Season 1 Episode 0


Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Jan 17, 2006 on ITV
out of 10
User Rating
43 votes

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Episode Summary

Following the death in 2000 of his eponymous mentor Inspector Morse, Sergeant Lewis was promoted to Inspector and took a two-year sabbatical in the British Virgin Isles. Newly widowed, he now returns to Oxford and soon finds himself in charge of a murder case. But it is notes that Morse made on an earlier case which help Lewis solve this one as his main suspect had previously been the subject of an earlier investigation.moreless

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  • Would love to rate this ...

    ... but I can't. I can see no way to watch any episode. I'd like to start with the pilot. Could someone please help me figure out how to begin watching? :) *Have to submit a rating in order to submit this so I'll guess and give it a nine ...
  • 1x01 - Lewis

    I admit that I've never actually watched Inspector Morse but this was recommended to be 'cause I enjoy Midsomer Murders. The first episode was interesting enough to grab my attention.
  • Lewis is back, and he's haunted by the past. Sounds like he needs a priest...

    So then... Lewis. Many years after the legendary series comes to a end, Kevin Whately returns. We were always going to watch it - but could the writers come up with a good enough reason to continue the saga?

    Let's get one thing straight right away. This series is not simply 'Morse without Morse'. But neither is there no element of that. Morse was so iconic, his influence on Lewis must be addressed. However, to dismiss the series as inferior because it lacks John Thaw is to ignore everything the writers are trying to do. Basically, this series interogates the character of Lewis to examine what kind of man he is, in this post Morse, post Val world. The cheery geordie copper of old is still in evidence, but life's trials have weighed down on him, and he is now entering darker territory.

    Many have commented on their disapointment that Lewis just seems to be a bargain basement version of Morse himself now, grouchy, awkward etc. The point that the series tries to make in S1, is that yes, Lewis is starting to exhibit some of Morse's attitudes and even use some of his methods.

    The interest comes in seeing how this is actually a bad thing however. Many episodes establish that the Morse connection is actually a bad thing in many ways. Hanging onto Morse, Lewis does gain insight and the vestiges of his old mentor's genius. But he also pushes people away, is generally harsher at times than he should be, and is in danger os losing what is so good about himself.

    And the Pilot tackles all this pretty well. Tarred with Morse's reputation for awkwardness, he is immediatly blacklisted by his new boss Jean Innocent. Arriving in town dressed in casual wear, politely refusing to take Hathaway that seriously (as he ignores his attempts to hurry him along and gossips with Hobson about him etc), he seems generally dismissive of how the force is condcuting itself in his absence.

    This is the first alarm bell (in a good, interesting way). In the old days, Lewis was very much Morse's connection to the real world. He was a family man, watched Eastenders with a plate of chips, got on with everyone etc. His initial refusal to wear the crime scene suit is just one of many instances where he is now not that bothered with fitting in with everyone anymore. The old Lewis is still there, and chats with old pals like Hobson help to bring him out. Season 1 is very interested in how people can change and how they stay the same. The character of Jekyll from the sleep lab is important because the association of idea (which Churchett cleverly plants into the dialogue), calls attention to the Jekyll and Hyde nature of Lewis now (i.e Lewis and Morse personalities).

    And so it follows that as a partner, he needs someone who will enable to see how much clinging to his past is hurting him at times. Hathaway, a former priest in training, takes it upon himself several times to try and make Lewis see that it's okay to grieve, but eventually you have to move on.

    So where are we then? Well, the main characters are generally very engaging. Whately steps up nicely to the challenge of portraying this new haunted Lewis, Fox has I think won many, many fans with his portrayal of Hathaway. Enigmatic, but definately an outsider, he and Lewis are perfect as two old cronies solving the strange crimes of the city.

    Some claim it's a bad thing to have Hathaway so educated, but so often in this series, the crime's more esoteric and literary aspects prove to be blind alleys or smokescreens. The Pilot is very good in that it shows that although someone like Morse would get the Hamlet references etc, that is exactly what Deniston wants - the Hamlet references are merely there to throw people off the scent.

    Ergo, it takes Lewis and his outsider status to solve the crime. Where Morse would insist many of his crimes could only be solved by an Oxford man, most of the lewis cases need someone who isn't, someone who can cut through all the nonsense and high art and grasp at what is really going on.

