The Last Enemy. A Review PLUS Music, Art, Literary References, Locations etc.

First transmitted in the UK on 11th January 1989. 

This is episode two of series three. Chronologically it is the 9th episode.

This episode is based on Colin Dexter’s novel, The Riddle of the Third Mile.

Colin Dexter can be seen at the very beginning of the episode only some 19 seconds into the episode. At least I think it’s him as I have watched the episode so many times trying to find him and this is the best I can do as a possible identification. I believe he is the man on the far left talking to the chap in the white vest.


Directed by James Scott. He only directed one episode.

Written by Peter Buckman. He only wrote one episode.

Jag Rating (out of ten)


A young couple on a canal boat discover a body in the water. The body has no head, no arms or legs. (he must have been drunk. Well he was legless wasn’t he? Do I hear groans?) I don’t know if Britain is the only place that uses the colloquialism ‘legless’ for one being drunk. Let me know via the ‘leave a comment’ section at the bottom of the post or on the Facebook page, see link above.

Anyway, back to the synopsis. While Morse are Lewis begin to investigate the murder Morse receives a call from the Master of Beaumont college, Sir Alexander Reece, (Barry Foster), that one of his colleagues, Dr David Kerridge (Tenniel Evans) has gone missing. Are these two events linked? While Morse battles toothache he and Lewis are engulfed in Beaumont College’s petty jealousies and rivalries.

Regarding the episode’s title, we learn from the episode that it relates to a passage in the New Testament, Corinthens 15:25/26/27

“For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.…”

It would seem that the line, “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” has been changed in various editions of the bible. The King James version translates it as, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” The word abolished appears in the New American Standard bible. The use of the word ‘abolished’ certainly, to me, changes the effect and meaning of the King James version. Interesting, but a theological discussion for another time.


This is a good solid episode but in my opinion not one of the best. But very often not the best in terms of a Morse episode is far better than most of the drivel on TV. The episode is certainly helped by the wonderfully slimy and oily performance of Barry Foster as Sir Alexander Reece.

The episode is also helped by showing the growing respect between Lewis and Morse for each other. I love Morse’s, “Go home to your wife and kiddies, they need you more than I do.” Though Morse moans about Lewis’s need to go home early to babysit every so often he understands that Lewis is more than just his ‘bagman’.

Interestingly we first learn the reason why Morse never finished his degree at Oxford; it was because of a woman. This woman, Susan Fallon, will appear in the excellent episode, Dead on Time; Series 6, episode 1. It would also seem that Morse and Sir Alexander Reece’s palpable mutual dislike for each other stems from an affair of the heart. Her name was Wendy. One gets the impression that Reece ‘stole’ her from Morse.

I read the Morse novels sometime ago and I’m afraid I can’t remember much about the the book the episode is based on, The Riddle of the Third Mile. However, after some research I found the book to be very different from the episode. The writer, Peter Buckman, realized that the TV episode was so far removed from the book that he couldn’t justify using the book’s title.

There is nothing wrong with the episode per se. All the actors are very good especially the stalwart British character actors, Michael Aldridge, Barry Foster and Tenniel Evans. The episode is well written and directed but it just doesn’t come to life for some reason. Maybe it’s because for me it feels a little pedestrian at times, a little too routine. Lewis’s character I also felt took a backward step after his character progression in the last episode, Ghost in the Machine. However, Lewis comes back to the fore in the next episode, Deceived by Flight.

There are, of course, some nice touches in the episode over and above the afore-mentioned ones. When Morse meets Miss Tree, the dance teacher she says, “I might be able to do something with you.” She looks him up and down and says, “Perhaps not.” I’m thinking, there are many women out there who would disagree with you.

A small point and I wonder if anyone agrees with me. While Morse is in Kerridge’s flat he finds some pieces of skin. Morse pulls from his inside jacket pocket a small plastic evidence bag and places the skin inside. Is it just me or does this seem out of character: Morse keeping evidence bags in his pocket? Probably just me.

