The Brilliant Bagman: Shaun Evans on the Evolution of Endeavour Morse



Looking to get hooked on another great detective series? Look no further than the brilliant and captivating Endeavour, premiering on VisionTV Thursdays at 8pm ET Jan. 7 – Feb. 11, 2021.

A prequel to the hit British series Inspector Morse, Endeavour follows one of the world’s most loved detectives during his early career solving crimes in the 1960s. Starting out as young police officer with a reputation for being difficult, Endeavour Morse is first sent to investigate the case of a missing girl in Oxford. Played wonderfully by Shaun Evans, the brilliant and grumpy detective finds himself swept up in the complex case while adjusting to his new job, which earns him the demanding but enviable role of “bagman” to his superior Inspector Fred Thursday (Roger Allam). While bagman usually refers to an often illicit money collector, in this case, it’s Thursday’s way of referring to Morse as his chief assistant.

Soon enough, Thursday and Morse begin working closely together and learn to rely on each other to solve the most difficult cases. Like many popular detective series, this crime-solving duo often butt heads, but the mutual respect and admiration they have for one another always carries them forward to get the job done.

Now 7 seasons in after the 2012 series debut of Endeavour, Evans remains enthusiastic and dedicated to exploring this legendary character year after year. “One of the terrific things about long form TV is that you do get to stay with the character and see them evolve, and allow them to evolve, as well,” says Evans. “What’s unique about this situation is that because we know where this character ends up, we have an ending point that we have to work towards.”

As the curmudgeonly elder Inspector Morse, played by the late John Thaw, CBE, cracked cases in and around Oxford from 1987 to 2000, Evans knew he was facing quite a task to portray the detective in his formative years. In a 2017 interview with ITV’s Lorraine Kelly, Evans chatted about the challenge. “I thought it was best just to do my own thing with it, you know?” Evans explained. “Also because I wanted an audience of people who hadn’t seen the Inspector Morse series as well.”

As the Inspector Morse TV series is based on the series of novels by late author Colin Dexter and with Endeavour focusing on the detective’s early days, Evans resolved to dive deep into research for his role. “I wanted to make a real effort with Endeavour, not that I don’t with my other roles but there’s such a rich history with Morse,” he reflects. “So I read all the books and the script so I could be fully prepared for my meeting with the Producer and Director. When I heard that Colin Dexter had approved the project and the casting I got really excited at that point.”

With each episode of Endeavour being the length of a feature film, the show has the chance to deliver on a multi-layered, engrossing investigation and a satisfying conclusion by the end, but also dives into a more intimate view of these characters and their personal lives. Let this series take you on a ride from the very beginning as we present Endeavour Season 1, Thursdays at 8pm ET Jan. 7 – Feb. 11.

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