The brief hints given in "Inspector Morse" about Morse's unhappy upbringing, the death of his mother, his awkward relationship with his father and his intense dislike of his stepmother are expanded on in this story, which rounds off the first "Endeavour" season. Writer Russell Lewis's absolute mania for allusiveness, already made clear in many episodes of "Lewis", is at work here, too - the London gangsters who fetch up in Oxford are said to be connected with "Sid and Gerald Fletcher", who never appear in the episode but are said to be kings of the metropolitan underworld, in the manner of the real-life Kray twins. Filmgoers with long memories will recall that Sid and Gerald are Michael Caine's two sinister bosses in the 1971 movie "Get Carter", where they are played by Terence Rigby and John Bindon. It all gets a bit out of hand when we realise that the Rachmaninov music playing in the background whilst Mrs. Coke-Norris vamps her late husband's friend is the same as used in "Brief Encounter" - an easy laugh, perhaps, but a cheap one. However, in every other respect, this is a solidly interesting and well-made episode, concluding, as we all rather thought it would, with the oafish Strange getting promoted over Morse - the first step in his becoming the Superintendent whom James Grout played so memorably in "Inspector Morse" - and even explaining the limp John Thaw sometimes had in the earlier show.
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