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The bastard took my wife. What if I kill his kid?
~ Josephs to Morse, justifying his reason to kill Peter Morris.

Harry Josephs is the main antagonist in Colin Dexter's 1979 Inspector Morse novel, Service of All the Dead.

He was originally presented as the story's first victim, being a church warden at St. Oswald's church who was found dead immediately after a church service, but turned out he was a hedonistic psychopath who faked his death and started a killing spree to gain money so that he could start a new life.

He was portrayed by Maurice O'Connell in Inspector Morse TV series.

What Makes Him Pure Evil

  • After his retirement from the navy, Josephs became addicted to gambling and had a lot of debts, with people around him accusing him of stealing the collection of church donation.
  • He conspired with other people to murder Phillip Lawson (named Simon Pawlen in the TV Series) in exchange of the 300,000 pounds from Rev. Lionel Lawson (named Lionel Pawlen in the TV Series), so that he could use the money and start a new life.
  • After killing Philip with morphine injection, Josephs hid himself in Ms. Rawlinson's new flat, whilst the others made false identification that the dead man was Harry Josephs. In spite of this, Josephs had other plans, as he started a killing spree to seek revenge on anyone he believed that had wronged him.
  • Garrotting Paul Morris and later, his own wife Brenda Morris, for his jealousy about their love affair.
  • Beated Paul Morris' 12-year-old son Peter Morris to death, for nothing more than just to spite the boy's father.
  • Trying to murder Ruth Rawlinson, his lover, when she became no use of him.
  • Attempting to kill Morse in order to evade capture.


  • Josephs holds the record of the largest onscreen victim counts (by one single killer) in the entire Inspector Morse novel series, and it was implied that he already killed people even before the series had started. As such, he is considered to be the most evil criminal in Inspector Morse novel series, and even one of the most evil villains in the entire franchise ever.
  • He is also the only Inspector Morse Pure Evil that is originated from the novel series. The rest of them are originated from either its TV series adaptation or the TV series' spin-offs.
  • It is unknown if he killed Rev. Lionel, since both the novel and the TV series made it ambiguous whether Rev. Lionel is a murder victim or he took his own life (even if Morse claimed it was the latter).

External links


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Inspector Morse
Harry Josephs | Matthew Copley-Barnes

Alan Jago | Carl Sturgis | Clive Burkitt | Clive Deare | Cromwell Ames | George McGryffin | Gerald Wintergreen | Josiah Landesman | Lester Sheridan | Ludo Talenti | Mason Gull