Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
4 user 1 critic

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)

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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 »

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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: [From her car as Morse heads toward a pub] Need any help?
Chief Inspector Morse: My mother always insisted I should have a proper breakfast.
Dr. Grayling Russell - Pathologist: Medical opinion would agree with her.
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User Reviews

Based on the book Riddle of the Third Mile, The Last Enemy is a classic!
2 July 2009 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

I still think that Morse is the best drama series ever to grace British television, whilst I prefer later Morse episodes, The Last Enemy is definitely one of the better episodes. Based on the book, Riddle of the Third Mile, it consists of a discovery of a decapitated body in a river, rivalry in an Oxford college and even Morse has some humour, with the subplot of a terrible toothache. The episode benefits from gorgeous Oxford scenery, and a well-written script. Other than some alterations to some of the characters, not to mention the names, it is fairly true to the style of the book. As always, John Thaw and Kevin Whately positively shine in the title roles, and Barry Foster and Tenniel Evans also give able support. Sian Thomas, Beatie Edney and Amanda Hillwood are also excellent, and Michael Aldridge (Seymour in Last of the Summer Wine), is a pleasant surprise as Arthur Drysdale, and you actually kind of feel sorry for his character. All in all, a a very well done episode, that I am very fond of. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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