There is one small scene in the episode that goes some way to proving what a great actor John Thaw is. It is when Dr. Russell’s friend shows up at the pub where she and Morse are having a drink. Morse asks Sam what he would like to drink and he replies, “Half a lager.” The contempt Morse has Sam for asking for such a drink shows on his face brilliantly. But, John Thaw does it in a very subtle way but it is there for all to see apart from Sam that is.

Not only does Morse’s ‘date’ with Dr Russell get interrupted but also his drink with Carol is also interrupted but this time by Lewis. Poor Morse. When he walks away to get Sam’s drink part of you wonders if he will return to the table where Sam and Grayling are sitting. I think he would make his excuses and leave very soon after returning to the table. Was there any chance that Morse and Carol would become a couple? No, especially after her taking Morse to the Jamaican restaurant. Anyway, I think Carol was in love with Sir Alexander Reece.

I’m not sure what the intention behind Morse having toothache in the episode was supposed to achieve; apart from allowing him to drink more whisky than normal. Morse doesn’t need a toothache to be irascible. I don’t believe it added anything to the episode but maybe I am missing a point the writer was trying to make about Morse’s character; apart from the fact that he doesn’t visit a dentist often enough.

I am grateful to the writer of the episode for bringing the poem, The Hound of Heaven to my attention. It is a quite a remarkable piece of work.


An episode with a lot of incidental music by Pheloung Barrington but the only classical piece is the wonderful

44m03s Scubert: String Quintet in C Major (Love this piece)



Morse is entering the Master’s lodgings and the secretary, Carol Sharp, asks if he is Chief Inspector Morse. Morse answers, “I am he”. This is a quote from the Bible. ((Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53). The quote ‘I am he’ is about the betrayal of Jesus.

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples across the Kidron Valley, where they entered a garden. Now Judas, His betrayer, also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with His disciples. So Judas brought a band of soldiers and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees. They arrived at the garden carrying lanterns, torches, and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was coming upon Him, stepped forward and asked them, “Who are you looking for?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered.

Jesus said, “I am He.”

And Judas His betrayer was standing there with them. When Jesus said, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.”

At 12m30s Morse says, “As Virgil pointed out, ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

This refers I believe to Virgil’s opus The Aeneid.

“Virgil acknowledges this at the outset of the poem, The Aeneid,  in a rare programmatic utterance:Tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem! What a tremendous struggle it was to found the Roman nation! It is Virgil’s way of saying “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” For every step Aeneas takes forward, there is something he has to leave behind. And Virgil highlights not only the glory of Rome, but the enormous personal cost it conceals.”

Man’s Fate in the Aeneid by David M Halperin


At the police station Morse says to Lewis, “Fortes fortuna iuvat.” Lewis answers, “Fortune favours the brave. My old school motto.”

At 41m Morse says, “By their works shall we know them.” This alludes to the New Testament, Matthew 7:15, “by their fruits you shall know them.”


Morse and Lewis are walking along the canal at Thrupp discussing where to find the missing head. Morse relates to Lewis the story of Orpheus’s death. Feeling spurned by Orpheus for taking only male lovers, the Ciconian women, followers of Dionysus, first threw sticks and stones at him as he played, but his music was so beautiful even the rocks and branches refused to hit him. Enraged, the women tore him to pieces during the frenzy of their Bacchic orgies. His head and lyre, still singing mournful songs, floated down the swift Hebrus to the Mediterranean shore.

At 1hr26m Morse states, “The man of virtue puts right the wrongs that have been done to him.” I don’t think this is an exact quote from any classical work. Aristotle did believe that via his ‘Virtue Ethics’ that one should do the right thing to the right person for the right reason

Morse and Lewis are walking to the car to try and find Arthur Drysdale. Morse says to Lewis, “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death”.

Regarding the episode’s title, we learn from the episode that it relates to a passage in the New Testament, Corinthens 15:25/26/27

“For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.…”

1hr31m Drysdale and Morse quote from The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson;

“I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter.

But with unhurrying chase,

 And unperturbèd pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat—and a Voice beat

More instant than the Feet—

‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

To read the full poem click here.

1hr36m Drysdale again quotes from the above poem,

“Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds

From the hid battlements of Eternity”

1hr37m Drysdale again quotes from the above poem;

“My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,

Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.