    And what is going on?

    Well... this episode as I said is really about the killer using the Hamlet story to mask his crimes. Deniston is a very clever and interesting killer, using his brainpower to outwit the cops (making Lewis and Hathaway wait as he cleans up the evidence in his car, whilst simutaneously keeping them near the clock where they will 'discover' the time discrepancy without him needing to call attention to it etc).

    The problem is that the Hamlet angle is so obviously too convenient. It all feels a little 'Hey look - isn't it cool?' for the majority. In 'The Dead of Jericho', Morse got hung up on the Odeipus angle, and Lewis told him straight that it was very unlikely - and he was right. It's the same here really. The difference is that the Hamlet references seem very heavy handed. From the charaters with the appropriate names (Rex and Pollock etc) to the fact that the details of Hamlet are often replicated so well (Deniston doesn't intend to kill Pollock for example, and could not have planned for the Opehlia style drowning).

    In a way though, it does lend credibility to the eerie atmosphere that the series occasionally evokes. The murder in the sleep lab is quite sinister, because the idea of a sleep lab with its wires and silence is fairly unsettling anyway. It's like a nightmare comes true and Regan is killed in her dreams, from within.

    So the Hamlet plot that starts to come true against the actions and conscious decisions of the participants is rendered more effective in some ways.

    Ultimately however, the Hamlet plot is somewhat harmful to the episode. It's simply too easy to roll your eyes and think 'oh come on, as if' about it, and view the episode's mystery as being something that needed Morse to solve it. I don't think Churchett does enough to make the point that it's all just smoke and mirrors - the real crime has nothing to do with the Griffons really. It was just Deniston dragging them into it, because they provided a convenient scapegoat.

    But the episode is bookended with the actual crime and story of the Denistons and the regan murder at the sleep lab. This proves to be very interesting, and it's always important to start and end episodes well. Maths is one of those subjects that is very intimidating to outsiders, seems pretty dry, but evokes great respect also - perfect for the Morse world.

    In fact the only aspect I wasn't so happy with, was the lack of explanation and insight into Regan's character. Mostly all the characters in the episode have very little good to say about her. Most of them consider her arrogant, annoying, a tease, a whore etc etc. The point is though, that all these characters had reasons to dislike her, and probably can't be relied on to give a fair description. From what little we see of her, she seems arrogant yes, but also a decent, nice person. She's the master brain who takes the time to talk with the security guard. Not in a condescending way - she seems to really like him. His almost fatherly pride in her is much missed later on when people are maligning her.

    And it seems likely that they are all mistaken (though they probably aren't outright lying). In her sleep, Regan mumbles that she 'isn't laughing' and looks concerned. It seems likely therefore that when Rex Griffon states she laughed at him and was going to laugh with Danny about him, he is probably just wrong, was so ashamed and angry that he imagined she must think him a fool etc.

    Also with Denniston, he claims regan sent him an e-mail calling him a 'sad old man'. This is extremely unlikely. I can believe that she said 'I'm the smartest girl in the world', but the last bit is probably Denniston filling in what he imagined were the blanks. It simply goes against what we see of Regan to have said something like this (especially when Ivor is such a kindly old man to his students).

    It could be that such claifications were deliberatly removed to help us empathise with Deniston at the end. Churchett clearly doesn't want us to hate Denniston, as he was driven to his crimes by the need to protect his wife. Having us also feel sorry for Regan might muddy the waters a bit too much as regards out emotions to the characters.

    Indeed, the lack of true closure on this matter is indicative of a problem throughout this episode. There are simply too many charactera and too many interesting strands to explore. Talented character actors like Danny Webb get little to do, and themes like Lewis having to investigate people assocated with cars, given how his wife died, are left to rot, undeveloped.

    The relationship with Jekyll is given little room for manouvre also. This is unfortunate, as the Jekyll and Hyde aspect of Lewis personality, and what she could tell him, is left largely unexplored (due to time I would think). Most of the Griffons are also left by thw way side as the episode progresses. They all get a few scenes to do something, but it never amounts to us caring all that much about them.

