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This is another PE proposal about a criminal trio in Endeavour... like Blenheim Vale all over again. It's my third proposal about villains from the entire Inspector Morse franchise, and it's also my third joint proposal overall.
Truth to be told, I attempted to do proposals about Cromwell Ames and Lester Sheridan who appeared before these guys. However, I need to rewatch Series 5 all over again to finish the pages about Ames and Eddie Nero. As the result, I decide to release the villains from Series 6 finale much earlier (since this proposal is much easier to write for me), with Sheridan as the next, before moving on to the two proposals about the Series 7's Big Bad Ensemble.
WARNING: Spoilers from the Series 5 finale, especially what became of DC George Fancy in that episode.
- 1 What is the Work?
- 2 Who are the Culprits?
- 3 Fruedian Excuse/Mitigating Factor
- 4 Heinous Standards
- 5 Verdict
What is the Work?
The Series 6 of Endeavour is set in 1969, one year after the tragic death of DC George Fancy, who tried to stop a mass shootout between the criminal gangs of Eddie Nero and Cromwell Ames, which also killed both of the crime lords in process. Overall, like the second half of Series 5 before it, Series 6 is much darker and grimmer than Series 3 to 4, which are much lighter in the series.
In this story, the Cowley boys were at their lowest, with Morse being disilluioned by Fancy's death and Joan Thursday's rejection towards him. With the corrupt Alan Jago and Ronnie Box taking over the newly formed Thames Valley Police Department, Bright was sent to traffic division, and Thursday had to cooporate with Box to improve the chasm between him and his wife, Win.
Meanwhile, the region was still full of incidence caused by drug abuse. Above all, Strange was still determined to find whoever killed George Fancy, and tried to persuade Morse to rejoin the party.
The story of "Degüello", the Series 6 finale of Endeavour, was directed by Shaun Evans himself, who portrayed Morse in this prequel. The episodewas focusing on two major events; the death of librarian Osbert Page, and the collapse of the Crammer House, a set of apartments that was built under the order of Councillor Clive Burkitt. In addition to that, Morse was already informed by Bright and DeBryn in the previous case, that the murderer of George Fancy was still at large and causing drug abuse across Thames Valley. His investigation in the Crammer House as well as Strange's discovery had brought everything together.
Eventually, the last chance had come for Morse and his friends, the Cowley boys, to twist the table once and for all.
Who are the Culprits?
First things first, I'll intrdouce about the culprits responsible for the Cranmer House collapse first, before digging into the person that killed George Fancy, who was also the mastermind of nearly everything in Series 5 & 6. Other subplots of this episode, including the past of a professor who served as a potential witness, will be ignored since it didn't have an impact.
The Culprits of Cranmer House
|“||There was concrete in the sinuses, mouth, throat,oesophagus and even into the upper reaches of the lungs. He was buried alive - smothered, drowned, in liquid concrete which then set.||„|
|~ Dr. Max DeBryn revealing the brutality behind Hollis Binks' murder.|
Councillor Clive Burkitt was an Oxford city councillor and the man who oversaw the building of Cranmer House, a new apartment in the Martyrs' Field. He once made promises to the citizens during his election that he would provide a new and safe house for them, and had placed Mrs. Oliver Reynolds and her daughter Sandra into the house as its first residents.
Nevertheless, a year after the Cranmer House was opened, something horrible began to happen. Turned out, the Cranmer House was actually built poorly and had severe construction problems in its materials, causing it to decay. The construction of Cranmer House was started by George McGryffin, a construct magnate who worked with Burkitt to graft money from the expenses of building the Cranmer House.
According to the research of Dr. DeBryn, as well as the later discovery of Morse, the Cranmer House was built with concreat that contained unwashed sea sands within it. The sodium within the sand had been corroading the structure itself, causing the wall to crack before it finally gave away a year after its construction was completed. It was revealed that McGryffin used cheaper and less firm materials to build the construction, so that he and Burkitt could graft money from the profits.
During the construction of Cranmer House, the local borough surveyor Hollis Binks discovered this scam and attempted to expose McGryffin and Burkitt. However, McGryffin sent his minions and buried Binks alive in the foundation with cement, so that there would be no one would expose their secret.
A year later, as the controversy of Cranmer House arised, Burkitt only tried to keep his good name and disregarded the early alarming informed by Mrs. Reynolds. Meanwhile, Osbert Page, a chief librarian who was a close friend to Binks, began to investigate Binks' disappearance, but he was stabbed to death by McGryffin's henchman.
