Inspector Morse

The Wench Is Dead

Season 7, Ep 7, Aired 11/11/98
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  • Episode Description
  • Morse collapses during a conference on Victorian crime and is admitted to hospital. To pass his time in bed, he reads a book about the famous Oxford Canal Murder of 1859. A young woman was found dead in the canal, and the local police believed she was the victim of four rough boatmen who were carrying her by barge to London. A murder trial resulted in two of the men being convicted and hanged. Morse becomes convinced there was a miscarriage of justice and he enlists the help of a young police recruit, as Lewis is away on a training course. They trace the physical evidence from the crime, which is still stored in a local archive, and subject it to modern forensic tests. The results lead Morse to unearth an insurance fraud which was the motive for the framing of the boatmen - a fraud which is confirmed by a visit to a neglected grave in Ireland.moreless

  • Cast & Crew
  • James Grout

    Chief Superintendent Strange

  • John Thaw

    Chief Inspector Morse

  • Malcolm Bradbury

  • Robert Knights

  • Judy Loe

    Adele

  • Fan Reviews (1)
  • An interesting episode about Morse solving a historical crime with a new sidekick.

    By relaineau, Oct 12, 2007

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (1)

    • Morse: To make an end is to make a beginning.

    Notes (1)

    • This episode is based on Colin Dexter's book The Wench is Dead (1989).

    Allusions (2)

    • When Morse says "To make an end is to make a beginning", he is quoting from T.S. Eliot's poem Little Gidding - "What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from." Or, as the poet Seneca puts it, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.”

    • The title of this episode is an allusion to a passage in Christopher Marlowe's play The Jew of Malta (circa 1589) - "Thou hast committed Fornication: but that was in another country, And besides, the wench is dead."

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