Endeavour Season 9: Shaun Evans Promises Melancholy, Sad Yet Satisfying Ending

The Fred Thursday mystery will be solved in Endeavour’s final series, but prepare for an emotional ride.

Endeavour cast
Photo: ITV

The end is nigh. Filming on Endeavour’s final season wrapped in August 2022, meaning the last three episodes of the beloved Inspector Morse prequel are currently being readied and will likely air on ITV in the UK in early 2023, with the PBS Masterpiece US air date to follow.

While working on the final season, actor-director Shaun Evans spared some time to answer fan questions about his work on the crime drama, his character, Morse’s troubled romantic life, and of course, what’s promised in the final instalments. Over 500 viewer questions were submitted to PBS Masterpiece, whittled down to just eight. Evans’ thoughtful answers are available to read in full here.

Among queries on Endeavour and Joan Thursday’s doomed attraction, the character’s transition from bright young pup to misanthropic inspector, and what he’d say to Morse if he met him at a party (“Hey dude, don’t be on your own, come and have a drink!”), Evans was quizzed about something fans have been pondering since the 2012 pilot: Morse’s inevitable rupture with mentor and father figure Fred Thursday.

Does Evans feel as distraught as fans do at the prospect of Fred Thursday’s imminent departure from Endeavour’s life (Roger Allam’s character being a prequel invention with no counterpart in the Inspector Morse books or the TV drama). His first response? Not distress but delight. He loves that fans have come to care so much about the characters and the imminent breakdown of their relationship. “I’m thrilled that people care enough to comment—I find that very, very satisfying, I’m so happy about that.”

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“I’m delighted, first and foremost, that it does sadden people, that they feel so engaged that they would emotionally feel an attachment, both to Endeavour wanting to get with Joan, and also then the fissure between the relationship with him and Thursday.”

But in terms of when we began this story, and always knowing that it would come to an end, it has to come to an end in a way that is deeply satisfying, I think. And I don’t think it would be satisfying if he were to get the girl, or to have a great relationship which would take the place of his father. I think it’s far more heart-breaking, and therefore, more memorable, if it ends in a melancholy, sad way.”

Evans continued, “We know because of the unique prequel nature of this story, that neither Joan nor Thursday is ever mentioned in either the books or the series with John Thaw. So it’s our duty to make a decision about why that is, and what they do in our particular stories that ensures that they’re never mentioned again later on. And I feel like we’ve satisfied that.”

What could Fred and Joan do to ensure they’re never mentioned again? Die tragically, is an option that some fans don’t even want to consider. Actor Roger Allam has gone on record to request “a spectacular death” for his character, so that’s certainly a possibility. That scenario might at least leave Fred a hero in Morse’s mind. Another option is that Fred could commit, be framed, or shoulder the blame for a crime that gets him banged up for life? The saddest option could well be Fred and/or Joan betraying Morse so painfully that he has to shut them out forever. Season nine will tell.

It’s sad in one regard, Evans concludes, but he feels satisfied that his job is done. A sad, melancholy ending for Endeavour is “far more truthful,” he says. “It’s more truthful for there to be highs and lows within people’s relationships, and for him to not remain going on parallel lines together. It’s far better for them to be coming in and out of each other’s lives.”

We’ll bring you much more on Endeavour‘s final season when it arrives.

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All eight series of Endeavour are available to stream on PBS Masterpiece in the US, and on Britbox in the UK.