Eventually, the House Cranmer gave away and partially collapsed, killing 16 men, women and children, and injuring many others including Mrs. Reynolds and her daughter. Soon, all kinds of media and press, including Dorothea Frazil from the Oxford Mail, immediately gathered around Burkitt. When Frazil questioned about the Cranmer House's potential danger prior to its collapse, Burkitt was evasive towards it and made flimsy explanation that it was caused by gas explosion.
Later, the corpse of Hollis Binks was discovered from the demolished building's foundation, still in perfect condition. Morse went to ask Burkitt about who Binks was, but again, Burkitt was evasive to such question and claimed that Binks resigned from his post. Burkitt merely gave Morse a false promise that he would check about Binks' identity. Afterwards, Morse went to McGryffin, who was far less "aminable" than Burkitt. He directly quarreled with Morse and threatened him to stay away from it.
Seeing Morse as an obstacle, Burkitt and McGryffin did everything to stop him. First, McGryffin tried to persudae Strange to turn on Morse in exchange of Strange being promoted to an inspector. Later, they tried to used their own connection in the city police, the seemly righteous ACC Bottoms, to persuade Bright into joining their business in exchange of leaving the traffic division. When Bright rejected, McGryffin sent his henchmen in an attempt to kill Bright in the street. Fortunately, this was foiled when a flock of children gather around Bright, all being fans of him thanks to his "Pelican Man" persona in traffic ads, and asked for his autograph.
After that, Burkitt and McGryffin discovered from Ronnie Box, who was secretly working for them to share their profits, that Thursday quitted their business. Burkitt and McGryffin made Box to take Thursday to him. They informed that they already knew that Thursday's unscrupulous brother Charlie was in debt, and Thursday was forced to pay a cheque and paid the debt for him. They blackmailed Thursday that they would cease such record for him if he could stop Morse from digging further into the investigation.
Thursday was forced to comply, although he warned the duo that Morse wasn't so easy to give up. Much later, Thursday tried to persuade Morse to give up in order to prevent any repeat on what happened to him in the Blenheim Vale, but Morse insisted on the investigation and called out Thursday for protecting Box, making Thursday making up his mind and reconciling with his wife eventually.
However, Burkit and McGryffin later sent their minions to beat up Dr. DeBryn and had him kidnapped, not long after he had discovered the possible identity of Page's killer, who was revealed to be McGryffin's henchman. To save DeBryn, Morse had gathered the rest of the Cranmer boys - Thursday, Bright and Strange - all the way to an abandoned quarry to rescue DeBryn. There, they not only faced McGryffin and his henchmen, but also the real mastermind behind everything.
The murderer of George Fancy.
The Murderer of George Fancy
The killer of George Fancy was revealed to be Detective Sargeant Alan Jago, who was originally presented as DCI Ronnie Box's minion after he took over the city police. At first, he was presented as just a corrupt and smug police officer who assisted Morse at times, but more often served as a troublemaker just like Box and looked down on Morse and Strange.
However, Jago is actually much more malicious and is not just the true mastermind behind Burkitt and McGryffin's actions as their crime partner. He is revealed to be the unseen overarching antagonist of Series 5 and the main antagonist of Series 6, being responsible for not only the tragic death of DC George Fancy, but also responsible for the series of drug abuse and drug war across Oxford, and even the corruption within whole Thames Valley.
It was revealed that, during the mass shootout between the gangs of Eddie Nero and Cromwell Ames, Jago was amongst the police beside Fancy. Seizing the debarcle as his chance, Jago shot Fancy dead with Box's gun and stole the heroin supply of Nero, before taking over Nero's remnants as well as his drug dealing business. Later, Jago replaced heroin with quinine that is much more lethal. His main motives is that he could exploit the city's drug crisis and gang war for his own profits.
Throughout the entire Series 6, besides the murders that Morse investigated, there were also several incidences of death that were caused by drug abuse. There were at least fourteen casualities who died of drug overdose, with Jago behind all of them. In the third episode of Series 6, there was a seemly traffic accident that led Bright to discover it was a car to transfer drugs, and the car was hijacked by the drug dealer, with the original driver being killed.
Above all, DeBryn discovered that the bullet that killed the original driver was the same type which killed George Fancy, a result that made Morse realized that the murderer of Fancy was still at large and finally decided to join Strange's cause to find the killer. It was revealed that Jago had killed the original driver and allow his minion to take the car for carrying drug supplies.
