Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
6 user 2 critic

Ghost in the Machine 

A vanished baronet and the theft of some of his collection of erotic art is investigated by Morse and Lewis.


Herbert Wise


Colin Dexter (idea), Julian Mitchell (screenplay)

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately ... Detective Sergeant Lewis
Amanda Hillwood Amanda Hillwood ... Dr. Grayling Russell
Patricia Hodge ... Lady Hanbury
Clifford Rose ... Dr. Charles Hudson
Bernard Lloyd ... Professor Edward Ullman
Michael Godley Michael Godley ... Sir Julius Hanbury
Michael Thomas Michael Thomas ... John McKendrick
Patsy Byrne Patsy Byrne ... Mrs. Maltby
Irina Brook ... Michelle Réage
Lill Roughley Lill Roughley ... Betty Parker
Robert Oates Robert Oates ... Ted Parker
John Elmes John Elmes ... Roger Meadows
John Cater ... The Dean
Rainbow Dench Rainbow Dench ... Georgina Hanbury


The disappearance of Sir Julius Hanbury - and the theft of several of his erotic paintings - provide a new puzzle for Morse to solve. Assisted by DS Lewis, Morse interviews everyone at Hanbury House and it is in the course of searching the grounds that he finds Sir Julius' body, appropriately enough, in the family mausoleum. The pathologist notes that he was the victim of a frenzied attack but the lack of blood at scene leaves the police to conclude that he murdered elsewhere. Sir Julius was a candidate to become the Master of an Oxford college and was known to have a have had a bitter rivalry with another candidate for the position. When Roger Meadows, a friend of the Hanbury's au pair, is killed in a car accident, Morse concludes that that he too was murdered. Jealousy, revenge and greed all play part in the deaths. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

4 January 1989 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Morse says "Ego in Arcadia vixi" at the end, then loosely translates it to mean that even the Garden of Eden had its serpent. Literally, the phrase means 'I lived in Arcadia', where the 'I' (Ego) is interpreted to be the devil or some personification of evil. Arcadia is interpreted to refer to an idyllic setting in Greek and Roman mythology inhabited by mirthful, carefree gods and spirits, and often compared to a Garden of Eden, hence Morse's translation of the phrase. See more »


When Morse buys his second pint he receives a full glass. When the camera returns to Morse as he picks the glass up the level of beer has dropped an inch See more »


Chief Inspector Morse: You see, Sir Julius wasn't murdered. He fell from a great height, physically and morally. He committed suicide. We've been led up the garden path here, Lewis. A very pretty garden and a highly picturesque path.
See more »

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User Reviews

Solid Story
28 April 2015 | by goldberry-90-44341See all my reviews

The mystery itself is unmemorable, but that's okay. Instead, we get more of a focus on the characters. This episode pares it down to the basics - lots of Morse and Lewis banter, a reasonably-paced investigation, not too many suspects, a crazy-complex solution (but, for once, fairly comprehensible.) Max has made his exit, and Morse's first multiple-episode love interest has appeared in the person of Dr. Russell. She is a sort of Laura Hobson prototype, but doesn't get too much time here, since this is really a buddy- cop episode.

Lewis, usually Morse's long-suffering dogsbody, manages to not only get in quite a few zingers at his grumpy boss, but essentially solve the case. He refuses to let favoritism (towards, say, beautiful rich women) cloud his vision. Thaw and Whately are at their best here, having by now established a solid rapport. Also very good is the chilly lady of the manor.

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