Aired ITV (United Kingdom) on 11/11/98
Morse grapples with mortality as well as murder in this brand new episode. Minus Lewis, who is off on his inspector's course. This is another skillfully produced episode, as we have come to expect.
Morse collapses while attending a lecture about the Oxford Canal Murder of 1859. Bringing up blood, he is taken to hospital and hears some harsh words from his doctor a Mr. Benfield played by Philip Quast, that he could have either a burst peptic ulcer or a cancerous growth in his stomach.
As he awaits his fate, Morse becomes deeply immersed in the case that was the subject of the lecture, the Oxford Canal murder of 1859. He is intrigued by the mystery and, convinced there was a miscarriage of justice although 140 years ago, he sets about solving the case.
Philip appears in three short scenes within the first 30mins, then again briefly at the end. Although the character of Mr. Benfield is rather brisk and direct, he also has a sense of humour. His opening line was superb.
"Liver's enlarged. You drink a lot Mr. Morse?"
Next scene :
Benfield: "I've got this long tube here I need you to swallow."
Morse: "If I can't?"
Benfield: "You'll miss all the fun and won't remember a thing."
Benfield: "I am afraid there's not a lot we can do."
Benfield: "There's no need for the knife at all. I shan't have the pleasure of carving away half your insides."
The final scene refers to Morse's career. Benfield asks "So it's the end is it?" and Morse replies, "I think so. To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.........."
Philip's calm and commanding qualities were very well suited to this role. Although the part was very small his portrayal of Benfield was wonderful.