John Thaw had to be persuaded to take on the role for which he is best remembered. Having already played Detective Regan in the classic seventies series, The Sweeney, Thaw was reluctant to take on the role of another Police Officer. Thaw was persuaded that Morse would be a very different kind of character to Regan, one more likely to his intellect to solve a problem than his fists. This character was an intellectual former Oxford student, with a love of classical music, beer, The Archers and solving a puzzle. He also knew he was intellectualy superior to his colleagues and was prone to treating people in a partrosining manner, most notably his long suffering Sergeant, Robbie Lewis. Jack Regan would have run a mile from such a character.
In January 1987, Central televsion broadcast the very Morse episode, The Dead Of Jericho. The episode was 2 hours long, a format which was unique in television drama at this time. The episode was carefully plotted, featuring a variety of twists before the murderer was uncovered. All the 3 adaptions that make up the first Morse series are based on novels by the character's creator, former Oxford lecturer, Colin Dexter. Joining John Thaw was Kevin Whateley, as the young Newcastle born sergeant Lewis. In the early novels, Lewis is described as an elderly Welshman. The producers rightly decided to cast a younger man in this role, thereby developing a contrast between the characters. All 3 episodes are excellent.