Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
5 user 1 critic

The Wench Is Dead 

While Morse is in hospital for a bleeding ulcer, he takes an interest in an 1859 murder and becomes convinced its resolution was a miscarriage of justice.


Robert Knights


Colin Dexter (novel), Malcolm Bradbury (screenplay)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... Chief Inspector Morse
Lisa Eichhorn ... Dr. Millicent 'Millie' Van Buren
James Grout ... Chief Superintendent Strange
Louisa Lawrenson Louisa Lawrenson ... Nurse Hall
David Keyes David Keyes ... Walter Towns (as David Keys)
Paul Mari Paul Mari ... Rory Jack Oldfield
Judy Loe ... Adele Cecil
Alan Mason Alan Mason ... Mr. Greenaway
Aline Mowat Aline Mowat ... Sister Nessie MacLean
Sara Carver ... Nurse Fiona
Philip Quast ... Mr. Benfield
Karen Staples Karen Staples ... Mona
Matthew Finney Matthew Finney ... PC Adrian Kershaw
Jonathan Copestake Jonathan Copestake ... Philip Tomes
Andrew Grubb Andrew Grubb ... Ward (as Andy Grubb)


Morse is taken seriously ill at a museum reception and is hospitalized. While there, he takes an interest in a 140 year-old case known as the Oxford Canal Murders. The case involved the murder and rape of young woman traveling by canal boat from Coventry to London. The case resulted in two men being hanged and Morse believes there was a miscarriage of justice. With Lewis away at the Inspectors course Supt. Strange, who has counseled Morse to take early retirement, assigns fast-track university graduate PC Adrian Kershaw to do some leg work for him. Morse determines that a fraud took place and that the victim may have been someone else altogether. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

11 November 1998 (UK) See more »

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Did You Know?


The title is from Christopher Marlowe's play, "The Jew of Malta," probably written in 1590. "Thou hast committed/ Fornication: but that was in another country,/ And besides, the wench is dead." See more »


Chief Inspector Morse: [to his doctor] To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
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Clarinet Concerto in A Major
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1791)
Morse has it playing in his house
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User Reviews

Cleverly Done
12 March 2018 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

Morse finds himself hospitalized and facing the possibility of cancer. He has collapsed during a museum tour concerning a 150 year old case. While he lies in bed he begins to peruse a book written by the woman at the museum. He begins to find fallacies in the case of two men hanged for murder. This is a delightful outing where it is impossible for Morse to have anything but his gray matter to put together an alternative solution to the crime. There is a kind of finality to this as we see the handwriting on the wall for the great detective, age getting the best of him in the eyes of his employers.

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