Yea, faileth now even dream

The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist”



At 46 minutes and 11 seconds we see Morse at home. Above his record player is the etching below.

Nancy identified this as “A View of Tomb of Licianus Piso on the Ancient Appian Way 1754.” by Piranesi . This as Nancy commented is the fourth Piranesi in  Morse’s home. Thank you Nancy.


Barry Foster who played Sir Alexander Reece was himself a TV detective. He played Commissaris “Piet” Van der Valk. The stories were based in Amsterdam but it was a British TV series on ITV. The series ran for 13 episodes over two series in 1972 and 1973. It did return for a few more episodes in 1991 and 1992. The theme tune became famous and Matt Munro hit the charts with a vocal version. Barry Foster starred in the film version of The Sweeney titled, ‘Sweeney!’ (Yes, not The Sweeney but just Sweeney!).

The young Alex Reece is encountered in the pilot episode of Endeavour.

Image result for Christopher Brandon endeavour

Chief Superintendent Strange played wonderfully by James Grout, appeared in the British TV series Redcap, a military police series in which he played the senior officer in John Thaw’s division. The two became great friends and remained so throughout the filming of Morse. He played the flamboyant actor Harry Chitterlow from the show Half a Sixpence in New York and was nominated for a Tony Award.

Inspector Morse for the first hour or so of this episode suffers from toothache for his apparent liking for three sugars in his tea and coffee. When the dentist has dealt with the toothache Morse returns to the Police Station and tells Lewis to add sugar to his coffee. However, in the episode Last Bus to Woodstock when he visits Jennifer Coleby’s house and discusses literature with Angie Hartmann he refuses sugar (and milk) in his coffee.

Laura Sadler who played the niece Sabine of Deboarah Burns went on to act in the popular British medical drama, Holby City, as Sandy Harper. She tragically died at the age of 23 when she fell 40ft from a balcony. (Thanks to Graham Barratt for this information).

Susannah Hitching enjoyed a highly successful second career as a writer under the name of Suzy Barratt. She wrote two volumes of family games books, I’m Bored and I’m Bored… Again!, which became best-sellers. She had been suffering from cancer and died in Spain on June 8 2007 aged 43.

Michael Percival who appears as the barman in this episode also appeared in the successful John Thaw series Kavanagh QC as Brian Edzard in an episode titled, ‘The Sweetest Thing.’

Tenniel Evans starred alongside John Thaw in one episode of British TV show Redcap. The episode was titled ‘It’s What Comes After’ and aired in 1964.

Michael Aldridge starred alongside John Thaw in the 1991 British TV show Stanley and his Women. Based on the novel by Kingsley Amis, Stanley and the Women is a 1991 four-part British drama (with 50-minute episodes).

Beatie Edney who played Deboarah Burns is now involved in the very popular BBC remake of Poldark. In that she plays Poldark’s servant, Prudie.

Image result for Beatie Edney poldark]


Beaumont College is the fictitious name giving to the college run by the Master, Sir Alexander Reece.

9m –

Morse walks through Corpus Christi College garden.

Morse then walks through a gate into a back garden area of Corpus Christi.


47m – 

Morse and Carol Sharp walk through Brasenose College.

1h –

Lewis visits Beaumont College to talk about Dr Kerridge.

The pub where Morse bumps into Deborah Burns in London.

Cleveland Arms  28 Chilworth St, London W2 6DT.


The pub today.

Next is the location of Ms Tree and Dr David Kerridge flat in Bayswater in London.

The address is Cleveland Square, London.

Oxford Canal, Thrupp basin (Banbury Rd. North of Kidlington). This is where the body is found in the canal at the beginning of the episode.


The Boat Pub, Thrupp.(Canal Road, Thrupp) This is where Morse and Lewis interview the pub landlord.


The shop where Lewis visits to ascertain who the dead man’s clothes belong to is called Walters Outfitters and is still going strong today,



Morse is taken to a Jamaican Restaurant by Carol Sharp. Though I can’t be sure which restaurant it was there is a rather famous one in Oxford called the Hi-Lo Jamaican Eating House. It’s doors have been opened since 1981. I don’t think it is a studio mock up so i’m going to stick my neck out and say that it is the afore-mentioned restaurant.


