When Dr. Edwin Lorrimer, a forensic scientist working at a private laboratory is found killed, Detective Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh is sent to investigate. Dalgliesh had been in the area... See full summary »

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Complete series cast summary:
Roy Marsden ...
 Adam Dalgliesh (7 episodes, 1983)
 Dr. Maxim Howarth (7 episodes, 1983)
Ray Brooks ...
 Dr. Henry Kerrison (7 episodes, 1983)
Ivor Roberts ...
 Inspector Blakelock (7 episodes, 1983)
Andrew Ray ...
 Clifford Bradley (6 episodes, 1983)
 Angela Foley (6 episodes, 1983)
 DI Tom Doyle (6 episodes, 1983)
 Brenda Pridmore (6 episodes, 1983)
John Vine ...
 DS John Massingham (5 episodes, 1983)
 Stella Mawson, aka 'Star' (5 episodes, 1983)
 Paul Middlemass (5 episodes, 1983)
Valerie Testa ...
 Claire Easterbrook (5 episodes, 1983)
Meg Davies ...
 Domenica Howarth (4 episodes, 1983)
John Bryans ...
 Chief Superintendent Mercer (4 episodes, 1983)
 Nell Kerrison (4 episodes, 1983)
 Dr. Edwin Lorrimer (3 episodes, 1983)
 Miss Willard (3 episodes, 1983)
Kate Lansbury ...
 Mrs. Pridmore (3 episodes, 1983)
Wendy Gifford ...
 Anne Kerrison (3 episodes, 1983)
Sheridan Ball ...
 Sue Bradley (3 episodes, 1983)
 Mrs. Bidwell (3 episodes, 1983)
Richard Foxton ...
 Sergeant Reynolds (3 episodes, 1983)
Carl Adams ...
 Police Constable (3 episodes, 1983)
Toby Scopes ...
 William Kerrison (3 episodes, 1983)


When Dr. Edwin Lorrimer, a forensic scientist working at a private laboratory is found killed, Detective Superintendent Adam Dalgliesh is sent to investigate. Dalgliesh had been in the area a few months previously investigating the murder of a young woman found in an abandoned car. There are several suspects: Lorrimer's subordinate, Clifford Bradley, who despises him; the new head of the laboratory, Maxim Howarth, who is jealous of his sister's relationship with him; a colleague, Paul Middlemass, who had a fight with Lorrimer. There is also a gruff and likely unethical policeman who was on the grounds of the laboratory at the time of the killing and a local pathologist who is raising his two young children after his wife leaves him for another man. When one of the suspects is also murdered, Dalgliesh learns a key piece of information. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

8 April 1983 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Døden i laboratoriet  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(7 episodes)

Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Martin Jarvis was offered Dr. Kerrison. See more »


Followed by A Taste for Death (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Superb Drama and Mystery from the BBC
11 March 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Nobody knows mystery and drama better than the British, and this 1983 miniseries is first-rate British drama. As a fan of BBC drama/mystery (but unfamiliar with author PD James), I was completely unaware of the plot when I first watched this, which made it all the more riveting. From the start, the viewer is plunged into an interconnecting plot with lots of clues, suspects, red herrings, forensics, and all the usual stuff that mystery lovers love!

Roy Marsden is superbly natural as detective Adam Dalgliesh, portraying a man who is both charming and hardcore (a little like Sherlock Holmes, and his assistant, played by John Vine, as a kind of Watson). The supporting cast features such familiar BBC players as Geoffrey Palmer, Brenda Blethyn (long before her Academy Award nomination), and wonderful Barry Foster (who still impresses me with his incomparable performance of Kaiser Wilhelm in Fall of Eagles). The rest of the characters are well played (ignore the reviews that say otherwise; this is British mystery, remember, and a little theatrics is expected). Since juvenile actors are never mentioned in reviews, another minor but featured supporting player is Annabelle Lanyon, a terrific child actress who appeared in a bunch of BBC shows around this time (a notable performance being the Marchioness in The Old Curiosity Shop; she is still recognized today in the cult classic arena for playing Oona the fairy in Ridley Scott's Legend).

Remember that this was filmed in the early 80s, so it is shot on video rather than film, which gives it a little less visual style. But this was true of most of the BBC shows of the time, and once the story gets moving, you forget all about camera techniques and find yourself fully engrossed in the twisting, turning plot.

A great experience for mystery and drama fans, and especially for fans of classic BBC productions, which, granted, were thin on action and technique, but big on acting, characters, dialogue, and plot!

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