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Recap / Inspector Lynley S 03 E 04 If Wishes Were Horses

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Havers: [about guarding the unconscious Helen] Sir, maybe you could get someone else to stand guard tomorrow?
Lynley: Yes, I could. But...there is no one I trust as much as you.
Havers: What, even after today?
Lynley: Especially after today. And I'm... I'm sorry.

Professor Dermot Finnegan is killed by a car bomb soon after giving damning evidence against Lizzie Shakespeare, a woman who had pleaded diminished responsibility for killing her husband on the grounds of the battered woman syndrome. Lynley and Helen attend his funeral, since Finnegan and Helen had worked together on a case 16 years earlier. Helen, who is on maternity leave, decides to help Lynley with the investigation. She suspects that the murderer is among those who had suffered from Finnegan's expert evidence at court cases. The principal suspects include Lizzie Shakespeare's father, Noel, who has been relentlessly campaigning to free his daughter, and Peter Stephanopoulos, an ex-convict whose wife had left him for Finnegan, and with whom Noel had been in contact in the weeks prior to Finnegan's murder.


In the meantime, Finnegan's ex-wife, Maureen, invites herself to stay with his widow, Grace, until the will is read. Maureen excludes other friends from Grace's company, in particular Grace's long-time confidant and advisor Dr. Tessa Jellicoe. Maureen tries to persuade Grace to admit that Finnegan was a philanderer and wife-beater.

The investigation turns into a personal tragedy for Lynley when Helen is seriously injured in an attack against her and loses the baby. He and Havers give all they have to bring the individual responsible to justice. But will their "all" be enough?



  • Adult Fear: A whole cavalcade of them.
    • Lynley has to cope with Helen's accident - which cruelly ends all their dreams for their unborn child.
    • Then Helen leaves him to cope with the grief alone.
    • And if Lynley was hoping to find some solace in his work, his partner gets shot in the stomach.
  • Asshole Victim: Finnegan was a wife-beater, a ladies' man and clearly had a problem empathizing with long-suffering women.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Invoked by Lynley after Helen's miscarriage. When Helen had first told him about her pregnancy, he hadn't welcomed the news because he wasn't ready for fatherhood. Now he feels that he is being punished for his earlier feelings.
  • The Confidant: Once again, it is clear that when Lynley needs to get something off his chest, he instinctively chooses to confide in Barbara, not Helen.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Just when you think that nothing worse could happen to Lynley, note  bang! Havers gets shot in the stomach.
  • Downer Ending: More like rock-bottom ending.
  • External Combustion: There's Finnigan getting into his car. He's starting the ignition...BOOM.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Havers places herself in the line of the bullet in order to save the killer from an angry victim.
  • Hurting Hero: Lynley, more in this episode than in any other. The poor man's life is one disaster after another.
  • Ironic Echo: The tearjerking moment when a passer-by whom Lynley assisted tells him that she is planning to name her newborn "Abigail". Earlier, Lynley and Helen had spent hours discussing baby names for their future child, whom they have now lost.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Havers' euphemism backfires when she asks Maureen if Dermot Finnegan had been "seeing" Grace during their marriage.
  • Not So Stoic: This episode shows us exactly what it takes to really make Thomas Lynley break.
  • The Only One I Trust: Barbara, for Lynley — see the page quote.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Dr. Tessa Jellicoe.
  • Say My Name: When Barbara is shot, all Lynley can do is desperately say her name.
  • Taking the Bullet: Barbara. Lynley doesn't take it well.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Havers' innocent "Thanks for last night, sir" to Lynley makes her colleague DC Turner smirk.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Lynley's default expression for most of the episode after Helen's accident.
  • Trauma Conga Line: What this episode puts Lynley through in particular. But the final two minutes brings Barbara in on the act.
  • Wham Episode: Oh dear Lord yes. See: all of the above. Not only that, it completely changes the dynamic of the whole cast.

Example of: