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Characters / Inspector Lynley

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Detective Inspector Thomas "Tommy" Lynley (Nathaniel Parker)

"It's that we try that makes us heroes, not that we necessarily succeed."

The charismatic, aristocratic main character. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Lynley has moved in the circles of the wealthy, titled, and powerful since birth. Despite his background, however, Lynley is driven by a strong sense of justice, which led him to Scotland Yard, where he rose through the ranks quite rapidly. He is a gifted detective, able to read suspects, motives, and situations like an open book, a talent which is aided by his excellent and extensive education. Unfortunately, his well-meaning arrogance and hardheadedness grate on the nerves of his co-workers, and he has rarely been able to keep a police partner for any great length of time... until a sharp-tongued Detective Sergeant turns his comfortably ordered world upside down.


Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers (Sharon Small)

"You mean I get to be in charge of more than just choosing the right sandwiches?"

Lynley's stubborn, hot-tempered, socially-inept, working-class partner. Havers' rough background has left her bitter and broken, determined to hurt the world before it hurts her, and so she hides her compassionate heart behind sarcasm and anger. Although her education is far from elite, this has not prevented her from becoming a clever, dedicated detective in her own right. Havers is anything but unintelligent, and a life among London's working poor has given her street smarts and the ability to see things others don't. Her temper and smart mouth have got her into trouble more than once, however, and no one really wants to break through her mask... until she's assigned to a blue-blooded Detective Inspector who refuses to conform to any of her preconceptions.


  • Action Girl: She has no problem chasing suspects, leaping fences, getting beat up, and otherwise throwing herself into the action.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Barbara Havers in the books is ugly and overweight. Sharon Small is... not. Elizabeth George, author of the book series the show was based on, was initially upset about this, until Small won her over with her performance as Havers.
  • Badass Adorable: She's really cute. And she can take you down before you can breathe twice.
  • Break the Cutie: She's already fairly broken when we meet her — and then the storyline proceeds to abuse her more. A lot more.
  • Broken Bird: Barbara Havers pretty much had any semblance of optimism ground out of her with extreme prejudice after her little brother's death from cancer tore her family apart and her parents succumbed to mental illness and lung disease right before her eyes. When combined with the fact that she has No Social Skills (which have left her alone and misunderstood her entire life), a Hair-Trigger Temper (ditto), and massive class resentment issues, it's no wonder the poor thing was on the verge of being kicked off the force, Bunny Ears Detective or not, before she teamed up with Thomas Lynley. Although the show proceeds to further Break the Cutie (and also the haughty - her partner isn't spared), she softens and blossoms when paired with the one man who refuses to give up on her no matter how much she tries to drive him away. The result is a far more likable - but still snarky - Havers, in a rare case of a show helping put the bird back together again. Sort of.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Havers should have been kicked off the force years ago - she was, in fact, on the verge of being sacked when she met Thomas Lynley, and was even demoted once - because she has No Social Skills and a Hair-Trigger Temper. She's still around because she is, in fact, a frighteningly competent detective, and also the only officer on the force who can manage to survive as Thomas Lynley's partner for more than a month.
  • Character Development: As the show progresses, she gets on a much more even keel and generally becomes a lot more mature and levelheaded.
  • The Consigliere: Barbara is this to Lynley, despite her own fiery temper. Seen repeatedly over the series is Havers laying a calming hand on Lynley's arm and saying, "Sir? Sir!" when he is about to lose his temper, which serves to snap him out of it. She is so far the only person on the show to be able to do this with any sort of regular success.
  • Damsel in Distress: Barbara seems to end up trapped with Ax-Crazy murderers far more often than Lynley. This trope seems to be less about Barbara's ability to take care of herself and more about the fact that putting her in danger is the fastest way to make Lynley suffer.
  • Damsel out of Distress: She is not amused when people pull a "Damsel in Distress" with her, and she makes sure they know it. She always inflicts significant damage and has in a few cases escaped just as Lynley got there.
  • Deadpan Snarker/The Snark Knight: That poor, dear girl.
  • Defective Detective: She has class resentment issues galore and is generally a hotbed of psychological problems that would have most psychiatrists tapdancing to get their hands on.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Done not by a Love Interest, but by her Most Important Person.
  • Deuteragonist: She gets nearly as much screen time devoted to her as her partner does, and has her own independent plot threads that only tangentially involve him.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me
  • Fair Cop: Not that she's aware of it, and she wouldn't believe you if you told her.
  • Fake Brit: Sharon Small, who played the working-class East London Havers, is Scottish.
  • Fiery Redhead: She is a redhead with a serious temper.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Lynley.
  • Friend to All Children: Between the two of them, she's easily the best with children, who tend to trust her when they won't trust anyone else.
  • Friendless Background
  • Good Is Not Nice: Barbara Havers is undoubtedly a truly good character, but, especially early on, she is not a particularly nice one.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Just ask Lynley.
    Lynley: The woman is a minefield!
  • Honest Advisor: To Lynley.
  • Hope Is Scary: Barbara's flat-out terrified when she encounters the one man who won't give up on her, because she's afraid to believe that anyone could care about her. She gets over it... eventually.
  • Jerk With Aheart Of Gold: Her harsh, defensive shell is a very thin skin under which lies a tenderhearted and deeply insecure woman with No Social Skills.
  • Just Friends: With Lynley. Allegedly.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Barbara, whose nigh-impenetrable wall of cynicism hides a woman who absolutely wants to believe the best of everyone but has been betrayed far too many times.
  • The Lancer: To Lynley.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Lynley, who is, in turn, this for her as well.
  • Messy Hair: For the first four series, "blowsy" was probably the kindest adjective you could use to describe Barbara's hair on most days (although it's a good bit neater in the pilot). When her Fanservice Pack came along, her now-shoulder-length hair was a good deal sleeker (but still usually worn in a messy ponytail).
  • No Social Skills: She will find a way to put her foot in her mouth, much to Lynley's continual dismay.
  • Not a Morning Person: As Lynley finds out when he drags her out before seven a.m. without letting her finish her coffee first.
  • Not Good with People
  • The Not-Love Interest: To Lynley. She comes before everything and everyone else.
  • Progressively Prettier
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes
  • Red Oni
  • Sarcastic Devotee
  • Shipper on Deck: Apparently for Lynley and Helen.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead
  • Sliding Scale of Beauty: Cool Average. While Sharon Small is truly lovely, a bad haircut and complete lack of fashion sense mean that Barbara Havers is utterly unremarkable until she smiles.
  • Stepford Snarker: Though she is naturally sarcastic, she turns it Up to Eleven to hide just how damaged and hurt she is.
  • Tsundere: Type A, though she softens into a more balanced mix of type A and type B as the show goes on.
  • Unkempt Beauty: More in the earlier seasons, but Havers frequently looks like she just got out of bed.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Lynley.
  • The Watson
  • When She Smiles: Just look!
  • Working Class Heroine

Police Chief Pat Garratt (Jimmy Yuill)



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