@macgenie Oh, yes, of course! I think I remember now – in the very first episode he comes to Morse’s house to say that Morse isn’t going to get a promotion. I thought that was very odd behavior, but it makes sense if the two are, in fact, old friends.
In that first Morse episode, there was an implication there that Strange (if that’s who it was) was being promoted out of the local police station. And yet I think that same character continues as the chief superintendent? I may be misremembering or misunderstanding all this.
To the extent I gave that any thought, I figured they just retconned the chief superintendent’s promotion away. The way US shows sometimes do between the pilot episode and a first episode, even while then airing the pilot unexplained.