Joy, the script writer of a popular TV series, is found murdered in the mansion of the producer Sir Stuart Stinhurst. When Lynley and Havers arrive to investigate, Lynley is surprised to find that his long-time friend, Helen Clyde, was among those staying at Sir Stuart's mansion at the time of the murder. Even more disturbing to Lynley is the fact that Helen is in love with the prime suspect, Director Rhys Davies Jones. Against his and Havers' better judgment, Lynley decides to take on the case. Is he letting his prejudice against his friend's lover stand in the way of looking for the real killer?
- Ab Negative: Lynley figures out Stinhurst can't possibly be Gowan's father based on blood type.
- Big Fancy House: Sir Stuart's mansion. It's even bigger than Lord Asherton's (aka Lynley's) estate in Cornwall.Havers: [to Lynley, on first seeing Sir Stuart's mansion] Is your pad in Cornwall this big?
Lynley: Size isn't everything, Havers, isn't that what you women keep telling us?
- BrotherSister Incest: Subverted. It is revealed that Elizabeth and Gowan do not share a common parent.
- Domestic Abuse: Rhys has a reputation for being one. As Helen finds out, that reputation is well-deserved.
- Fangirl: Lynley's disconcerted and touchingly amused by turns that Barbara seems to be a big fan of Sir Stuart Stinhurst, or at least his work.
- False Soulmate: Lynley is convinced that Rhys Davies Jones is one to Helen. Turns out he is right.
- Informed Ability: Helen is supposed to be one of the best criminal profilers in the country, but completely failed to spot Rhys's abusive behaviour. It's even worse because, in her prior appearance, her ability was anything but informed.
- It Doesn't Mean Anything: Lynley insists that his concern for Helen is only based in friendship. Havers knows better.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Exactly why Rhys went to Helen's room on the night of the murder is something that's been bothering Lynley far more than it should. Rhys puts his mind at (un)rest, rather unkindly:Rhys: The only motive I had for being in [Helen's] bed was to make love to her.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Lynley jeopardises his friendship with Helen through his unwarranted solicitude for her well-being, albeit it probably helped pave the way for a Relationship Upgrade in future episodes.
- Offing the Offspring: A moment of Fridge Horror when you realise that David Sydeham killed his own biological son, Gowan.
- The Other Darrin: When she first appeared, Helen was played by renowned British character actress Emma Fielding. With Fielding unavailable for the full series, Lesley Vickerage took the role, and makes her first appearance here.
- The Profiler: Helen prides herself on understanding Rhys better than Lynley, if not as his lover then as a criminal profiler. She is wrong on both counts.
- Roman à Clef: it might veer into YMMV, but (in career rep, anyway) Sir Stuart comes across quite a bit like Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
- Serial Romeo: How long ago was it, exactly, that you were pining forever and a day after Deborah, Lynley?
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Helen, as played by Lesley Vickerage. She reserves the sugary aspect for her lover, Rhys Davies Jones, while poor Lynley has to withstand her iciness.
- Surprise Incest: Subverted, Stinhurst disapproves of Elizabeth and Gowan's relationship, thinking they're half-siblings and telling her as much, but Stinhurst isn't actually Gowan's father. At the end of the episode he's not looking forward to having to tell Elizabeth that he actually wasn't her brother after all.
- True Companions: When a rather remorseful Lynley contemplates resignation, Havers is quick to talk him out of it. Her stance is very clear: "You resign, I resign." They go to drown their sorrows together.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but on the drive up, Havers snarks that "you won't catch me [getting naked onscreen]!" Lynley's response is, of all things, to look Havers up and down and remark, "Shame!" Find your partner attractive, do you, Lynley?
- Was It All a Lie?: Poor Sir Stuart. He has to be wondering at the end whether the only woman he ever loved exploited him shamelessly by making him believe that he was her son's father.
- What Have I Done: Lynley has one of these moments at the end of the episode when he realises that not only has he been suspecting the wrong man, but also that he now risks losing Helen's friendship altogether.