As Endeavour entered its ninth and final season, and old ‘friend’ resurfaced by the name of Blenheim Vale, the old unsolved case surrounding the residential home for wayward boys that closed in 1955. The events around Blenheim Vale were first featured in Endeavour S2, Ep 4, “Neverland”.
In Neverland, first broadcast in Summer 2014 on PBS, the Blenheim Vale property is being proposed by developer Joe Landesman and his powerful crony Alderman Gerald Wintergreen as the site of the new police headquarters. When Morse and Thursday investigate the murder of an escaped prisoner who’d been found beaten and drowned, their investigation unveils horrific sexual and physical abuse of the children then in residence by the very people—now pillars of Oxford society—charged with their protection.
As the case unspools and the tension heightens, at a critical moment, Morse learns that DS Peter Jakes is Little Pete, a survivor of abuse at Blenheim Vale.
Morse eventually learns that it was ACC Clive Deare and his lackey DI Chard who had suppressed the investigation into the events at Blenheim Vale back in the day. Deare was part of the cover up and conspiracy, and knowing he’s in danger of exposure, he tries to have Chard shoot Morse.
Morse escapes and hightails it to the Blenheim Vale, where Deare has lured Thursday into a trap. Deare appears, shoots Thursday, then reveals that he has set Morse up to take the fall, not just for shooting Thursday but for strangling Chief Constable Standish.
Before Deare is able to kill Endeavour and frame him for the killings, Angela Fairchild, daughter of the school’s doctor and herself a childhood victim of the abuse, steps out of the shadows and shoots Deare before turning the gun on herself.
The episode ends with Morse behind bars and Thursday fighting for his life.
Fast forward almost a decade to the final series of Endeavour and, clearly, Thursday survived his injuries, Morse was exonerated, and the shooting of Thursday was attributed to a “mental breakdown suffered by ACC Clive Deare.” Yes, the case was sealed, Wintergreen and Deare were dead, but Landesman was never caught, you see.
In “Prelude”, a corpse with a connection to Landesman Construction is found, Bright reveals that no one had seen Joe Landesman for six years, with Thursday adding, “The one that got away. There’s talk from Interpol he’d went abroad. Spain. Portugal. The company had property there. Holiday hotels, I think.”
The remains of “Big Pete,” or Peter Williams, have never been found, but he’s presumed to be buried somewhere at Blenheim Vale.
With that, I will leave you to tomorrow night’s final episode of Endeavour on Masterpiece. “Exeunt” begins at 9pET/8pCT on PBS. After 7 series/33 episodes of Inspector Morse, 9 series/33 episodes of Lewis and 9 series/36 episodes of Endeavour, it all comes to an end Sunday evening.