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Recap: Inspector Lynley S 02 E 01 Playing For The Ashes
Oh, this case is just not cricket.

Havers: [sitting down to eat toast with Lynley] They were perfectly clean, you know, my knickers.
Lynley: [gallantly] I don't know what you're talking about, Detective Sergeant.

Famous cricketer Kenneth Waring dies of asphyxiation when the cottage he was staying in is lit ablaze. His lover and agent, Gabriella Patten, disappears the next day. Among those devastated by Waring's death are Jeannie, his estranged wife, and Miriam Whitelaw, his wealthy patroness. Also shaken by the news is Miriam's rebellious daughter, Olivia, who works as an animal rights activist and part-time prostitute, and lives in the company of serial arsonist Chris Faraday.

The case seems at a close when Waring's 16-year-old son, Jimmy Waring, confesses to his father's murder. Lynley, however, doesn't buy into this. He is convinced that Jimmy is only confessing to protect someone. But by refusing to arrest Jimmy, Lynley is going against the professional opinion of his profiler/Love Interest Helen Clyde, who isn't taking it very well. Lynley and Havers attempt to make sense of the situation, as Havers settles into her new home and neighbourhood.

Tropes

  • Antagonistic Offspring: And not just one.
    • Jimmy Waring resents his Disappeared Dad Kenneth Waring and might even be his murderer.
    • When she isn't acting as a part-time prostitute, Olivia Whitelaw goes around raiding the dog farms which supply test dogs for the scientific research that her mother promotes. She goes as far as to disrupt one of Miriam's speeches by doing a grotesque masked impersonation of her, while her companions shoot paint balls at Miriam.
  • The Ashes: Heh, well, what else do you expect given the episode title?
  • Big Fancy House: Miriam Whitelaw's...mansion?
  • Broken Bird: Olivia Whitelaw. It's revealed that the Cynicism Catalyst for her was that her mother convinced her to terminate a pregnancy at age 20. It went From Bad to Worse, since she later found out she was terminally ill with Motor Neuron Disease.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: When Lynley visits Havers' flat, Havers modestly tries to hide some drying underwear by stuffing them in a kitchen drawer. Murphy's Law prevails, and when Lynley starts setting the table, he opens a drawer to find her underwear next to the cutlery.
  • Daddy Didn't Show: Kenneth Waring was supposed to take Jimmy on a trip to Greece on the day of his death. His last minute cancellation proves fatal for him.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: Invoked by Chris Faraday. His perpetual alibi for what he was doing at the time of any arson is that he was watching pornographic films.
  • False Confession: Lynley believes that Jimmy Waring is simply Taking the Heat for someone he loves. And Lynley's right.
  • Firemen Are Hot: Well, Barbara and Helen think so. Lynley's expression upon hearing their exchange can only be accurately described as, "WTF??"
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Anytime a dog appears, Lynley immediately gets down on its level and pets it. This is exactly as adorable as you think it is.
  • Murder by Mistake: Waring wasn't the intended victim. Gabriella Patten was.
  • The Obstructive Love Interest: Helen takes Lynley's difference of professional opinion as a slight to her competence. Her reaction is predictable. Once again, one has to ask, What Does He See in Her?
  • Pastimes Prove Personality: Again, Lynley is shown to have a passion for one of the most gentlemanly of sports.
    Lynley: Cricket is not something you like, Detective Sergeant. Cricket is a religion.
  • Promotion to Parent: Miriam Whitelaw became one to Kenneth Waring.
  • Recurring Character: Hadiyyah, Havers' Cheerful Child next-door, is introduced in this episode. She will appear regularly throughout Series 2 before vanishing without another mention.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Played for laughs. Lynley uses his connections to get the case assigned to him because he is a cricket fanatic. Barbara wastes no time mocking him for it — in good fun, of course.
Missing JosephRecap/Inspector LynleyIn the Presence of the Enemy

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