    Most of the time, you feel that this is a bit of a waste of time. Rex Griffon hardly seems the most loathsome villain in Oxford, and even if he doing dodgy deals with the Japanese and is seeing Trudi in an incestous affair (he isn't but if I mean), then so what really? It's hard to see anyone really being hurt by all that, and it never seems very likely that Regan's murder is involved (Pollock is the only one I had some suspicions about, but he gets killed pretty quickly).

    I think ultimately, the episode does make a good case for Lewis style of detecting. Lewis tends to take a less confrontational, more softly softly approach than Morse did. True, Morse had great results with that, but sometimes such tactics misfire and lead to tragedy. Lewis couldn't have known that the girl (sorry, remember her character's name) would overhear him talking about Regan and Rex. Because it sets in motion, a downward spiral in her mind to the point where she tries to kill herself (because she thinks Danny died as a result of what she told him). So the investigation has harmed people. And Lewis was always against Morse on this point, that charging in all guns blazing often got people killed, and hurt them unnecessarily. So it was nice to see that Lewis was very sorry that it had happened, because he hadn't intended it to. Indeed the ricital is an excellent scene, seeing him recover some of his own cheeriness hearing the music, but also seeing the desolation in her face. So what about it then? Any good? Well like I say, there are a few too many characters and ideas, but this was a pilot. They didn't know if they would get another chance, so pretty much every idea they had for Lewis in a post Morse world had to be included 'now or never'. So we must make allowances for that.

    The script is generally good, but the Morse references swim behind good and heavy handed (the endeavour award is particularly painful). And the episode really should have tried harder to make the point about the Hamlet references being so convenient being a blind alley, orchestrated in no small part by the killer (because he plants the idea into Lewis head, without mentioning Hamlet, but he must have understood the references himself).

    It's this last point which will prove so thorny for Lewis. People need to be able to see that Lewis can be a force on his own without Morse, and that the connection to Morse often works against him. The Pilot doesn't make this as clear as it should. But it does suceed in the area which really matters - you want to watch more after you finish it. A pilot doesn't really need to do anything more. Hathway is an excellent new sidekick, and Fox and Whately work very well together. The director seems to have cottoned on pretty quickly also that the actors work best on screen when they are hanging out like two outsider rogues, chewing on pies and generally knocking about. So an interesting story, good progression for the character showing that there is still a story to tell with Lewis, it's all good. More focus will be needed in future, less themes and characters to be replaced with more development those you keep. About the only really bad notes were the characters of Jean Innocent and most of the Griffon family. I just don't feel Front really does anything with this character (not that it's a world class idea for a character anyway).

    As for the Griffons, I just didn't really care about any of them (besides the girl, who ironically is the only one whose character name I have forgot!) They aren't really meant to be all that sympathetic I know, but it doesn't really help. Particularly, I didn't care about Danny, and I feel they really should have tried a bit harder to make us care more about him. A very promising start then. It won't go down as a classic of all time, but it engages and it's a hard heart indeed that would finish watching this without a small smile and say to yourself:

    "They did it. It's a good show." It gets a 7.5 out of 10 from me. Generally good, especially for a first episode, but needed a bit more focus, a bit more of a firm grasp on the case. And a few more characters we can really get behind always helps us get more involved. First is to care.moreless
  • a tribute to morse's memory while bringing his best friend back in from the cold

    wasnt sure how this was going to pan out. walked oxford this year and heard about the lewis series but it hadnt reached australia. started the episode a bit sceptical about how it was going to go but found it touching in a way to see parts of morse remembered - the red jag, the old case he had been involved in - and absolutely would not have been had there not been a suspicion on morse's part of homicide which Lewis rightly detects, the cryptic crosswords etc. Sad to be be brought up to speed regarding Lewis' wife and have to say it was like catching up with old friends. Loved seeing Hathaway's character interacting with Lewis and the connection the two make - Morse is reborn in a way! by the end of the episode, feeling very optimistic regarding the potential for the series and really looking forward to next week!moreless
  • Life goes on in Oxford as Lewis returns to solve crimes as the inspector with a new sidekick.

    The pilot of Lewis introduces us a new kind of Robbie Lewis; there's the man who used to tail Morse, but he's lost his wife after we last saw him, and he's taken a sabbatical in the British Virgin Islands. This gives the character more depth and probably the edge he needs to actually handle his own show. Pairing Lewis off with DS Hathaway was done nicely; with Hathaway working on the case and Lewis kind of needing to show that he still can do his job. There was enough of the awkwardness in the beginning, when neither knew exactly what the other expected of them, but by the end of the episode their working relationship was simply there. The two characters are also different enough to keep the interaction interesting.

