Endeavour is the prequel to the long-running Inspector Morse. It is set primarily in Oxford. Shaun Evans portrays a young Endeavour Morse beginning his career as a Detective Constable with the Oxford City Police CID.
Set in mid to late-1960s Oxford, England, the series centres on the early career of Endeavour Morse after leaving Lonsdale College of Oxford University late in his third year without taking a degree, spending a short time in the Royal Corps of Signals as a cipher clerk, and then joining the Carshall-Newtown Police.
The murder of a 15-year-old schoolgirl and the apparent suicide of her boyfriend lead an investigation by the Oxford City Police to the discovery of sex parties where under-age girls are procured for politicians, businessmen, Oxford dons and policemen, which in particular make the sifting of evidence very difficult. Endeavour's superior, Detective Inspector Fred Thursday, recognising the young constable is a detective he can trust, takes him under his wing and is determined to break the case and, with Morse's help, bring it to a successful conclusion.
The sudden death of a secretarial student and the shooting of a doctor appear unconnected despite Morse's theories. Chief Superintendent Bright, the new commanding officer of the Oxford City Police, unimpressed with Morse's zeal, protests to Thursday that the bagman's position is a Detective Sergeant's job and the young constable is too inexperienced. Following the shooting of a vicar, Morse is reduced to general duties for dismissing a beautiful, but mentally unstable girl as a suspect and must continue his investigations alone despite warnings of termination from his superiors.
21 April 2013
The strangulation of a married woman and the brutal poisoning of an elderly lady botanist, backed with clues of an operatic connection, leads Thursday to have Morse taken off general duties for his specialist knowledge of opera to bring a serial killer to justice.
28 April 2013
An unpopular fitter is murdered during a royal visit at a family owned munitions factory. Thursday and Jakes lead the investigation while Morse is given routine tasks of inquiry. Due to the royal visit, Chief Superintendent Bright fears for his position unless the case is solved quickly.
5 May 2013
Morse, still on general duties and studying for his forthcoming sergeant's exam, investigates an apparent hit-and-run accident that has claimed the life of an Oxford don. The victim had been at odds with his peers over the sale of a piece of college-owned land to a development company in conjunction with the town council. The case is complicated by the appearance in Oxford of an East London gangster named Vic Kasper, an enemy from DI Thursday's past, which reignites a personal feud as Thursday thinks Kasper is somehow involved with the case. In the meantime, Morse makes a trip back home to Lincolnshire to visit his dying father.
In the spring of 1966, after returning from sick leave for several months at County (Oxfordshire) Police's Witney Station under D.I. Church, Morse investigates a suspicious suicide during an Oxford parade, a missing girl from Oxfordshire, and the theft of a trove (ancient artifacts) from a college. On the 900 year anniversary of the 1066 Battle of Hastings a beauty pageant and local by-election draw Morse into disagreement with Inspector Thursday and Superintendent Bright when he believes they are connected to the crimes despite the evidence. A missing notebook and a Freemasonry lodge hamper the investigation.
6 April 2014
In July 1966 at the almost empty Museum of Natural History, save for some schoolgirls, Adrian Weiss, a specialist in heraldry and genealogy, is murdered. The similar murder of a 12-year-old girl at her boarding school leads Morse to delve into a 100-year-old murder mystery involving a wealthy family with connections to India and an inheritance. A masonic ring connected to the case goes missing.
13 April 2014
In the period before Remembrance Sunday in November of 1966, a housewife found strangled with a silk stocking in her own home becomes the third such death in Oxford in a month. All the women were married, alone and their wedding rings missing. Tracing the stockings to the sole supplier, Burridges Department Store, a number of suspects surface, and for Inspector Thursday, a face from the past he thought was dead leading to complications in his family life and with Morse.
20 April 2014
In December of 1966, a boy with a brutal father is reported missing from his home. The body of a journalist is found on a railway line and within days an escaped convict, with only a month of his sentence remaining, is found dead. The two men have connections with Blenheim Vale, a disused correctional facility for boys in Kidlington, soon to be redeveloped as a new police headquarters in a reorganisation of the local forces to form the Thames Valley Police. Thursday and Morse's investigation lead to a property developer and corruption in high places including missing police evidence in Morse's last three investigations.
March 1967. A funfair on the Cowley Green turns sinister when a young bus conductress, Jeannie Hearne, is spirited away into the night, seemingly without explanation. When her body is found the next morning in the thickets of the Oxfordshire countryside, brutalised and abandoned, the case is brought to the attention of the Oxford City Police.
10 January 2016
April 1967. As spring blooms, the death of artist Simon Hallward in a horrendous house‐fire leaves Oxford City Police baffled as to the cause of the blaze. When a young housewife dies, seemingly of the same mysterious ‘tummy bug’ that has seen half of Chief Superintendent Bright’s troops go on Sick Leave, DC Endeavour Morse’s investigation leads him to an inner‐city supermarket, Richardson's, owned by a wealthy family of the same name, descended from a line of Quakers.