The Last Enemy S01E01 (BBC)

The Last Enemy is a BBC TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and featuring Robert Carlyle and Max Beesley which first aired on 17 February 2008.

Set in a near-future United Kingdom beset by terrorism and illegal immigration, it features the introduction of “TIA”, a centralised database that can be used to track and monitor anybody effectively by putting all available government information in one place. The story deals with a political cover-up centred around the emergence of a deadly virus, as well as the moral, social and privacy concerns (and even merits) of such a system in a post-9/11 world. The story is told through the eyes of a mathematical genius who is portrayed as a recluse and showing some signs of OCD.

I’ve always been a fan of espionage, ever since I read the Robert Ludlum novels at a tender young age of 10. This is one of the reasons why I’ve stopped reading them, since they simply followed a tried and tested formula. It got repetitive after 10 novels or so. I got really interested in Tom Clancy novels after that.

The Last Enemy is really interesting. In the future, the UK has become a Big Brother like society. It’s not really as extreme as that epithet leads you to believe. It’s the beginning of the end of free will to protect the society from imagined or real terrorism. It draws a disturbing parallel with what is happening in the US right now. That’s not to say that this isn’t happening in Europe as well.

I enjoyed the show. It’s about TIA. What’s TIA? Total Information Awareness. It’s a gigantic DB that links all of the other DB that have been compiled in the UK into one real time accessible system. Meaning that you can track anyone at anytime thanks to satellite coverage and CCTV cameras, as well as tracking their purchases and habits through their spending.

This episode sets up the series. Stephen’s brother has been killed in Afghanistan. Stephen is a mathematician who comes back to the UK from China. He doesn’t like the distractions in the UK, which is why he stayed isolated in China for so long. He came up with some interesting discoveries in mathematics. He starts to frequent his brother’s widow and gets involved in a top security research project at the government, thanks to an old pal from college, Eleanor Brooke, who’s become a government minister.

There are a lot of conspiracies, the main one involves the government covering up a nascent plague in the Middle East since they believe that they caused it in some fashion through some vaccines. I really like this series. It’s compelling, disturbing and original. I recommend it.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

* * * * *

The action picks up at an Afghan refugee camp on the border of Pakistan. Some worker is assassinated by the British government.

A passenger on the way back from China goes to the bathroom. He’s a hypochondriac, a bacteriophobic. On the way through customs, he gets intercepted by security. He’s been told that he’s been fast tracked. Stephen Ezard is a reclusive mathematician. He’s in North London for the funeral of his brother Michael Ezard. He’s been absent from the UK for 4 years.

Stephen is late for the funeral. He finds a lot of people there. Hundreds. Michael was an aid worker in the Middle East. Stephen had lost contact with Michael over the last four years. He finds a girl with an IV line in Michael’s apartment. She looks sick.

The government is looking for that girl. He doesn’t get much information about the girl from the neighbo, but when he heads back inside, he finds a girl name Yazim waiting for him. She says that she is Michael’s wife, who is a doctor. She says that the girl’s name is Nadir and that she is very sick. Nadir is an aid worker.

His wife wasn’t at Michael’s funeral. She seems familiar to the apartment. She says that Michael’s car hit a landmine. She’s behaving more like Nadir’s lover than her friend. Stephen goes through Yazim’s luggage and finds a USB flashdrive with wedding/honey moon written on it. He takes it to verify her story. He also glanced at her passport. It says that her name is Yazim Anwar. Nadir is dead. Yazim starts to rant about his death. Stephen has a rant and they make out.

A man is going through Nadir’s flat. He’s been watched. He notices the cameras. He leaves. He sees the surveillance operatives. The government operatives meet in a café where the CCTV doesn’t work. They’ve identified the man. His name is David Russell (Robert Carlyle). He disappeared two years ago. He was in wet ops. He had a falling out with his employers. The operatives think that Russell doesn’t know what he stumbled into and is trying to force their hand into revealing where he can find her.

Russell goes to his hideout.

Stephen wakes up with Yazim in his arms. The door rings. Yazim stops him. The phone rings. It’s for Stephen. Some company wants to fund his research. They’ve sent a car. There is a BBC telecast about a viral epidemic on the Pakistani border. Ryan Holland and Andrew Wilcox meet him at their office. They want him to bring them up to speed on his research.