A big thank you to Simon who identified the pub used at  36 minutes and 1 hour and 39 minutes. Simon reliably informs me that this is the Boat Inn at Thrupp, this time the back beer garden.



James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange – (Born 22 October 1927 – Died 24 June 2012)


Sean Rigby as Police Constable Strange in the TV series Endeavour.


Amanda Hillwood as Grayling Russell – (Born – 11th August 1962 – )


Micheal Aldridge as Arthur Drysdale – (Born September 9, 1920 – Died January 10, 1994)


Barry Foster as Sir Alexander Reece – (Born August 21, 1927 – Died February 11, 2002)


Tenniel Evans as Dr David Kerridge – (Born May 17, 1926 – Died June 10, 2009)


Beatie Edney as Deboarah Burns – (Born October 23, 1962 –  )


Sian Thomas as Carol Sharp – (Born September 20, 1953 –  )


Lana Morris as Miss Tree – (Born March 11, 1930 – Died May 28, 1998)


Bert Parnaby as Ben – (No Info)


Mark Tandy as Collins – (Born February 8, 1957 –   )


Pauline Munro as the dentist – (Born 1936 –     )


Albert Welling as Chris Stoneley – (Born February 29, 1952 –   )


Kevin McMonagle as Geoff – (No info but here is his homepage:


Michael Percival as Pub Landlord – (No info)


Philip Bloomfield as Sam – (Born 19th November 1952 –  )


Jill Johnson as Mrs Burns – (No Info)


Gertan Klauber as German Man – (Born 5 March 1932 – Died 1 August 2008)

Jackie Buchanan as German Woman – (No Info)


Susannah Hitching as Girl on Boat – (Born April 1, 1964 – Died June 8 2007)


Laura Sadler as Sabena – (Born (25 December 1980 – Died 19 June 2003)

Author: Chris Sullivan

Up until a few years ago I was my mum's full time carer. She died in, 2020, of Covid. At the moment I am attempting to write a novel.

74 thoughts

  1. Thank you for this wonderful blog!!! I look forward to checking it out often! Morse is one of my favorite shows and I had only recently viewed him and Sergeant Lewis on Hulu. Wonderful analysis on a pretty good episode.

    1. It’s 2021 and I still seem to be able to get inspector Morse albeit primetv and via internet in Canada. Yes, a 71 year old who still enjoys British sitcom after emigrating 40 years ago. Thanks for all your hard work.

      1. You’re very welcome Craig. Good news that you can still get access to the wonderful original Morse series.

    2. Thanks for your website, Chris. I like this episode. Perhaps because Beattie Edney is so so beautiful in this.

  2. Bert Parnaby (1924-92) was at Balliol College Oxford, so his ‘scout’ is from first-hand knowledge. He became a professional actor late in life, having taught English (at Manchester GS) and become chief School Inspector for Drama.

  3. Hi Chris! Totally with you on the toothache thing… Another touch I liked in this episode was Ben wanting Mr Drysdale to have his plant. Aww. (Or, maybe not, what a baddie.) In the USA we don’t say “legless” for drunk, but we will say one has “an empty/hollow leg” if one can drink a lot. Cheers!

    1. Also in the US the expression “knee-walking drunk” for your legless. Again, many thanks to Chris Sullivan for this fountain of information!

  4. Thanks for this. I’d just read ‘The Third Mile’ and realised at once that this episode diverges from the book a lot. Your point about the evidence bag that Morse pulled out in Kerridge’s flat in Bayswater – the exact same thought occurred to me! It isn’t at all like Morse to have on him little plastic bags and a pair of tweezers!

    1. Hi Peter. Glad you liked my post. The book and this episode are so different that if it wasn’t for Lewis and Morse being in the episode you would almost never know it was based on Colin Dexter’s novel.

      1. I think, at least you know it was based on Colin Dexter’s novel, when you hear the quotes from The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson. In which other detective novel would you find such mystical verse? Perhaps in the novels of Dorothy Sayers, my other favorite!

