Inspector Morse and The Fictional World of Archives

TV "Mystery" Series (WGBH Boston) beginning in 1988 (USA) and 1987 (UK).

In this British police detective series, Chief Inspector Morse is played by John Thaw.

Program Title: "The Wench Is Dead" (Series 12, PBS broadcast dates, April 1 and 8, 1999)

Inspector Morse, recuperating in hospital from an illness, reopens an 1859 Oxord Canal murder case based on the persuasive arguments of an American criminologist's book. Archival records of the case figure prominently in this two-part episode. Morse's quest to solve the case is aided by the criminologist herself who happens to be visiting Oxford, and Adrian Kershaw (Matthew Finney), a young recruit from the Thames Valley Police.

In another earlier unidentified episode, according to an anonymous United Kingdom viewer:

One of the episodes featured Morse's sidekick, the hapless Detective Sergeant Lewis (Kevin Whately), being sent down into the Oxfordshire County Record Office [Oxford] to research an individual. However, in reporting back to his chief Lewis came up with the damning quote: "miles of records down there and none of them catalogued!" I joined the staff of Oxfordshire Record Office shortly after this episode had been screened and they were not at all pleased with the effect of this remark on their reputation.

  1. "Mystery" Series (WGBH Boston)
  2. Internet Movie Database

CONTENTS: The Fictional World of Archives

Anonymous UK viewer, 1997.07.15; submitted by David Mattison, 1999.03.20. Updated 1999.03.20.