Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, Anton Lesser, Jack Laskey, Sean Rigby, James Bradshaw, Joe Bannister, Jack Bannon, Gina Bramhill, Rob Compton, James Doherty, Rob Jarvis, Brian Lipson, Shvorne Marks, Tim McMullan, Caroline O’Neill, Cécile Paoli, Adrian Schiller, Michael Thomas, Sara Vickers, Matthew Wilson, Max Wrottesley.
Morse may have been living life a bit more inside the box in recent months but as he relaxes more into a life with purpose after being shot in the last series, Oxford has a serial killer on the loose, one who is acting out of fanatical zeal and the foggy streets of the University city have become a dangerous place for women.
In Sway, the pace of the show is tightened perhaps for the first time this series but the viewer is able to see something of the life of Endeavour Morse’s boss’s life away from the station and the entanglement of his life intersecting with the investigation as he meets an old friend from the war just as he is preparing to celebrate 25 years of marriage to his wife Win. Roger Allam’s comfortable style is enjoyable and away from the title character of Morse, played as ever with steely determination by the sublime Shaun Evans, is one of the best reasons to give for the show’s success. You can only wonder that if the programme of Oxford policing can go back yet another generation and see more of what D.I. Fred Thursday become the man he is as he took the young Morse under his guidance.
Away from the usual cast, this particular episode was enhanced by the appearance of Adrian Schiller as men’s outfitter Charles Highbank, the superb Cécile Paoli as the long lost war comrade of Detective Inspector Thursday and an unsettling enactment by Max Wrottesley, who showed great flair as the salesman Joey Lisk. All three actors enriched the episode with their presence, Adrian Schiller especially captured the moment and polar argument of what the killer was enacting upon. The listening to a woman’s woes, even one who had betrayed her friends in war time, was an important discussion that Mr. Schiller’s character was able to command.
As the bodies start to mount up and the police and public become more fearful of what is to come next, the episode proves once more to be a place in which the swinging sixties could be seen less as a time of freedom and more like strangulation.
The concluding episode of this series of Endeavour is on next Sunday.
Ian D. Hall