  5. Thanks for the mention of the Piet Van der Valk series. Netflix (US) has it on DVD and I’ve put it in my queue. I wonder if you, or anyone else, can tell me if Michael Aldridge was in a television series from maybe the 1970s in which he said “A bayba” (meaning a baby. Love for Lydia?? I think he was a father of an adult child? I thought Lewis was self-confident, and funny in this one. And I love the developing relationship between him and Morse. That scene in Morse’s living room says it all. I think I mentioned somewhere else that Barry Foster will always be the necktie killer in the Hitchcock movie Frenzy. I saw it when I was a young woman and found it very scary. I would love to go to the Jamaican restaurant!! I didn’t think Miss Burns was a very good auntie. I just watched this (third time) last evening, and I really liked it. Awful for Morse that the woman he had so loved was barely remembered by the man who took her from him.

    1. Hi Nan. You’re right about Michael Aldridge being in Love for Lydia in which he played Captain Rollo Aspen. You can find scenes form the series on YouTube. Not one of Hitchcock’s best movies, Frenzy but is certainly much maligned.

    2. I seem to recall that Alex says to Morse that, though they both wanted Susan or Wendy, she preferred Morse over him. I never got the impression that she and Alex were a couple.

  6. Hello, Chris.
    I just recently discovered this world of Lewis and the others and am becoming rapidly addicted to it. Besides the fine detection work and the interplay of characters, I love seeing all the University locations, including many where visitors seldom get to go, and learning a bit about the customs of the place.
    Thanks for maintaining this interesting forum where one can get more information about the episodes.

    1. I was going to mention this connection when I read your comment! I didn’t know she was SS’s daughter. That’s amazing. And Kevin Whately was in Peak Practice with her.

    2. She also played Jane Kennedy’s mother in The Coroner. What an actress! Two more different roles I cannot imagine.

  7. Lewis and Dr. Russel’s conversation – Lewis: (to Dr Russell) What’s a nice girl like you doing in a job like this? Dr Russell: How do you know I’m a ‘nice girl’ ? reminds me of the conversation between Endeavour and Trewlove in Prey. I also remember The Indelible Stain in which Lewis has the toothache. I enjoy seeing echoes through out the Morris/Lewis/Endeavour universe 🙂

  8. Best of luck with your studies, Chris. I am a keen Morse, Lewis and Endeavour fan. I frequently hark back to your lovely website.

  9. Somewhere in this episode someone (I can’t recall who, though I dimly feel it was Alexander Reece) refers to a “bedder” in the college. Cambridge has bedders, Oxford has scouts.

  10. Interesting and quite amusing that in the previous episode, Ghost in the Machine, Dr Russell says her first name was ‘an old family name’, but in this episode she says her father was ‘desperate for a name’ and just called her after the first thing he fished from the river!

  11. A couple of references which may be of interest. in the Riddle of the Third Mile Reece and Morse have only known each other for 10 years and so the Endeavour development of Reece fits the TV Morse and not the novel Morse. Also in the Riddle of the Mile Wendy/Susan’s dowdy friend is Sheila, and not Alice as developed in the Endeavour episode ‘Rocket’. But Sheila possibly would have been the foursome that Reece proposes in the pilot episode of Endeavour? But the development in The Last enemy here of Reece as love rival in the exchange with Morse does intrigue

  12. Regarding Morse collecting evidence from Kerridge’s flat in Bayswater: Morse came prepared, the way a good policeman as he is would do. There is nothing fishy about what he does. What is fishy is that the killer has done a perfect job of forensic cleaning (he is SOE after all) but left a piece of evidence on the kitchen table. THAT really stinks.

  13. We just watched this episode on Britbox and loved it. But who bludgeoned Kerridge to death. Didn’t Drysdale say he tried to strangle him, but gave up; and then they spoke and he was persuaded that he’d misjudged Kerridge?

    1. I watched this last night and wondered the same. I believe Reece killed him. Morse puts this to Drysdale who doesn’t object, though the dialogue was a bit confusing. Drysdale says “I rather doubt Kerridge would have gone so far” – I misheard and thought he was referring to “Reece” as incapable of murder, but he was actually referring to Kerridge, suggesting he wouldn’t expose Reece as a plagiarist.

