Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
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The Last Enemy 

A headless, armless, footless body of a murdered academic is found in Oxford Canal and his investigation leads to petty hatred and jealousy among the local academia.


James Scott


Colin Dexter (story), Peter Buckman (screenplay)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately ... Detective Sergeant Lewis
Amanda Hillwood Amanda Hillwood ... Dr. Grayling Russell - Pathologist
Barry Foster ... Sir Alexander Reece
Michael Aldridge ... Arthur Drysdale
Tenniel Evans ... Dr. David Kerridge
Beatie Edney ... Deborah Burns
Sian Thomas ... Carol Sharp
James Grout ... Chief Superintendent Strange
Lana Morris ... Miss Tree
Bert Parnaby Bert Parnaby ... Ben
Mark Tandy ... Mr. Collins
Pauline Munro Pauline Munro ... Dentist
Albert Welling ... Chris Stoneley
Kevin McMonagle Kevin McMonagle ... Geoff


When a decapitated body is found in the canal, the police must first identify the victim. The Master of an Oxford college, Sir Alexander Reece, contacts his old friend Morse to obtain assistance in locating the Deputy Master, David Kerridge, who is now four days overdue from his planned return to college. Kerridge is found battered to death in his London flat but oddly, it's also determined that the body in the canal was wearing one of Kerridge's suits. Morse and Lewis conclude that the headless body is that of Nicholas Balarat, a member of Reece's college and a senior civil servant who may have denied Reece an important appointment. However, another murder at the college sends the detectives in an altogether different direction. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

11 January 1989 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character of "Alexander Reece" appears - over twenty years younger, minus a knighthood and played by a different actor - in the pilot episode of "Endeavour" (2012). See more »


Dr. Grayling Russell - Pathologist: [Referring to the corpse] Shall I show you?
Chief Inspector Morse: No, thank you, my dear. I'll leave that to Sergeant Lewis.
Dr. Grayling Russell - Pathologist: I do wish you wouldn't call me 'your dear,' Morse.
Chief Inspector Morse: How does one address a lady pathologist first thing in the morning?
Dr. Grayling Russell - Pathologist: [Dryly] Well, 'Doctor' would do.
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User Reviews

The Riddle of the Third Mile
26 January 2007 | by acnmorrisonSee all my reviews

This is a reworking of Colin Dexter's novel - "The Riddle of the Third Mile".The plot line keeps well with the book though character names are changed and the other alterations were principally to remove a London Strip Club.Visually with a canal plenty of Oxford scenery and an exceptionally strong supporting cast in particular involving Tenniel Evans,Michael Aldridge and Barry Foster.Morse's conversations with Sian Thomas and Amanda Hillwood in their way show how much he seems to miss a possible opportunity for happiness and with Beatie Edney the female support whilst less experienced is no less strong.I must wonder if Oxford University can approve of academics being portrayed as double crossers and jealous schemers but then it makes life more interesting.

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