Although there are many snippets of information about Hathaway's early life, most of it is left unknown.
He at least lived near Oxford for most of his childhood on an estate called Crevecoeur Hall, where he became childhood friends with Lady Scarlett Mortmaigne, the daughter of the marquess lord of Crevecoeur Hall (The Dead of Winter).
In the same episode there is an inference that Hathaway lived a rarified but not fully happy childhood. When his father is mentioned ("A policeman! You"re father must be very..proud.") he becomes rather irritable and changes the subject quickly. His father was estate manager of Crevecoeur Hall (he begain his time at the Hall as a grounds keeper as seen in the Morse prequel Endeavour, suggesting Phillip was well respected and worked his way up). It is clear that the Lord of Crevecouer Hall, James's father's employer, had systematically sexually abused the children who lived on the estate for many years, while at the same time providing for music lessons, education and training for higher paid work for them. It is not clear whether James was one of the children subjected to the marquess's abuse and special interest (although many clues suggest yes, at least to some degree), or whether the Marquess had anything to do with the fact that James was educated at Harrow, one of England's two best known "public" schools for the education of the children of the elite. We learn much later, in the final season, that James has a sister, and that his father's name is Phillip. And that their mother was ill for some time, with Nell being her main carer and James leaving for university instead.
James, like the young Lady Scarlett, regularly played with the other children on the estate. But as the son of the estate's Manager (probably a minor relative of an aristocratic family, or perhaps an educated member of the middle class) James would have been awkwardly placed and probably lonely as they approached adolescence--too posh for the servants' children, yet well outside the social league of the daughter of a marquess. Another former child of the estate, Paul, became the butler. While Hathaway calls him Paul, Paul calls Hathaway "Sir" and says it would be "unbecoming of him to presume on a childhood acquaintance. " A member of the Mortmaigne family later tells Hathaway, surprised and embarrassed that it needs to be said, "but you're not one of 'Us'!" Possibly referencing the abuse. Was Lady Scarlett a victim too.
It is possible that James's own father had sufficient means and connection himself to provide for James's education at Harrow. (There is a hint that Hathaway may have 'family money' when we learn that his beloved guitar is worth over £3000.) It's also possible that Hathaway owes some or all of his elite education to the generosity of the sexually predatory marquess, which one would expect to create mixed feelings, to say the least. One theory relates to the episode of Endeavour that introduces Philip Hathaway. He is seen to have a deep affection and bond for troubled Georgina Mortmaigne. Could she of been Agustus Mortmaigne's first victim, abused as a young girl, scarred a tiger to silence her. Could Philip of cared for her, waited for her married her. Could she be Nell and James' mother? Cut of from the family money, but held on the family estate? Why did they leave? James was 12, so Nell was about 16. Hathaway certainly know instantly what was behind Briony's self-harming, personal experience? Or experience of watching his sister in pain? Nell seems very bitter about something but wants to forge a relationship with her brother.
There is the suggestion that James was considered a bit aloof and nerdy while at school. In "Old School Ties" we are told by an ex-schoolmate of Hathaway's that he had been Head Boy of his school and nicknamed 'W.C.' - short for 'Wolfgang Christ' - because he "didn't know whether he wanted to be Mozart or Jesus".
In Life born of Fire, Hathaway is revealed to have had a school friend who lived in or near to Oxford, one Will McEwan. When Will came out to Hathaway as homosexual when they were about 14, Hathaway laughed at him, causing damage to their friendship for many years, which never really got resolved. The episode also hints two things, that Hathaway has been celibate for a while-Entering the priesthood would do that, though by saying "It's been a while" implies he has had intimate relationships in the past. Certainly, he is at ease and demonstrative with Johnjo, indicating the two may of had an intimate relationship in the past. Hathaway is never knowingly defined.
University and SeminaryEdit
Hathaway went to Cambridge University to study Theology. He is also hinted to have been something of a rowing star while at university - in the Pilot, he is described by a rowing coach as "Atta-way Hathaway", and being on the rowing team for his University in the annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race.
After taking his undergraduate degree in Theology, Hathaway entered the seminary and began training to become a priest. In the series pilot, Hathaway tells Lewis he "even spent a year in seminary" but was "chucked out" because he "was considered too frivolous to be a priest." Later episodes, however, hint that Hathaway left of his own volition because he began doubting both the existence of God and whether he was suited to the job. In Life Born of Fire, he ultimately reveals that it was disgust and remorse at having met a gay friend's request for help with a heartless scripture-based condemnation, and the effect that had on his friend's life, that led to his leaving the seminary.
In the last episode of series four, Hathaway informs Lewis that he was talent spotted for MI5 in university. Whether it ever went further than an approach is neither clearly confirmed nor denied by the end.
In the Police ForceEdit
Hathaway is very intelligent, and is often described as a "funny kind of policeman" because he seems so out of place there. The same phrase is frequently used about young Endeavour Morse, in the prequel series Endeavour. Even so, he enjoys his work and becomes dedicated to it.
Like Morse, and occasionally Lewis, Hathaway has a habit for getting emotionally or romantically involved with female witnesses and suspects. He does this most notably with Zoe Kenneth in Life Born of Fire and Scarlett Mortmaigne in The Dead of Winter. Despite generally being both a kind and deliberative person, Hathaway also has a surprising number of unwise or unkind interactions with young witnesses or suspects, which directly or indirectly contribute to their death or injury. Examples include encounters in Intelligent Design, Generation of Vipers, and other episodes.
