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CBC creating a Canadian Inspector Morse?
The Loop
Greg David
13 September 2013

For 33 episodes, the late John Thaw portrayed Chief Inspector Morse on the ITV cop drama Inspector Morse. The languid series didn’t rush around, grabbing perps and engaging in car chases. It explored its lead characters.

Nathaniel Parker hopes for the same long-running result in his latest project, CBC’s Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery.

“This is a different gig, and this could be Canada’s Morse. I hope,” Parker tells TV Guide Canada. “You have a chance to get into some real depth over the course of a two-hour movie.”

Like Inspector Morse — which was based on Colin Dexter’s novels — Parker’s lead character, Detective Inspector Armand Gamache, is rooted in literary fiction. He’s the product of Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny, and has headlined 10 novels revolving around murders committed in the small Quebec town of Three Pines.

Her first tome, Still Life, is immortalized by the CBC this Sunday when Parker’s Gamache and his deputy, Jean-Guy Beauvoir (Anthony Lemke, Queen of Swords), arrive at Three Pines after a beloved school teacher is found dead in the surrounding forest. Shot in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, the project draws back the curtain on an idyllic small town jam-packed with dark secrets. Kate Hewlett (Flashpoint) and Gabriel Hogan (Heartland) are among the townsfolk who come under suspicion.

Parker admits to having some reservations with regard to breathing life to a beloved book character, but he’s a veteran at it; Parker played the role of Elizabeth George’s Oxford-educated Inspector Lynley for six seasons on BBC.

“I know it’s going to be different for some members of the audience who are Louise Penny fans initially, just as it was when I took on Lynley,” he says, though it was even harder for Penny, who created the character. But the author, who served as a consultant on Still Life, gave the London actor a thumbs-up. “When she first met me she told me that I have his essence.”

The actor loved filming in Canada during autumn, and hopes more mysteries are in his future. The next book in the series, A Fatal Grace, takes place in the depths of a Canadian winter, something Parker is hankering for.

“I think they’re hoping to do one on an ice lake north of Quebec City,” he enthuses. “I would love that.

Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery airs Sunday, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m. ET on CBC.

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