After he finally revealed his true nature in front of the Cowley boys, DS Jago took Dr. DeBryn hostage and admitted that it was him who killed George Fancy, not Box. He also tried to murder all five of them and framed them for corruption, but Bright managed to gather police force from the traffic division, to which Jago himself cannot reach. Jago immediately retreated into the factory alongside his minions.
Later, Jago confronted Thursday in the factory and was ready to kill him, before he was confronted by Morse. Jago mocked Morse for trying to shoot someone from behind, but Morse replied that was exactly how Jago killed Fancy. Before Jago had a chance to finish Thursday and Morse, Box (who had a change of heart) arrived and shot Jago dead, but was also shot by Jago in the process. Eventually, the deaths of Fancy and many others were avenged.
After the entire events was over, Box was sent to hospital and his fate remained uncertain. McGryffin and Burkitt were arrested, but Burkitt had betrayed all of his partners and gave them in so that he could earn a lighter sentence. ACC Bottoms was forced to retire, too. Unlike the Series 2 finale, the Series 6 finale did have a happy ending, with Bright became the leader of the city police once more and placed Thursday, Morse and Strange back in charge, and the injured residence of Cranmer House were cured.
Well, it's sad that Trewlove already left Oxford and cannot share such victory with her friends. Besides, Joan Thursday still remained estranged from her parents, although that didn't matter for now (considering Joan may probably return in Series 8 after her absence in Series 7, since her actress was due for childbirth at the time).
By the end of the episode, Morse also got his new residence after moving into Nero's property, a new home where he would live through the rest of his days.
Fruedian Excuse/Mitigating Factor
Burkitt has no FE. He was a thorough fraud who had been using lies about a new and safe apartment to win support from those who voted for him. He also showed apathy towards the early sign of Cranmer House's decadance and merely used flimsy excuses to conceal away his own grafting. He had no Fruedian Excuse in committing grafting and only cared about his own profits and position, instead of genuiue concern over general public.
McGriffin was a more complictaed case, as he seemed to be caring towards Jim Strange and called him brother, but only because Strange had connections to the Freemasons and McGriffin was only caring about how to make his own crimes being secret. In fact, several members of Freemasons, at least in this franchise, were portrayed as thoroughly corrupt and power hungry people, seeing Morse as their threat ever since he arrested one of their member as Series 1.
The Freemasons in Oxford are Endeavour's arguable main antagonists. Being one of them, McGriffin only saw Strange as a person connected to his own good, even if he would promote Strange into an inspector if he stop Morse. Once Strange decided to side with Morse, however, McGriffin showed his true colors and allowed Jago's murder attempt against Strange (among others) as well.
Still, even amongst the power players in Oxford, McGriffin's crimes are thoroughly brutal and cruel. He mentioned seeing his henchman fighting like watching a game and relished one of his men disembowled the others, and he had no hesitation to send his minions to blackmail, extort and even murder whoever that was on his way, even including Dr. DeBryn, whom he beated up and made into a hostage.
Lke Box, Jago helped Morse in the case very reluctlantly, only to use him as a pawn and always repressed him and Strange, as well as bribing Thursday for joining their cause. Once he showed his true color, after Thursday and Morse refused to yield, Jago only showed himself as a ruthless and heartless psychopath who would kill and incriminate others to gain more profits. He seemed to show disgust over Dr. Sheridan's pedophilia, but it never really mitigating Jago himself from manipulating the regions' drug crisis and repressing other police officers, which caused deaths and misery. His crime was no better than Sheridan's crimes.
Unlike Box, in addition, Jago was relentless about his actions and showed no loyalty towards Box, since Box already became a pawn to Burkitt and McGriffin, who answered directly to Jago. He also showed no remorse in killing Fancy, stating it was only because Fancy was in the wrong place, which revealed he was dealing with Nero for drug money.
Well, we have another criminal trio here like the Blenheim Vale trio I proposed before, and it is ALSO composed by a corrupt cop, a cruel construction worker and a greedy politician. Both of the trios would commit murder in order to hide their horrible crimes, with their final plans being incrinmination against Morse and his friends. Nevertheless, the Thames Valley trio are argubly as bad as (if not even worse than) the Blenheim Vale trio, because they all have committed unforgivable crimes that caused deaths amongst the general public, making their crimes being even more impactful and wide-opened than the BV trio.
