First on this tape, Inspector Morse – Second Time Around. An episode written by Daniel Boyle, but not to be confused with Danny Boyle who has also directed episodes of Inspector Morse but not this one. All clear?
It starts off with someone lurking outside a house.
He’s got a clipping about a policeman writing a book.
Morse and Lewis get to go to a nice party, to celebrate a the same policeman collecting an OBE.
An old colleague of Morse, Chief Inspector Dawson, gives the speech. He’s played by Ken Colley. The both worked together under Hillian, the man being honoured that night.
Dawson takes Hillian home, and because he’s blind drunk he leaves him on his sofa. But someone breaks in, and rifles through his folders, presumably notes for his book. Hillier wakes up, there’s a struggle, and Hillian falls and cracks his head.
Morse is slightly miffed that Dawson is going to hang around for the investigation, as there’s a bit of rivalry there.
Guest Star Alert! It’s a young Christopher Eccleston, playing young Terence Mitchell, who was doing work on a fence for Hillian, so he had been at the house the day before. Is he a big enough actor to be a major character? He wasn’t in the opening titles. iMDb says it’s only his third role. He’s an autistic young man, living with his mother and drawing pictures of his birds.
A car was spotted driving away from the house, and its driver is traced. It’s Oliver Ford Davies, playing a bookseller called Redpath. “A communications blackout can mean only one thing – Invasion!” is something he doesn’t say in this programme. He claims he was there because he was interested in the book, but Morse doesn’t buy it.
His daughter arrives at the station and seems very agitated that her father is being accused of anything.
Here’s another guest star, as Sam Kelly plays the other man who was at the victim’s house the previous day. he has a ball playing the louche ghost writer who was helping Hillian with his book. He seems like he has a motive – all the royalties would go to him – but he really doesn’t seem dark or broody enough to be the killer.
Morse is still questioning Redpath, trying to understand why he’s lying, and why he would have been there. Dawson (Colley) returns from London, walks into the interview room and goes ballistic. We learn that this is harking back to the murder of an 8 year old child, Mary Lapsley. Dawson had been Hillian’s sergeant during the investigation. Redpath had a different name, and was under suspicion for a long time. Dawson in particular was rumoured to have been violent towards him. Morse was the one who found the dead girl. A knife was found, which used to belong to Redpath, although he claimed he had lost it a year ago.
The investigation continues, and Redpath tries to hang himself in his cell, but he’s found just in time by an officer. Weirdly, Shahnaz Pakravan – a Tomorrow’s World presenter among other things – plays a doctor.
There’s an old piece of evidence from the Lapsley murder – they received a typed version of a diary the purported to talk about the murder, but it was generally reckoned by Dawson to be a fake.
They contact Lapsley’s grandmother to try to learn more about the case. She gives Morse an old picture of Mary with her mother (now dead). A photographic expert reckons he can blow up the label in a jacket Mary is sitting on in the picture, some clue to who her father was.
He does a pretty good job. A pre-computer example of ‘Enhance’.
The label proves a dead end, as the tailor is no longer there, so no records were kept. Morse returns to the Grandmother, who shows him something young Mary kept as a keepsake of her father. Morse recognises what it is, but leaves it with the Grandmother. He’s got one just the same in his own desk.
They’re also following another old lead, looking up John Mitchell, Father of Christopher Eccleston’s character, who has been missing for many years, who kept his son at home, possibly to stop him talking about Mitchell’s guilt, and also mistreated him. Lewis thinks Mitchell might have returned when he heard about the book. Morse doesn’t think so, and almost suspends Lewis when he won’t drop the idea.
But he seems to accept the solution, and the police descend on the Mitchell house. Dawson angrily confronts Mitchell’s wife, who seems to admit that Mitchell was the murderer. He’s almost too angry, though. Lewis is particularly disapproving of Dawson’s behaviour.
Morse goes to see Redpath to give him the news, expecting that he’ll be relieved to finally be free from suspicion. But Redpath just laughs. “Can’t you get anything right?” He knew that John Mitchell couldn’t have killed the girl, because he knew that he was bedridden with a virus that day. This seems like a fact that should have been in the case notes, assuming Mitchell had been a person of interest during the investigation.
After going to see Hillian’s ghostwriter again, Morse goes back to the Mitchell house to talk to young Terrence (Eccleston). Terrence was the one who killed Mary, and later, Hillian. He gets to explain the entire plot to Morse.
But the story’s not quite over, as Morse and Lewis go to see Dawson, a Lewis arrests him for the murder of John Mitchell. “We lacked your great incentive, didn’t we? To find the man that killed your daughter.”
I really enjoyed this one. Although Eccleston might have seemed obvious at the start by dint of casting, Colley was so grumpy and dogmatic through the whole thing he had to be guilty of something, although it was my wife who first suggested he was the father.
And I particularly liked the line, when he described killing Mitchell, and he asks “He admitted it. He said he did it. Why would he do that?” “Because he loved his son, like you loved your daughter.”
After this, recording switches, and there’s an episode of The South Bank Show with a profile and interview with Steve Martin, while he’s shooting the film LA Story.
Also interviewed are Director of The Jerk Carl Reiner
His old writing partner, Bob Einstein, also known as Super-Dave Osbourne.
The director of LA Story, Mick Jackson.
There’s a trail for LWT using ‘We Built This City’.
- Trail: LWT
- The Leeds – George Cole