Posted: 10/03/2008

 

The Last Enemy

(2008)

by Del Harvey



Premieres on Masterpiece Theatre on October 5, 2008, on PBS.


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PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre offers up an eye-opening perspective on our contemporary world and the disturbing effects paranoia can have upon society.

When Stephen Ezard (Benedict Cumberbatch, Atonement) returns to London to mourn the loss of his brother, Michael, who was an aid worker in Afghani refugee camps. To make matters even more confusing, he falls in love with his brother’s mysterious and exotic widow, Yasmin Anwar.

Stephen is surprised to discover he has returned to a society seemingly obsessed with surveillance in all its many forms. He struggles to make sense of his brother’s death, and in the process uncovers secrets about Michael’s life—including a wife he never knew Michael had. Now, fully caught up in this mysterious and mind-boggling new world, he takes a government job to trace leads through a powerful new database. It is there that Stephen exposes troubling revelations and soon finds himself stalked by a rogue agent (Robert Carlyle, The Full Monty). But when Stephen stumbles into an international conspiracy, he realizes that the omnipresent and menacing eye of the government has turned on him.

Scripted by Peter Berry (Prime Suspect 6), The Last Enemy offers a frenetic ride through the paranoia and politics of a futuristic surveillance society. Mr. Berry says of his work on this project, “There is a phrase in Britain that we are ‘sleepwalking into a surveillance society.’ So I decided to have a central character who isn’t aware of what is going on. He is a reclusive mathematician named Stephen Ezard, who is totally focused on finding the mathematical structure of the universe. At the start of the series, he’s been away for about four years in China. When he arrives back in the UK, he’s our ambassador. He’s seeing what’s happening around him with fresh eyes, and it’s a shock to him. The story is set slightly in the future. Everyone has ID cards and the idea of tagging individuals with implantable electronic chips is just coming in.”

The Last Enemy premieres on Masterpiece Theatre on Oct. 5-Nov. 2, 2008 on PBS. Check your local listings for exact air times.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a writer, filmmaker and film teacher in Chicago.



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