Despite his intellegence, Hathaway is still young and inexprienced, sometimes behaving in a foolhardy or even very childish manner, such as in Life Born of Fire, when he yells at Lewis in the street "You're not listening to me!"
The He also makes witty remarks to fellow officers, which don't always endear him to them. Many officers at the station consider him to be posh, and snooty, as he was a graduate-entry student, meaning he didn't have to do 2 years as a PC (Police Constable) like the rest of the station.
During Old, Unhappy, Far Off Things Hathaway stays awake all night at the police station ordering hundreds of photos in time order, judging by the light and who is standing next to who, this both amazes and shocks Lewis and Innocent.
His intelligence often comes in useful when identifying complex messages or references from Oxford scholars - he sometimes does this with smugness, though he insists that it is just "the unfortunate shape of my face."
Similarities to MorseEdit
There are many noticable similarities between Morse and Hathaway, their intellegence being only one.
- Both went to one of the Oxbridge colleges.
- They are commented on as being too intellegent for the Police Force.
- They have a bad taste in women, the woman they are interested in usually turns out to hold some sort of blame for a murder.
- They both enjoy music- Morse enjoyed opera and classical, Hathaway enjoys both classical chamber music and World Music, and plays guitar in a band as well as French horn in a chamber orchestra.
- They both enjoy crossword puzzles and acrostics. In the pilot, Lewis and Hathaway find a crossword partially completed by Morse, accompanied by what Hathaway takes to be an acrostic clue Morse had made up. Hathaway tries unsuccessfully to solve it.
DI Robert "Robbie" LewisEdit
DI Robert "Robbie" Lewis is Hathaway's boss and the two have a better relationship than Lewis had when he was Morse's sergeant. The two first met in the pilot when Robbie arrives home from the Virgin Islands after several years' absence. Even though he and Lewis had their ups and downs, their working relationship was slightly better than Lewis' with Morse. They grew to be close friends.
DI Alan PetersonEdit
Both Hathaway and Lewis are irritated by Peterson. They were pleased to best him during a drugs bust. Though Hathaway's liberal comments did not endear himself to Innocent. He is conscious of Lewis burgeoning love for Hobson and wary of Peterson's involvement. Perhaps a hint of professional and personal jealousy too, He sees an ambitious man who knows what he wants and pursues a career.
Dr Laura HobsonEdit
Hathaway develops a surprisingly easy and affectionate, and often protective, friendship with medical examiner Laura Hobson (played by Clare Holman). Pretty, blonde, whip-smart and sometimes impish, Hobson--having graduated from Oxford in 1986-- is probably a little less than 25 (15) years his senior. The "lovely Laura" takes a benevolent interest in the young detective early on, encouraging Lewis to be nice to him. ("Nice! If Morse had been 'nice' to me I never would have made Inspector!"). Although Dr. Hobson and Inspector Lewis have been colleagues for years, and share the experience of having survived Morse, it's Hathaway and Hobson who come from the same Morsian mold of brainy, Oxbridge-educated, musically talented over-achievers. Hobson, however, wears her accomplishments far more lightly and joyously, and seems to quietly help Hathaway open up and show more affection and humor. There even sometimes seem to be the slightest hints at the possibility of a May-September romance between them. In season 2, Hobson invites Lewis to her 50th (more like 40th) birthday party, and tells him to bring "the dishy Sergeant Hathaway." Later in the series it's Hathaway, rather than Lewis, who rescues Hobson from being buried alive, and holds her until her terror subsides (which may well be because he's younger, and more easily able to jump down into a fully dug grave). Throughout the series, it seems to be only around Hobson that Hathaway is truly warm and completely at ease. But it's actually a loyal, platonic friendship that develops between them. Hobson advocates with Lewis for greater give-and-take in his relationship with Hathaway, and Hathaway more than once works for Hobson's happiness in the developing romance between her and Lewis. ===
Chief Superintendent Jean InnocentEdit
He has a mixed relationship with Innocent. She has a mothering instinct with him, her own son who had personal troubles is also a police officer, yet she is often exasperated by his sarcasm and wit. Think Barking dogs and the guys in the band. From scenes when he discovered he had found the driver who killed Lewis' wife, it was clear that Innocent knows something about Hathaway from his past that we and Lewis doesn't. Whether it refers to priesthood, or to events at Crevecoeur, or some other event we never know. Her suggestion that they join some self help group could indicate that it is relating to a death of someone close.
FIONA MCKENDRICK Edit
Fiona was a colleague with whom Hathaway had an intimate sexual relationship. It is possible the relationship began after events of Life Born of Fire, nothing like almost being burnt to death by your would be transgender lover to get the juices flowing. It is clear the relationship has floundered sometime before The vanishing point, Fiona has been offered a prestigious inspectorship within Scotland Yard itself. Its clear she has high connections, whether they are her own or she had used Hathaway to gain the job is left to our imaginations, except for one line when she tells him he was never going to be happy for her. Has Hathaway been led on a wild goose chase by a woman again?