Newly promoted Morse gets a protege as ‘Endeavour’ opens Season 5

‘Endeavour on Masterpiece’ — Morse gets a sidekick

Roger Allam and Shaun Evans (from left) star in “Endeavour on Masterpiece,” premiering Sunday, June 24, on PBS.

It’s April 1968, and change is blowing through Cowley Police Station as “Endeavour on Masterpiece” starts its fifth season Sunday, June 24, on PBS (check local listings).

A belated promotion finally has come through for the title character (Shaun Evans), now a detective sergeant, but this move up the ladder hasn’t been quite as life-changing as Morse had hoped. Worse, his new rank carries with it mentoring responsibilities with a station newcomer: Detective Constable George Fancy (new series regular Lewis Peek), who almost seems hand-picked to drive Morse to distraction.

Aggressively congenial, Peek looks forward to socializing with his new colleagues, which Morse finds simply distracting. There’s also his fondness for playing loud pop music on his car radio.

“Part of being a sergeant is taking on new responsibility, and part of that is mentoring a new officer,” Evans explains. “If that new officer were someone great, it probably wouldn’t be that interesting, but if it’s someone who’s not great and has a completely different way of doing things, then that creates room for conflict. As the season progresses, Morse takes more responsibility for Fancy in his guidance and teaching, although he still gets right on (Morse’s) nerves.”

There’s also extensive restructuring going on in the area police force, combining city and county personnel, which will mean almost inevitably a reduction in headcount. Morse’s immediate boss, freshly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Fred Thursday (Roger Allam), urges Morse not to ruffle any unnecessary feathers.

Shaun Evans and Roger Allam (from left) star in “Endeavour on Masterpiece,” premiering Sunday, June 24, on PBS.

“Morse wants to be good at his job while not getting caught up in the bureaucracy or politics of the workplace,” Evans says. “That’s just not what he’s about. I think he’s pretty fatalistic in terms of saying, ‘If they don’t like my way of doing things, then more fool them.’ I quite like that somewhat cavalier attitude, actually.”

In another development, Thursday’s pretty daughter, Joan (Sara Vickers), is back in town after rebelling against her family and leaving home. To say that she and Morse have a complicated history is an understatement.

“Well, remember we left it with me asking her to marry me and she said no, so what are you going to do?,” Evans says, laughing. “”Obviously that causes a degree of animosity. What does that mean for them going forward? Interesting things are going to happen.”

Season 6 already has been greenlit. Beyond that, Evans says, the creative team is taking it one season at a time.

“What I can say is that we are closer to the end than the beginning now,” he explains. “One of the main points of this season is that the outmoded way of doing things is coming to its end. The old guard, Mr. Bright (Anton Lesser) and Thursday, is about to change. This season is about what that means for both Thursday and Morse.”

John Crook

John Crook

A graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, John Crook has covered arts and entertainment for more than three decades, interviewing such Oscar winners as Julie Andrews, Meryl Streep, Faye Dunaway, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon, Michael Douglas and Emma Thompson along the way.

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