Comparing to the BV trio, the Thames Valley trio had a much larger number of victims. Deare, Landsman and Wintergreen had at least 9 known victims (including Tommy Cork who was successfully saved before they could do any harm) in total. However, the respective and colluding actions of Jago, McGriffin and Burkitt had at least 33 victims (including George Fancy, and the kidnapped but survived Dr. DeBryn) in total, making the Series 6 having one of the largest body counts in the franchise ever.
Now, let's split these three and talked about their actions one by one.
Burkitt & McGryffin
Whilst Landsman and Wintergreen were leaders of a group of horrible child rapists, their actions (whilst vile and horirble) remained hidden away from the public for ten years and only caused impact to their direct victims. In comparations, the actions of Burkitt and McGryffin caused much greater harm towards the general public just one year after the Cranmer House was completed.
Corrupt officials are common in Inspector Morse franchise, but what Burkitt and McGryffin had done was way beyond standard corrupt officials in the entire franchise. They had been grafting from the expense that was used to build a freaking apartment for ordinary people by using poor materials, and Burkitt opened such a shoddy apartment for the public to live only to win support to become one with the city council.
They showed no concern over public safety and even killing a man who wanted to expose him. The murder of Hollis Binks was even more brutal than the murder of Eric Patterson, considering Burkitt and McGryffin smothered Binks alive in liquid concreat and buried him under the foundation of Cranmer House. It showed that the duo had full knowledge that the whole structure would collpase only in a matter of time. McGryffin would also send his man to kill Osbert Page violently in the library, too, when he discovered Page was investigating about Binks' disappearance.
The Cranmer House's collapse, because of structural failure, had caused the deaths of sixteen people, including children. However, neither of the duo would ever take responsibility for it. Burkitt not only evaded Frazil's question and Morse's investigation, but also cospired with McGryffin to threat Morse and blackmail Thursday (considering Wintergreen just verbally threatened Thursday but was killed before he could carry out further actions).
Besides, McGryffin attempted to persuade Strange to stop Morse for him, almost murdered Bright on the street, and eventually he kidnapped Dr. DeBryn and took him as a hostage. As for Burkitt, even after Jago's downfall, he betrayed his own partners and confessed about their participance only to earn a reduced sentence in prison, making him one of the biggest coward in the whole franchise.
Comparing to Deare, who was already heartless, Jago did even worse. Jago committed more crimes than Deare that are much more destructive, with even greater impact in the matter of just one year and killed at least 16 people in total, including two direct murder and at least fourteen incidents of drug overdose, murder, incrimination, drug wars and even traffic "accidents" that was associated with his drug business. As a result, Jago did thing even worse than Deare, not to mention Jago has much more screentime, and a large portion of Series 6 had been around drug overdose all over the city.
In addition, Jago also had an impact on Series 5 where he was not even yet to show himself up. He was already been involved with Eddie Nero's drug business, and had killed Fancy when he tried to arrest Cromwell Ames and Nero before the conflict took place. After that, he took this opportunity and seized Nero's criminal business to gain profits from drug business, not caring about any consequence his actions brought.
Besides, about the incrimination, Deare only tried to eliminate and frame both Morse and Thursday, but Jago planned to pin everything on Morse, Thursday, Bright, Strange and DeBryn all together (that's four police officers and one Home Office pathologist), beofre attempting to kill all five of them. In addition, He nearly framed Box for killing Fancy by stealing his gun. As a result, Deare had no loyalty towards Box either, and even allowed his partners to subvert Box from a DCI into a mere figurehead for the Masons, despite Box being at least nice to him.
Just like Deare, Jago is amongst the worst personifications of the Oxford's city police corruption. However, despite his heinousness, Deare only had the Blenheim Vale crimes hidden in the dark (to secure his and his partners' publicity), whilst mostlt killing those who was merely on his way (except Rupert Standish who became his own plot device to frame Morse).
On the other hand, whilst his murders and drug business were in the dark, Jago had absolutely no conern or empathy that committing such crimes would impact the general public (again) with even larger scale of impact than Deare's actions, and Jago being a recurring character instead of a one-shot villain like Deare isn't helping either.
Therefore, what can we say?
P.S. I once thought it would be better to make Jago an independent proposal at first, but I guess putting him with his two partners will be more convenient and avoid more troubles. Actually, without Jago, the joint proposal for Burkitt and McGryffin would have nothing to begin with.
All three of them counts.