Ryan doesn’t know what Stephen is talking about it. He researches topology, rubber sheet geometry explaining the shape of the universe. Andy tries to explain it to Ryan, who doesn’t get it. They want to fund his research for the next three years. They have one favour to ask him. It’s about the Victoria bomb. They talk about TIA, total information awareness. The entire UK in one database. They want Stephen to be their man in Whitechapel. They think that he’s perfect for the job. They want a few weeks out of him. He refuses and leaves.

Andy thinks that he’ll come around. Ryan thinks that it’s a disaster. He tries to take the underground, but finds it closed. He walks home. He finds the apartment deserted. Every trace of Yazim is gone. The body is gone as well. Stephen asks the neighbour. He hasn’t seen or heard anything. The neighbour might be part of the conspiracy. The USB drive is still in its hiding place. He sees footage of Michael’s and Yazim’s wedding.

Some blonde girl arrives. He knows her from his past. Her name is Eleanor Brooke. She knows that he refused the research funding. She’s a government minister now. She recommended Stephen for the research. She takes him to a choir. The choir is from a school that lost 6 at the Victoria bombing. She wants TIA to go through. Stephen finds it distracting. She says that he should look at it.

Russell arrives in Stephen’s flat. He’s under surveillance. Russell watches the footage of Michael’s wedding and sees his quarry, Nadir. He uses an UV light to look for traces of DNA evidence. He finds some. Stephen arrives back at his flat. He calls the minister up and says that he’ll take a look at TIA.

The next day, he’s given a government office and access to TIA. He researches Nadir, Michael and Yazim. He finds out about the viral epidemic. He wonders if he has been infected. The government operatives are aware that someone is using TIA. The minister Eleanor Brooke checks up on him. Stephen finds out that the neighbour isn’t supposed to be living there. No water or power. Stephen goes to see his neighbour and finds the flat deserted. He finds a pin from Magna Carta.

Mr. Nye is one of the operatives and logs into TIA. He sees what Stephen was researching. It’s going to be a problem for them. He knows that Brooke was involved Ezard for five years. Nye is aware for Yazim now. They know that Stephen thinks that Nadir is dead. Stephen knows that his brother wasn’t killed by a landmine. The operatives want Ezard to pursue his investigations. Maybe he will lead them to Nadir’s body.

Russell has IDed Anwar, both Ezards and Nadir from the samples.

Brooke, Ezard and the minister trying to find Nadir are in a cabinet meeting about TIA. Ezard is thinking about what is really going on. Brooke makes a faux-pas and asks Ezard’s opinion on TIA. Ezard goes on a tirade about government secrets and information. He actually mentions totalitarian government. TIA could lead to this.

Stephen continues to use TIA to find out what happened to Nadir’s body. He finds out that Yazim transported the body away. He finds a trace of the van. He sees Yazim. She hands off something to another agent.

Nye is looking over Ezard’s shoulder. He tells his superior that Yazim met with Professor John Morden and handed something off to him.

Ezard is meeting with Morden. Morden met Yazim on the day of Michael’s funeral. She gave him a blood sample. He doesn’t reveal anything. Stephen sees government agents in the distance. Morden makes a call after leaving Ezard. Russell is watching Morden as well.

George the minister is furious about Morden. Nye arrives. He says that Morden phoned her after leaving Ezard. Nine people are en route to the UK. They have possibly been infected. They find that Michael Ezard isn’t dead. He’s among those refugees. The woman says that this is a great opportunity to write a wrong.

Russell finds out that Morden is an advisor to the MOD.

Stephen is researching Magna Carta. He finds trace of Dexter Batz. He lives at the Queens Hostel. He’s about to leave and runs into Brooke. She tells him that he needs to sign the Official Secrets Act. Brooke is on the way to see the PM. She runs into his assistant. It’s the woman from the conspiracy.

Stephen finds Yazim. He follows her. She’s trying to find Morden at Conway Anderson, a lab of some sorts. Ezard’s got Russell on his tail.

Someone kills Morden’s assistant. Yazim is looking for him. The killer knocks Ezard out and Yazim makes a run for it. We see that behind the unconscious Ezard, there is a dead Morden. Batz buries Nadir’s body in a cemetery.


3 responses to “The Last Enemy S01E01 (BBC)”

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