ITV/Mammoth Screen

‘Endeavour’: Uniform

The final series of Endeavour is two-thirds of the way through, building up to a finale that is bound to hurt – as a man who watched the show from the start, I’m honestly dreading what will happen. But there’s one final step on the way before we reach that last-ever day, and it’s ‘Uniform’, a very-full episode that juggles its moving pieces, looking to the past and setting things up for the future.

As Thursday and Win (Caroline O’Neill) settle in for a night of the reassuring police show Jolly For Short, a crimewave is taking place across Oxford. Reports of stolen cars and wanton criminal damage flood into the station, linked to a debauched group of university undergraduates with connections in high places, which take a turn for the serious after a homeless man is found dead. Morse is continuing his investigation into the missing Brenda Lewis, a case he is convinced is linked to Blenheim Vale, but his attentions are distracted by another missing persons case – a notable artist, whose work adorns the covers of a series of paperback mysteries. The murder of a uniformed copper sees Bright command all hands on deck, and may help Morse and Thursday bring their cases together.


‘Uniform’ reflected on the cliches of the police drama


You have to give kudos to writer Russell Lewis for the amount that he packs into two hours. There are a lot of things going on – multiple murders and crimes, the character dynamics, and the ongoing storyline that is bringing the show to its end. The TV show framing allowed for more meta material, as ‘Uniform’ reflected on the cliches of the police drama, and gave us a chance for a wonderful performance by Kevin McNally as the lead role (sadly, the episode is so full, we barely see him or much of his supporting cast). Lewis also gives us some dreadfully unpleasant villains in the form of the undergraduates, and the scenes in which Thursday slaps them down are so satisfying.

Primarily, though, ‘Uniform’ is concerned with the past (and not only through a reference to Kent Finn as the author of the paperbacks). We truly return to Blenheim Vale, and it shows our characters at their best (and their actors just as superb) – this was an episode in which, one by one, our characters chose to do what was right. Lesser has a couple of moments in the sun, taking charge of the policeman’s murder and then choosing to ignore his superiors because he trusts his men – it was a scene in which I audibly cheered. There’s also some fantastic head-to-heads between Morse and Thursday, the former keen to get justice for Blenheim Vale and the latter having to think about his future and his growing family. The weight of what is to come is carried by both the men, and Evans and Allam convey that perfectly.


she’s not truly in love with Strange, but rather the stability he appears to offer


On that note, Sam tells Joan (Sara Vickers) something we’ve all been thinking for a while – that she’s not truly in love with Strange, but rather the stability he appears to offer, and he encourages her to follow her heart. This scene, in which the two siblings share ice creams and think about the future, is so well-acted, and a sign of a show comfortable in its more intimate moments. Of course, with this being a prequel, we know how things must pan out, but it’s still brutal to see. The way that it’s linked to Blenheim Vale and the cover-up of the corruption story, it’s a very ominous development for what lies ahead. A phone call to Thursday, hinting at major force behind the cover-up, does not bode well for characters we’ve grown to love.

Next week is the last ever episode of Endeavour, perhaps appropriately titled ‘Exeunt’, and it’s going to be a tough wait until then. Everything seems on a collision course, and after that final scene and an unexpected arrival, we’re likely to get to the bottom of the darkest case in the show’s history. But what will happen to shatter Morse and Thursday’s relationship in the process? I don’t know, and I’m prepared to be blown away.

Comments (2)

  • I’m stunned that no one on this side of the Atlantic, as far as I know, has noted the fact that Andrew Lewis — the first murder victim in last week’s episode — and his mother Brenda, who was one of the bodies found at Blenheim Vale this week, are from Newcastle. Who wants to bet that Andrew had a young son named Robbie??

  • A homage to A Clockwork Orange right at the start of the episode from the music to the white suits and homeless.

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