      To me, this all seems very unlikely – Reece committing murder, coincidentally when Reece had just fought off a similar attempt, before he learns that Ballarat is dead? And he knows Morse is sniffing around. It seems a lot more likely that Drysdale killed him, deciding it couldn’t be proven so why confess.

      1. I am certain it is supposed to be Reece. Drysdale is enjoying fessing up, he gas nothing to gain by missing out Kerridge.

        Bad luck on Kerridge though – he fights off and talks down of one murderer, then another turns up ! Quite an eventful day.

  14. I did like this episode even though I had to watch it a few times to understand it all, especially who killed Kerridge. I especially like the end with Drysdale dying and we see part of what happened with Morse’s scholarship.

  15. I could hardly believe it! Morse goes through the door of the building labelled as “MASTERS’ LODGINGS”. How many masters does Beaumont College have at one time? I was not be sure that the misplaced apostrophe was, in fact, an apostrophe, but the alignment of the two words confirms it. What is the world coming to?

  16. When Morse and Reece are talking face-to-face in close-up there is no more than four inches between their noses. The next shot shows them at least a foot apart. Have you ever spoken to another person at a distance of four inches (other than an intimate friend)? It must be very uncomfortable. I suppose that actors get used to it.

  17. Morse is served a scotch in a half-pint glass in the Cleveland Arms. In what universe would this happen?

  18. When Morse and Carol Sharp leave the Master’s Lodgings to go for a drink in the buttery, they leave through a different door from the one through which he entered the first time. The door was in the middle of a wall of the quadrangle when he entered early in the episode; the door through which they left was in a corner of the quadrangle. That’s not impossible – Sharp tells Morse that the Master has a private door – but it seems unlikely. As Morse and Sharp are heading towards the buttery, Morse says, “Kerridge was an angler. They’re very philosophical … Like policemen. Y’know Alex built his reputation on people like them.” Who is Morse referring to? Not Kerridge, for that would be “… people like him.” Anglers? Policemen? Morse continues, “He wrote their constitution when they became independent. He understood their needs so well that within a year they’d torn up all his rules and become a one-party state.” Did Morse nod in the direction of some black people on the lawn of the college as he said this?
    What was Drysdale’s motive for killing Ballarat?

  19. I’ve been watching the episode again and realise that Drysdale killed Ballarat because Drysdale’s wife ran off with Ballarat. Sorry!
    When Morse is in the Cleveland Arms, he seems to be looking for somewhere to sit down with his drink. The only vacant space would seem to be next to a young lady sitting alone. As he sits down he recognises her; she is Deborah Burns. What an amazing coincidence! But Morse does not seem to be at all surprised. What was the point of the young man who attempted to sit down to chat up Burns? To establish that she was waiting for somebody? That was unnecessary, as she tells Morse that she is waiting for Kerridge. Morse tells her that she might have a long wait, as at that time the body in the river was thought to be that of Kerridge, but Burns does not ask for an explanation, which I thought was strange. She later waits for Kerridge to turn up at his flat, having evidently given up waiting for him to turn up in the pub. How did she manage to arrange a meeting with Kerridge when he had been missing for four days with nobody able to contact him, apparently? How did Drysdale manage to get postcards sent from Rome? His presence in Rome was presumably going to be his alibi. Postcards can take quite a while to arrive, and Morse says, “Postmarks can be deceptive. A foreign stamp and a smudged frank does not mean it was posted abroad.” The card that we see in Ben’s room must have been bought in Rome, and Drysdale could not guarantee that the frank would be smudged if he’d posted it in England. Once Drysdale would come under suspicion, his alibi would be carefully checked. The police would want to see flight tickets, etc.
    Morse and Lewis talk to a man on the canal to ask which way a head would go if it were thrown into the canal. He says, “Water’ll shift anything every which way each time the locks open.” But when does water ever flow upstream? I can’t see the point of that conversation, nor the German couple, nor the woman who asks Lewis to untie her painter, except to help pad out the episode to the required length.

