About a third of the way through the "Masterpiece Mystery!" presentation of "Endeavour," the title character Constable Endeavour Morse asks a local newspaper editor a few questions while investigating a murder.
After Dorothea Frazil (Abigail Thaw) answers, she asks, "What did you say your name was?"
"Morse. Why?" replies the young constable (Shaun Evans).
"Have we met?" Dorothea asks.
"I don't think so," says Morse.
"Another life then," Dorothea concludes.
The exchange plays no part in solving the crime or in character development.
It's a perfectly charming gift to fans of the long-running "Inspector Morse" mysteries.
Evans plays a younger version of Morse in this prequel; Thaw is the daughter of the late John Thaw, who played the inspector in 33 mysteries from 1987-2000.
"I think that there was obviously something interesting and dynamic about the character of Morse, played by Abby's dad, that really struck a chord," Evans said. "I think it's something to do with the character in the books and then later on in the films."
The television character was based on mystery writer Colin Dexter's character, featured in 13 novels and a series of short stories. Dexter himself wrote a short story about Morse as a young man, which inspired the "Endeavour" prequel.
This isn't the curmudgeonly Inspector Morse whom a legion of fans grew to love, but he's on his way. In "Endeavour," we see a young man who loves opera and crosswords, has a keen mind and we see what may have made him the irascible middle-aged man of later stories.
"This is his own baby," Abigail Thaw said of Evans' performance. "He is playing [Morse] as a younger man, but it's a very much younger man. So there are little things, little twinkles, little nuances, yeah, that I see on screen."
Evans said that when he got the part, he hadn't seen any of the "Inspector Morse" television films. He read the books first, then looked at some of the shows but he wasn't looking to merely mimic John Thaw's performance.
"I was very clear about that at the beginning as well with the executive producers and the writers, to say, 'Look, if that's what you want, then you'll get someone better than me to do it,' " Evans said. "I also think that enough time has elapsed in order for us to do something fresh, whilst you also have to give a nod to what's gone before and please those audience members."
"Endeavour" isn't simply for the "Inspector Morse" fans out there. Even if you've never seen a single one of the Morse mysteries, "Endeavour" will still play as an engaging, entertaining mystery that's fun in an Agatha Christie kind of way.
It's set in 1965, but "Endeavour" feels fresh and familiar all at the same time.
"You bring other people in because it's known and it's loved and there's more to fathom," Abigail Thaw said. "This is a very loved product. We can do this newer, fresher and still have something that was obviously very much loved."
The Inspector Morse prequel premieres Sunday, July 1, at 8 p.m. on KUED-Channel 7.