As a consequence of her actions in the previous episode, Havers is demoted to the rank of detective constable. She feels betrayed to learn that it was Lynley who recommended her demotion.
Lynley is sent to Manchester to help investigate the double murder of Nicola Maiden and Gerry Cole, who were bludgeoned to death while they were out camping. Nicola's father, retired Superintendent Andy Maiden, believes that his daughter's killer must be one of the criminals he had helped put away during his career. Nicola's boyfriend, Julian Brittons, seems to be in denial over the fact that their relationship was over, and might have been jealous of her camping out with Cole. As for Nicola herself, she had recently dropped out of college and taken up employment with a PR firm, run by a man called Martin Reeve. Nicola had been flatting expensively with another young woman called Vi Nevin, paying rent that should be way beyond her official income.
Lynley brings Havers up to Manchester to go through the files of Andy Maiden's past cases, and also to keep a close watch on her to avoid her getting into further trouble. It doesn't work, because Havers feels that Lynley and the local police are on the wrong track - she wants to focus on Gerry Cole and his relationship with Tony Eastman, a student whose ID card was found on Cole's body. Nicola's ex-tutor at college, Dr. Gavin Webster - who is about to publish a book - informs Havers that Tony Eastman was a brilliant student who has been dead for two years. Before his death, Gerry was heard saying that he was being looked after by Tony from beyond the grave.
In the meantime, Havers' disobedience of Lynley's express instructions frustrates Lynley and starts jeopardizing their friendship, if not her career.
- Adaptational Sexuality: Gerry Cole is clearly identified as gay, while he was described as asexual in the novel.
- Adaptation Deviation: In the book, Lynley does not initially support Havers' actions from the previous story, and it is Webberly (a vastly different character from his television incarnation), not Lynley, who had fought to keep Havers from being fired. In fact, Lynley is one of the least supportive characters toward Havers throughout the novel, to the point at which Helen becomes angry at him for his unforgiving attitude. He doesn't get over this until the end of the book, when a mistake he believes he made causes him to rethink Havers' decision from the previous book. In the adaptation, by contrast, Havers' belief that Lynley betrayed her is largely a misunderstanding, he specifically asks for her help, and his attitude toward her results more from his concerns about her not upsetting the higher-ups.
- Armour-Piercing Question: When Nan Maiden asks Lynley, "Do you talk to your wife?", Lynley pauses a bit before answering "I call her every night." One can only wonder what made him hesitate before replying...may be that he trusts Havers with his thoughts more than Helen?
- Artistic Licence: As long as Havers is a Detective something, irrespective of whether she is Detective Sergeant or Detective Constable, she shouldn't have to wear a uniform. The only reason for her having to wear the uniform seems to a directorial wish to Break the Cutie.
- this might be seen as a hint towards Webberley's dislike of Havers (see No Good Deed goes unpunished below); i.e. he's ordering her back into uniform regardless of regs, knowing that in her current delicate position she won't dare protest... perhaps in an effort to drive her into resigning. After all, it was implied back in the pilot that he partnered her with Lynley in order to do just that.
- Crime After Crime: The string of murders was intended to cover-up for a case of plagiarism.
- Dude, Where's My Reward?: Havers feels incredibly hard-done-by when she can't report to Webberley, despite being the one who solves the case. To make it worse, DS Hanken ends up taking the credit for her hard work.
- Et Tu, Brute?: What Havers feels when she learns that it was Lynley who recommended her demotion. Perfectly legitimate, given what she knows — it's what she doesn't know that's going to make her feel like an idiot in about an episode.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: Lynley is uncharacteristically harsh to the villain, despite the villain already suffering a Villainous Breakdown.Gavin Webster: [crying] I just...I just wanted to make my wife proud.Lynley: [contemptuously] Three murders? She must be very proud.
- Love Martyr: Nan Maiden has a policy of keeping bad news to herself to let her husband have the happiest home environment possible. That's her secret to the success of their marriage. It is implied that this makes Lynley wonder what the dynamics are in his marriage with Helen.
- Lover and Beloved: It's never spelt out, but Gavin Webster and Tony Eastman's relationship went along these lines. However, it must have seemed platonic enough for Gavin's wife to take it at face value.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The reason Havers shot a flare at a superior officer (a DCI, no less) in the past episode was to get her away from the yacht's controls so that they could save Hadiyya (if not Lynley) from drowning. DSI Webberley entirely ignores the reasons and smacks her down a rank for her actions. In hindsight, it seems he really didn't like her, especially if one considers how quickly DSI Hillier reinstated Havers after Webberley's death.
- Parenting the Husband: The subtext is that Joanne Webster subconsciously looks out for her husband the same way she looks out for her children. This explains why Gavin goes to such lengths to get her approval.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Billy Slavin, who is introduced in this episode.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: DS Hanken. Contrast his behaviour to Lynley with his behaviour to Havers, Billy and pretty much any subordinate, and you will understand just why Havers is left fuming at the end.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Gavin Webster.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Averted by every single one of Havers' superiors for this episode, including Lynley to some extent.
- Rebellious Spirit: Havers establishes herself as one in this episode. She simply will not follow orders - neither Lynley's, nor anyone else's - if she thinks there is something better that she could be doing.
- Subordinate Excuse: Lynley really wants Havers on his team, and has no problem cheerfully fudging the truth to get her.
- Woman Scorned: Beware Samantha Blair: she will play the Wounded Gazelle Gambit if she has to.