    1. Hi Bert, although I like this episode I didn’t see the purpose of the man who sat at Burns’ table and stared at her in a creepy way either. Nor the interaction with the German couple looking for the Lock. Why would that be a touristy thing to want to see? Just fillers I guess. I did like the reaction of the boatman when Morse said they were looking for a head. An understated shock 😳

    2. I agree- but Morse sitting at her table was bizarre given the size of it and the proximity that created to her.

      For a middle aged bloke to sit down literally inches away, a young woman would surely react rather differently?

      The creepy guy did seem superflous, although Morse had an odd face of satisfaction when he saw him off. Perhaps it was to highlight she isnt interested in men as she “has one” ie Reece and as a set up for potentially yet another Morse crush.

      Of course we dont know what scenes ended on the cutting room floor and may have expanded on this notijg Inthink you are right they had to pad this.

      Ref meeting Kerridge at the pub, she was just waiting near his house (as Morse popped in having just been there). His surprise when she did ambush him makes clear he had no idea there was even an issue between them let alone an arranged meet.

      The overall plot is bizarre, we find at the end Reece killed Kerridge, yet there is zero else to suggest this. His character was of assasinating people by machiavellian methods not physical and he’d never take that risk for no commensurate benefit. I can only assume Drysdale was attempting to blacken his name/reputation as part of his “confession”. The use of “brain tumour” to justify Drysdale’s sudden penchant for bloody revenge is pretty weak imho.

      I think the “water” thing refers to in a canal there are lots of eddies and currents that are counter intuitive to simply “downstream”, caused by lock discharges for example (also inflows and overflows plus leaks). Hence why they hadn’t found it initislly although one would assume the police diver unit would have expertise on this anyway.

  20. Did you notice that Morse had moved his pictures around since Last Bus to Woodstock? The print of the pyramids was where the Picasso drawing used to be. Carelessness on the part of the set decorator?

  21. Great blog, I absolutely love it!
    Here’s a true story related to this episode. Two years ago I visited my sister who was on sabbatical at Oxford. To get back to the hotel (which was in Reading), I had to take a bus to the Oxford train station. Not being used to dealing with cash anymore, I downloaded an app for the local bus company and purchased a ticket online. When the bus arrived it turned out that there is more than one bus company in Oxford, and they do not accept each other’s tickets. My Canadian Visa would not tap, and the only cash I had on me was in Canadian dollars. Unfortunately, the driver was not too helpful.
    A quick glance at Google maps showed that the train station was 3 kilometres away, so I decided to just run there. Turned on GPS navigation and started running. The GPS decided to take me through the scenic route, along the river, only by now it is pitch black. So here I am running along the river, in a place I do not know, and I can barely see anything. But then from their silhouettes I can discern the shapes of the river boats, and it immediately strikes me that this looks exactly like the spot where they found the bodies at the beginning of this episode!


    1. Welcome elahav to my website. Great story. You’re a braver person than me running through a location that is completely dark.

  22. I have just read the book “The Riddle of the Last Mile” and it is the most complicated and convoluted of all the Inspector Morse stories that I have read so far. It has more characters, more murders, and more contrived twists and coincidences than most. The only similarities with the TV episode “The Last Enemy” are the dismembered body in the canal, and the character of the war veteran / professor who is dying of cancer. All other names and situations are changed beyond recognition, hence the change of title.

    1. Morse has toothache in the novel. I recall that it is relevant to the plot because one of the suspects has toothache and wraps a scarf around his jaw. As the plot in this adaptation is so different i see no need for the toothache to be retained.
      Strange comments that he is pleased his daughters went to ‘Redbrick’ universities. This episode is set in 1989 so his first daughter must have been born c1970 which is inconsistent with the Endeavour time line.

  23. When at the pub where Morse bumps into Deborah Burns in London, I thought she said she was waiting for Dr Kerridge. Morse was in London to find him yet he showed no interest in then staying around to see him. It seems a non sequitor

  24. A stunning cast for lovers of British comedy. Tenniel Evans from the Navy Lark, Gertan Klauber from the Carry On films (mostly as foreigners, but dearly loved for waking Frankie Howerd up in hospital with a cry of “Washee time”) and as King George III in Blackadder, Michael Aldridge from Last of the Summer Wine (and Michael Frayn’s stage comedies), Bert Parnaby in all sorts of low comedies requiring him to look gormless, Susannah Hitchings from Drop the Dead Donkey and Amanda Hillwood from A Very Peculiar Practice, one episode of which had James Grout naked in it. Something for all tastes.

