The television series was adapted by Carlton TV from the
original 13 novels written by Colin Dexter.
The series was screened in the UK between 1987 and 2000;
with the final episode The Remorseful Day recording the emotional
scene of the death of Morse.
Morse, the character, became synonymous with John Thaw the
actor who played the role throughout the 13 years. The irascible,
beer drinking, Chief Inspector enjoyed the finer things in
life including opera, art and literature. John Thaw sadly
passed away in February 2002.
Sergeant Lewis, played by Kevin Whately, was the ever loyal
sidekick and a perfect foil to Morse's idiosyncrasies. Morse's
final words "thank Lewis for me" reference the importance
he placed in his colleague.
The series was filmed in and around Oxford heightening the
air of quintessentially British-ness about the character
and the series. The City of Dreaming Spires is famous for
its University and is steeped in history.
The final episode, on Wednesday 15th November 2000, was
watched by more than 12 million in the UK. At its peak it
drew up to 18 million viewers. ITV indicated that an estimated
1,000,000,000 (one billion) people across 200 Countries have
seen the detective at work.