Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
11 user 1 critic

Masonic Mysteries 

Morse finds himself framed for murder by an unknown mastermind and suspended as Lewis is seconded to DCI Bottomley, who is in charge of the case.


Danny Boyle


Colin Dexter (characters), Julian Mitchell




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately ... Detective Sergeant Lewis
Madelaine Newton Madelaine Newton ... Beryl Newsome
Ian McDiarmid ... Hugo De Vries
Celestine Randall ... Sandra Machin
Roland Oliver Roland Oliver ... Conductor
John Arthur ... Hall Porter
James Grout ... Chief Superintendent Strange
Richard Kane Richard Kane ... Chief Inspector Bottomley
Steven Elliot Steven Elliot ... Officious Constable (as Steven Elliott)
Richard Huw Richard Huw ... Detective Constable Dearden
Iain Cuthbertson ... Desmond McNutt
Mark Strong ... PC Mike Butterworth
Diane Fletcher Diane Fletcher ... Marion Brooke
Ken Drury ... Norman


Morse finds himself the subject of a murder investigation when his friend, Beryl Newsome, is murdered at a rehearsal of the Magic Flute and he foolishly touches the murder weapon. Morse is suspended and DCI Bottomley, with DS Lewis assisting him, is put in charge of the case. Morse feels that he was set-up and looks to his past to see who, among the many criminals he arrested, might now be setting about seeking revenge. When someone scratches masonic symbols all over his car and he is reported for erratic driving, Morse wonders if Masons may somehow be involved. When a large number of his personal items are found in Beryl's apartment, Morse is placed under arrest. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

24 January 1990 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs





Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Morse is said to be a customer of the Wessex bank - the same (fictitious) bank featured, as the scene of an audacious robbery, in the "Endeavour" episode "Coda", set over twenty years earlier. See more »


Piers Ibbotson is billed in the credits as "Piers Gidden" (the same surname as the cast member below him). See more »


Chief Inspector Morse: [to Lewis] It's quite interesting beiong the hunted for once instead of the hunter. You should try it. Gives you insight into the criminal mind.
See more »


References The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) See more »


The Magic Flute
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1791)
Sung my choir and heard on several recordings including one conducted by Arturo Toscanini
See more »

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User Reviews

Morse Meets his Moriarty
29 November 2015 | by CoastalCruiserSee all my reviews

It's pointless to write a review for the Inspector Morse series. Any review that, for example, chastises the Masonic Mysteries episode is heavily voted down. Apparently most folks who visit the reviews have already drunk the IM koolaid and don't take kindly to people pointing out the flaws in the episode (for me it was at the end when Lewis hears a gunshot but simply continues knocking on the front door to gain entrance. That's what I call real backup). I have not partaken of the IM Koolaid but I'm running through -and mostly enjoying- the entire series, after first discovering Inspector Lewis last year. Boy oh boy, Lewis sure put the razor in his voice after getting elected Inspector. By the way, parenthetically, is there going to be an Inspector *Hathaway* series? Sure hope so! That character cracks me up.

Anyway, regarding this episode, MM, I loved that they placed great bad guy Ian McDiarmid in the role of the antagonist. When this episode was shot Ian had turned in his two performances in the second and third Star Wars films (chronologically). He of course was buried under so much makeup in the mid-trilogy as to be unrecognizable. But I wonder if he was cast here based upon his SW performance. I'll bet a lot of folks didn't know he was in the first SW installment because even the voice under the made up face was different than here. However, Ian uses the exact same evil voice from MM later on in the third trilogy.

The other thing that struck me was that this episode was it was an analog for Sherlock Holmes' Professor Moriarty. The brilliant detectives each get out-clevered by one who is more brilliant (which always raises the question of whether evil is more powerful than good). So for me MM was quite the MMM as well.

By the way, speaking of evil, and speaking of Star Wars, what does George Lucas have to say about whether evil is more powerful than good?? Hard to say because George's commentary track, laid down for all six films, records him first noting that the dark side is NOT more powerful, but later a subsequent film has him stating it is. Alas, we are left to draw our own conclusions about the power of evil.

Although Morse actually does give us a clue... in this episode he suggests that evil may not even exist, but that evil acts do occur... Somewhat comforting, eh? Cheers

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