In the original Inspector Morse television series (1987-2000) the titular character displayed a thinly veiled disdain for Freemasonry but neither Freemasonry nor individual Freemasons are ever implicated in any crimes. In this episode of the prequel, Endeavor, members of the local masonic lodge are clearly identified as interfering in an investigation to protect several members who murdered one member's illicit lover.
Foreshadowing the story arc's conclusion, a colleague of Morse's, PC Jim Strange, asks him for advice on joining the Freemasons.
Strange: "I've been invited to a meet and greet this evening with a view to being initiated into a certain ancient fraternity. Can't all have your brain, matie. Never will have. Some of us need a leg up."
Morse: "A man can't serve two masters. Sooner or later you will have to choose. Just don't lose your way. It's easily done." [01:01:17]
Morse later discovers that his prime suspect is a member of the local lodge.
"Lodge meets above the saloon every Tuesday night." [01:13:50]
Attempting to lure his suspect into a false sense of security, Morse shakes the his hand, squeezing his knuckle twice while saying, "If I can ever be of service...." [01:15:00]
Morse, still wondering what became of a notebook which went missing at a crime scene, realizes that a scrawled note refers to Lodge No. 98018, also known as the Doomsday Lodge. He concludes that the link between the suspects is the lodge.
Morse: "You needed someone you could trust. Someone you could rely on to keep their mouth shut. Who better than a member of a society who relies upon secrecy for its very existence? Your brother mason, Val Todd."
Todd: "You misunderstand the nature of our fellowship."
Morse: But not the nature of business." [01:21:30]
Once the suspects are arrested, Tod warns Morse.
Todd: "It's still not too late for you."
Morse: "Late for what?"
Todd: "It depends on whether you want powerful friends or powerful enemies."
Morse: "You're a bunch of overgrown schoolboys playing with a dressing-up box."
Todd: "You really don't have a clue do you? You cross these people, they will bring you down but not before they destroy everything you hold dear, colleagues, friends, family. Every action has its consequence."
The final scene shows a gloved figure crossing a chequered flooring to place the missing notebook, a key piece of evidence, on a table where it is covered by another hand wearing a gold pinky ring.
It is noteworthy that the detailed synopsis of this episode found on pbs.org manages to avoid mentioning Freemasonry, using such coy phrases as "secret association" and "unidentified inner sanctum of power." The second episode of this season, "Nocturne" (S02E02 : 2014/04/06) further involves Freemasonry.
Endeavor, "Trove" [S02E01] 30 March 2014. Directed by Kristoffer Nyholm, written by Russell Lewis (Colin Dexter : characters). Nigel Cooke, Jessie Buckley, Shaun Evans, Jessica Ellerby, Diana Day, William Mannering, Philip Martin Brown, Abigail Thaw, Beth Goddard, Jonathan Coy, Nick Waring, Pooky Quesnel, David Westhead, Liam Garrigan, Roger Allam, Caroline O'Neill.