, two, three. Season four is currently airing on PBS, so you can probably catch all of it on demand or on the PBS site; I'm sure will be headed to Prime eventually!


  1. Ooh, this sounds great. Jacob and I are obsessed with British mystery series, so adding this one to the list. Thanks for the rec!