In early 2012, Patrick Malahide appeared as Sir Richard Lovell in the Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour. Lovell is a slimy politician who attends illicit sex parties, conjuring up shades of the Profumo Affair.
This was not Malahide’s first appearance in a Morse related vehicle. He appeared in the episode Driven to Distraction. In Morse, he played Jeremy Boynton, a slimy, nasty piece of work. Curiously, in Morse, he played a car dealer. In Endeavour, it was a used car dealer who was setting up the parties that Lovell and his cronies would attend.
Here is a brief synopsis. Please be aware it contains lots of spoilers. Gallery is below synopsis. Thank you to Ramona Fodchuk for providing the images and the captions.
Set in 1965, we meet a very young DC Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) who has just arrived in Oxford to help in the investigation of Mary Tremlett, a missing fifteen-year-old schoolgirl who is later found dead.
Morse had studied in Oxford University, though he hadn’t completed his degree, so he is not new to the area. He quickly strikes up a rapport with his boss DI Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) who becomes a mentor to the young detective. Morse stands out from the other investigators because he takes the initiative to follow his own leads. This sometimes backfires mightily but ultimately ends up in his finding the killer.
Back to Lovell, he is being tailed by “Dempsey”, a sort of Special Branch type agent who is working at putting an end to the parties. Dempsey rather looks like Harry Palmer if crossed with Clark Kent. Morse and Thursday run into Dempsey at the mansion where the party was held which both Lovell and Mary attended. He assures them that no one at the party hurt Mary and that they need to stay out of his business…or else be faced with breaking the Official Secrets Act.
Later, they learn that a code written on Mary’s hand is actually Lovell’s partial phone number. They pay him a visit. He is smooth, suave and utterly repellant. When told they know about the parties, he blithely says they sound “most unsavory – dear, dear”. The scene is fantastic. Morse takes an instant dislike to him, flaring up at the ‘dear, dear’ comment. Thursday, also disgusted by Lovell, does have more tact and calms Endeavour.
Ultimately, Lovell is shown not to be the killer. But he is a bad guy and needs to pay for his misdeeds. Enter a gun toting Dempsey who forces the Minister to resign from his post and public life. Lovell is having none of that and tries to ring “Harold” (Harold Wilson). Dempsey makes clear his intentions: Either Lovell signs or Dempsey gets blood on his shoes.
ITV (UK) aired Endeavour in January, in June PBS (USA) aired it. Sadly, PBS’s version was cut leaving out ALL of the Dempsey scenes. That was a great shame because those scenes were wonderful. Dempsey was a very intriguing fellow in looks and mannerisms. His agenda added to the mystery. Without him, it appears as though the oleaginous Lovell simply gets away with his villainy facing zero repercussions. Plus, those deleted scenes added to the overall feel of the 1960s and gave the film some extra atmosphere. Thankfully, the proper version is available on DVD via Amazon.