St. Stephen's College, Cambridge: Elena Weaver, a young deaf student, is strangled to death during her morning jog. Why anyone should kill her is a mystery, until it emerges that Elena led a promiscuous lifestyle and was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of her death; the father could be one of a number of men who want to protect their reputation.
Lynley and Havers investigate, but not free of their own personal concerns: Lynley is still unsure about where he wants to be in his relationship with Helen, and Havers is finding it increasingly difficult to take care of her mother, who suffers from dementia. In the meantime, it seems that Elena's killer won't stop at anything to protect his or her identity - including murdering the inadvertent witness to the event.
- Animal Metaphor: When Barbara takes her mother to to the asylum, there is a programme on TV about how pet animals dumped at the shelter wait to be taken by a new owner. It becomes clear that Barbara draws a parallel between the poor, unwanted dogs and her mother whom she's about to leave at the asylum.
- Bury Your Gays: Averted. Both halves of the lesbian couple survive to the end of the episode - in fact, the reason one survives is that she's gone home to come out to her family, so another jogger is killed instead.
- Dramatic Irony: "Have you seen one good, loving, halfway selfless relationship since you've been here?" Cue the viewer screaming in frustration, "Well there's yours with Barbara, moron!!"
- Friendship Moment: Lynley unhesitatingly postpones starting work on a case to help Barbara look for her mentally-ill mother.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Invoked by Havers as she tries to find a suitable euphemism to note that a suspect stripped down in her presence.Havers: How shall I phrase that in my notes, sir? Would "hung" and "donkey" cover it?
- If I Can't Have You...: This is why Sarah Gordon killed Elena — she was frustrated at Philip's reluctance to leave his family.
- Actually, its a lot more meta than that; problem is, they dont show it in the TV adaptation. If you read the book, it comes across as far more Greek Tragedy in fact, given that Elena is a variation of Helen (Helen Of Troy), George might very well have chosen the name in order to evoke that very mood . Sarah Gordon spent years (given her age, possibly decades) tormented by personal doubt and crippling Artists block, never sure whether she had more Hype than Talent. It was Weaver who convinced her that she had worth as an artist after all; the painting she made for him was the culmination of years of catharsis, gratitude and love. She regarded it as her greatest work, of her entire life. Then Julia Weaver found out about the affair and (justifiably) went ballistic. As a way of severing their relationship, she forced Phillip to vandalize the painting in front of Sarah (you can see the damage when Lynley and Havers get Helens sister to x-ray the painting). The way Sarah saw it, Phillip destroyed the greatest thing she ever created, so she destroyed the greatest thing Phillip created his child. We see several scenes that hint around the edges of this (especially the scene that shows the vandalized painting), and Cheri Lunghi was definitely a skilled enough actress to portray it effectively, so I can only assume the scenes were cut for time.
- It's All About Me: Philip Weaver, Elena's father. He is called out on this by his present and former wives as well as his lover, Sarah Gordon, who blames Elena's death on this trait.
- Joggers Find Death: Elena is killed while out jogging. A second jogger notices her killer. Later, a third jogger is killed after being mistaken for the jogger who noticed the killer.
- Modesty Towel: Lynley emerges in one from the bathroom, much to Havers' discomfiture.
- Never One Murder: Unsurprisingly.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: Havers is tempted to say this to Lynley during the Modesty Towel scene, but stops herself mid-sentence.
- Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Philip Weaver watches a video recording of his deceased daughter over and over again in a bid to get over his guilt at being mortified by her deafness.
- Shirtless Scene: Lynley gets one. Nobody's complaining (other than Havers), that's for sure.
- Speak Ill of the Dead: During the investigation, several people reveal the unflattering aspects of Elena's character. In the words of her own stepmother, Elena was "a promiscuous little slut."
- mind you, Elena really does come across as a fairly major bitch to everyone except her adoring mother and lesbian room-mate (and pet mouse). Given the way Elena treated the people around her, particularly men, (she did her best to conceive a deaf baby as part of a campaign to hurt her father; she seduced a deaf friend to conceive the baby, ditched him without a qualm and had no intention of telling him; then seduced a professor at the university into marrying her - presumably as a means of support)the most surprising twist of the story is that she isn't killed by one of the men she's used and discarded.
- Wicked Stepmother: Played With. Justine was clearly not too fond of Elena but she had no issue with Elena's disability, unlike Elena's father, Philip.