    1. Good observation about the choir. Not one person seemed concerned. And James grout naked?? Don’t think I would ever want to see that!

  25. Just watched this episode last night. The body dragged out of the canal had no head and the hands and lower legs were cut off. When Morse visits Alexander Reece in his office the first time the viewer can see the sculpture of a torso on a pedestal in the background over Reece’s shoulder. Coincidence? Or clue?

  26. Superb blog about the best crime TV series (Morse) ever!
    Sian Thomas is wonderful in this episode. Anyone knows the Reggae/Dub music in the Jamaican restaurant?

  27. The Jamaican restaurant is actually Marino’s on Cowley Road. I’ve sat at the very table Morse dined at.

    1. Hi Lorna. Is Marinos closed as I can’t find it? Do you know what number on Cowley Road the restaurant was?

  28. The pub 36 minutes in and in the final scene is again the Boat Inn at Thrupp, this time the back beer garden. It’s changed quite a bit now but I remember visiting it now long after the episode was first broadcast.

  29. Agree with you on this one Chris, although I possibly liked it a bit more than you. It’s a bit padded (particularly the scenes of Morse in London) and the ending is a bit feeble, but there’s some nice dialogue and some terrific performances (mainly Barry Foster). I liked the scenes between Morse and Carol Sharp too. A classy lady (and a real ale drinker); right up Morse’s street.

  30. Great analysis, Chris. I want to emphasize a few points because this was an odd Morse episode. You mentioned that the episode seemed pedestrian and routine. As I was watching, I kept thinking-“why is this so focused on the mundane?” The writer didn’t seem to understand the essence of the series or the Morse character. I was watching with my wife (who never watches Morse) and I actually emphasized how peculiar the episode was in comparison to the Colin Dexter norm. I also completely agree with your point regarding Morse and the evidence that he randomly chose to pick up. Morse is the antithesis of the mundane-he wants his beautiful music, excellent beer, and crossword puzzles. The writer of this episode did not recognize what, in my opinion, is the spirit of Morse.

  31. I am watching the episode on Britbox in the US, and wondering if there is a missing scene. It jumps from Morse at the zoo with Burns, to Morse and Lewis in the office talking about Drysdale being armed and dangerous. A very abrupt update in the case. Does anyone know if we are missing a scene?

    Thanks! Love all of these blog posts!

    1. Hello Tim. The zoo scene ends with Burns telling Morse she didn’t report Reece’s death as she had no alibi or witnesses. She says to Morse, “You can understand that, can’t you?” Morse nods, it cuts to the little girl on a camel and then cuts to Morse and Lewis at the police station. If that’s what you saw then there is nothing missing. Hope that helps.

  32. Not a favourite episode of mine, this. More padding than a push-up bra and the ending was a letdown.
    @Kathleen, I guarantee that someone out there would get off seeing James Grout naked. Heck, old bi guy that I am, I wouldn’t be averse to seeing that myself.

  33. I’ve never really rated this episode, it’s always been in my bottom 5. I’ve found the finding of the human tissue in the flat too convenient; just happening to meet Deborah Burns in a pub and never really have any conversation.

    I assume with Drysdale’s SOE background he could forge the postcard stamps/postmarks.

  34. In this episode, Chief Superintendent Strange has black and white photos of his family on his desk. Have to admit, I hoped for a second I might catch of glimpse of Joan!

  35. Tenniel Evans’ memoir ‘Don’t Walk In The Long Grass’ is very interesting. He was brought up in Kenya until he was ten (hence the title!) and then came to England.
    It seems to be available on Amazon and probably in online second-hand bookshops.

  36. Thank you for another great tour through and around an episode! I just watched this one again today.

    I’d like to offer an addition to your location notes: there’s a bit more of Corpus Christi College (my alma mater) in this episode. There’s a brief scene in the Cloister Quad, which is adjacent to the Corpus garden which you noted above. Morse and Carol walk through it, about 47 minutes into the episode, before they’re miraculously transported to Brasenose.

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