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Still early in the series (it lasted until The Remorseful Day in 2000), we find Morse still getting comfortable with his young partner Sergeant Lewis (Kevin Whately), the family man who would rather head home than end the day with a pint with his partner. Morse is up to his old tricks, sneaking scotch in coffee mugs at crime scenes and taking beer breaks, and Thaw plays the loner detective without a hint of self consciousness as he shifts his theories around throughout his investigations. And in the best tradition of British TV mysteries, this is a mystery solved not by shoot-outs or car chases but by relentless investigation and sheer brain power (helped along by a couple of pints of ale). Elizabeth Hurley (Austin Powers) and Julia Sawalha (Saffron from Absolutely Fabulous) have small parts as schoolgirls questioned by Morse and Lewis. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com
The storyline is this--a young girl who is a day student at a private girl's school fails to come home one day. The police are called in to find the girl. Six months later, the girl is still missing and Morse is put on the case. He tells Sargeant Lewis, "She's dead." "Why do you say that Sir?" says Lewis. Morse replies, "Because I'm the three-file man. They bring me in when there are three files, and when there are three files, someone's gone missing too long." So the first mystery is this, is the girl alive as Lewis says, or is she dead as Morse insists??
If she is dead, who killed her? The headmaster of the school has been behaving suspiciously. His wife thinks his actions are odd. The assistant head mistress seems to have some knowledge she is keeping under wraps. And then there's the father who has access to all sorts of earth-moving equipment--and he's her stepfather after all and a wealthy one at that. On the other hand, one of the male instructors quit quite recently, around the time when the young girl disappeared. He moved onto a lower paying job in another school. Why would he do that?
For regular fans of BBC/PBS drama and comedy, the cast is filled with many familiar faces. Julia Sawhalia ("Absolutely Fabulous" and "Pride and Prejudice") and Hugh Grant's old girl friend (Estee Lauder model) play students. "As Time Goes By" fans will recognize the actor who plays Alistair. In LSW he plays the young male teacher who recently vacated his job at the private school where the female student disappeared.
The DVD is excellent. The shots of the English countryside are wonderful. The crisp clear photography reveals the black circles under Morse's eyes (he has a little alcohol problem) as well as the 20 layers of dirty green paint on the long corridor in the old police headquarters building. This is vintage stuff.