Endeavor Spoilers for the series finale follow.
Eleven years and 35 episodes since premiere, Endeavor finally came to a full-length finale (series nine, episode three) that not only brings the long-running mystery show to a satisfying conclusion, but also features a tearful nod to the original Inspector Morse the prequel series.
If you’ve already watched the last episode, called “Exeunt” (a stage direction that has several actors leave the stage in case you’re not already sobbing), put the crossword aside, grab a whiskey and read on as Digital spy he only talks to Shaun Evans and Roger Allam about his final goodbyes to Endeavor Morse and Fred Thursday.
And if you haven’t seen “Exeunt” yet, don’t say we didn’t warn you: there are some major, significant, and even huge Endeavor final spoilers ahead…
You’ve known how for a long time Endeavor Will end?
ROGER: There’s been a lot of talk about how it’s going to end. How can you explain that Endeavor – well, John Thaw’s Inspector Morse – never mentioned a man named Fred Thursday? Various ideas came up. I think it was a few years ago when Russ [series writer Russell Lewis] invented the one we have now. The end point, the very end.
SHAUN: We’ve been talking for years. We all put in our two cents. Right, you know – we all invested in these characters and these stories, I think it was important for all of us.
We know that Endeavor becomes John Thaw’s Inspector Morse, but since Thursday is never mentioned in this series, anything could have happened to him. Did you want him to die tragically at the end?
ROGER: At one point I wanted to die in a blaze of glory fighting all the bad guys! But I knew it wasn’t going to work – because then why didn’t Morse ever mention Fred Czwartek? I also see how it can balance the story because a lot of the stories of regular characters have to be addressed. I think I really like it [the ending Thursday gets]. I think it’s very good.
Were you sad during filming knowing it was the last series?
SHAUN: I can’t speak for everyone else, but there was a feeling on set that it was the right time to end the day, you know?
Of course, you often feel nostalgic knowing that this is the last time we do something, but everything is coming to its natural end. You must respect that. I felt different, but also a little richer because of it. Because you know we won’t do it again. We won’t have any more scenes like this together.
For example, with Endeavor and Joan, that’s what we were aiming for. For me and Thursday, that’s what it was all about – to celebrate this moment and its passing. And that’s great for an actor that you’re aiming for something. It felt different – but different in a good way.
ROGER: It did [sad] when you got to the last scene in a certain set, like the last scene in my house, which I have to say, I wasn’t sorry to leave. It was just a terrible set – really hard to film and very small for the crew and the camera. And it got really, really hot.
But shooting the last scene with Caroline was terribly emotional [O’Neill] in this set or with Anton [Lesser] in his office, you know. preceding Endeavor I was very suspicious about being trapped in a long-running show, but what’s wonderful about it is a bunch of people growing up and becoming a company of actors. I miss this group of people the most.
How did you feel as the end approached?
SHAUN: The last few scenes felt like a celebration. You know, you can’t keep doing the same things and having the same conversations. What was especially beautiful and touching about filming this whole season was: wow, we had the opportunity to do it so many times, look into each other’s eyes, say our lines and do our work together. And wasn’t that a privilege?
But you know, a lot of character arcs come close to a conclusion, so you realize that’s where you’re headed. And what a blessing it was.
ROGER: We were invited to the last day of recording music at a studio in Hampstead, and I’ve never done that before. I went and it was amazing. I mean, they had something like a 50-piece orchestra, a full orchestra, and to listen to Barrington [composer Barrington Pheloung] the music done for the credits, one last time, live in a room with that big orchestra was just fantastic.
The scene at the end will make fans cry – at Joan Endeavor’s wedding, he finally tells her how he feels, only to find out he imagined it and didn’t say it out loud. Can you talk about it?
SHAUN: I felt it was really important. It’s quite remarkable that we broke the language of the story by looking into someone’s mind. It was important to get the words out, and for those men – stratospheric generalization here – who don’t say what they’re feeling at any given moment, it’s important and important to the audience, but also to him at that moment, it’s dawning: “No fuck this I just want to, if only I could say it.”
I think that moment and not being able to say it will haunt him for the rest of his days.
There was so much talk about that scene, and then in the final edits, it was, then it was, and it was, and it was, and I just felt very strongly that it would have been less if the scene hadn’t been left out.
In the final scene, Endeavor drives away from Blenheim Palace in his black Jaguar – he passes a red Jag going the other way, and we see the eyes of an elderly Morse (John Thaw) in the rearview mirror. Was that the last scene you recorded?
SHAUN: Yeah – it actually worked out perfectly because the last day I was alone. We had a slightly reduced crew and there were a lot of driving scenes with me in the Jag, I was the only actor that day.
We drove to Blenheim Palace and went down trying to get a specific shot with this drone. So it was a lot up and down the same road as the sun disappeared behind the Blenheim hills. I was in the car and I thought, “Yeah, I think I’m done with that.”
It was an amazing moment to slowly say goodbye.
Endeavor series 1-9 i Inspector Morse series 1-8 are available to stream on ITVX.