Based on average crime novels by Colin Dexter, this is truly one of the times that the television version actually surpasses the novels in quality and makes the stories come alive and touch the heart and the mind. What makes this series so compelling, like the Duchess of Duke Street, Rumpole and Foyle's War, is the main character and the actor who created this marvelous,complex and compelling character. John Thaw and the producers/writers who worked with him made this a timeless series in the only way possible: make the lead character charismatic and intriguing (and extraordinarily well acted). It is virtually impossible for a series to last beyond several episodes based only on plots (I know, many will argue with this, but I stand my ground). The series has to be character driven to maintain its brilliance, episode after episode--in this case 33 episodes. That is not to say that the plots are unimportant, but only that they are clearly secondary to Morse and his relationships with those around him--especially his sergeant and his superior. But most important are his relationship with life and his values and the way he chooses to live his life; these are especially enthralling for a t.v. series (or movie or play or novel for that matter). I highly recommend this show--even for those not normally inclined to watch mysteries. This transcends the genre spectacularly. By the way, I greatly enjoy the Midsomer Murder series, but they are merely entertaining. The Morse episodes not only entertain, but can considered to be art.