Tuesday, February 8, 2011


According to his sister, John Patrick Smith tried to strangle his girlfriend while he was a student at Oxford. That would have occurred in the mid to late 1980's. It's pozz'ble, even probable, that Inspector Morse was assigned to this case. It's a little more tenuous as to whether Sgt. Lewis assisted in the investigation, as he and Morse first teamed up on the "Dead Of Jericho" case in 1987. At any rate, when Morse and Lewis investigated the death of Sir John Balcombe, one of the journalists covering the murder investigation was a fellow named Billy who bore an amazing resemblance to John Smith. Morse already had his reasons for disliking the fellow, so if he even noticed the similarity in appearance, it wasn't evident in the episode.

More than fifteen years later, Lewis, now standing on his own as a police inspector after the death of his mentor, met Alec Pickman, an old college friend of his not-quite girlfriend, medical examiner Dr. Laura Hobson. Enough time had passed so that Lewis could be excused for not noticing Pickman's resemblance to a journalist that once harried Morse during a case. And as I said earlier, it's unknown whether he was involved in the arrest of John Patrick Smith for the attempted strangulation of his girlfriend at Oxford. But at that same time, while Lewis was investigating the death of Laura's friend Ligiea Willard (Halloween 2010), Smith was on trial in London for murder - accused of killing three people and the attempted murder of a fourth. That surely must have been front page news in all of the newspapers, even in the Oxford area (especially since the schizophrenic Smith was serving as his own lawyer.)

Perhaps out of deference to his friendship with Dr. Hobson, Inspector Lewis chose not to point out Pickman's resemblance to the accused. More than likely Pickman's wastrel ways were already enough of an embarrassment for Laura.......

So this post was just an example in which TV characters who look alike don't have to be related as evil twins, or identical cousins or clones or what have you. And I've always maintained that they may only look alike to us watching them in the Trueniverse; it could be that there is something about them visible only to other TV characters that sets them apart from others played by the same actor. Otherwise, why didn't Lt. Columbo ever say anything when he had three different killers who looked like Jack Cassidy and three who looked like Robert Culp and four like Patrick McGoohan - not to mention all those characters he met who looked like Vito Scotti, John Finnegan, and Mike Lally!

(Rupert Graves played the roles of John Smith, Alec Pickman, and Billy.)

'Inspector Morse' - "Dead Of Jericho" & "Happy Families"
'Inspector Lewis' - "Falling Darkness"
'Law & Order: UK' - "Defence"


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