    Hathaway seems like an intriguing character with his past and the way he delivers his dialogue with almost perfect deadpan (reminding me of Ed Wieldy from Dalziel&Pascoe). The small smirks and glances he throws at people work very well, though. The case in the pilot was really tragic; the Griffon family with their secrets and the Oxford professor who was trying to hold on to the one thing in his life that was still perfect. Most of the different storylines knitted together well, the only thing that jarred me a bit was the clumsy attempt of the romance between Lewis and Dr. Jekyll. Also... Dr. Jekyll? Fortunately they didn't have Hyde hiding around there somewhere...

    The episode is full of nods at Morse, not simply the small conversations people have about him and his death, but there's the Jag that almost hits Lewis in the beginning of the episode, as well as the Endeavour Award. However, I don't think they went overboard with the whole thing, not even with the case file having Morse's scribblings on it. Also, the allusions to Hamlet were not bad at all. :D Will definitely watch this show.moreless
Charlie Cox

Charlie Cox

Danny Griffon

Guest Star

Jack Ellis

Jack Ellis

Rex Griffon

Guest Star

Michael Maloney

Michael Maloney

Ivor Denniston

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • (Dr Hobson sees Lewis wearing a very garish Caribbean shirt)
      Dr. Hobson: Can you turn down the volume on that shirt?

    • Lewis: Morse, you can still see the stain from his glass.

    • Lewis: Listen, last night. I might have been a bit snappy about... God.
      Hathaway: He won't mind.

    • Hathaway: I was gonna be a priest.
      Lewis: You're joking!
      Hathaway: No, I even did a year at the seminary.
      Lewis: You'd know all about the meaning of life then. God moves in a mysterious way, has wonders to perform, all that mumbo-jumbo.
      Hathaway: It's not my fault you lost your wife, sir.

    • Hathaway: Has Oxford changed much since you've been away?
      Lewis: No. It changed before I went.

  • NOTES (8)

    • It was originally intended that James Grout's character of Chief Supt Strange would appear. However, Grout was too ill to work and so his character was written out and replaced by Supt Innocent.

    • The title of the episode, as shown on scripts and call-sheets, was Reputation. However this episode title was not displayed on any credits or in any listings magazines or publicity material.

    • Filming Locations
      Boatyard, Christ Church Meadow, Oxford
      Botanic Gardens, High Street, Oxford
      Experimental Techniques Centre, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex (Pretorious Laing Institute)
      Fox Wood Car Park, Hillcrest Road, Ealing, London
      Gaddesden Place, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire (Griffon family home)
      Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
      Island Quad, Oriel College, Oriel Square, Oxford
      Meridian Way, Watford, Hertfordshire
      Mortuary, St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey, Surrey
      Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, Middlesex
      Old DHSS Office, The Mall, Ealing, London
      Oriel Square, Oxford
      Sainsbury's Supermarket, The Dome, North Western Road, Watford, Hertfordshire
      St Laurence's Church, Church Road, Cowley, Uxbridge, Middlesex
      TAVR Centre, Honeycroft Hill, Uxbridge, Middlesex
      Terminal 4, Heathrow Airport, London
      Wadham College, Parks Road, Oxford
      West Car Park, Slough Railway Station, Brunel Way, Slough, Berkshire (Oxford Railway Station)
      Woodville Gardens, Ealing, London

    • The region 2 DVD of season 1 (B000EES15S) was released on 12 March, 2007.

    • In the United States, the show is known as Inspector Lewis.

    • The show's working title was Inspector Lewis.

    • Music
      Muse - Hysteria
      Art Brut - Formed a Band
      Johann Nepomuk Hummel - Trumpet Concerto in E Flat Major

    • 11 million viewers tuned in to watch this first outing for Lewis without Morse.


    • The Endeavour Award

      This is most likely yet another allusion to Morse, for Endeavour is Morse's first name. Considering Lewis' reaction to the receptionist's comment it's probably safe to guess that the scholarship was created around Morse's death.