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Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators is a comedy-drama mystery television series set in Stratford-upon-Avon and chock-full of Shakespearean themes.

Francis "Frank" Hathaway is an ex-Detective Inspector turned private investigator. He meets hairdresser Luella Shakespeare when she hires Frank to investigate her fiancé's shady activities and eventual murder at their wedding reception. After they work together to clear Luella of any involvement, Luella joins Frank's business. Aided by Frank's assistant, struggling RADA-trained actor Sebastian Brudenell, Frank and Luella solve various crimes in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Contains examples of:

  • #1 Dime:
    • In "Ill Met By Moonlight", an aristocrat's daughter runs away and tries to pawn her mother's "priceless" necklace to get enough money to join her father in Spain. The necklace turns out to be a worthless gimcrack, but to her mother it was priceless because it was a gift from the father, a working-class man who couldn't afford anything else.
    • In "This Cursed Hand", the paintings turn out to be this. They are in fact drawings done by the Russian oligarch's now-deceased five-year-old son.
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: A very literal example kills the missing person in "Nothing Will Come of Nothing".
  • Accidental Murder: In "Hunger for Bread", the murder occurs because the Victim of the Week makes the mistake of antagonizing his cleaning woman, whom he has been feeding a designer drug similar to speed without her knowledge. (It Makes Sense in Context.) The interaction of the designer drug with her regular medication causes her to snap into a violent and beat his brains out with a dumbbell. She then blacks out and doesn't remember any of her actions.
  • Action Prologue: The Season Three premiere, "How The Rogue Roar'd" features a Flash Back from Frank's Glory Days as a Detective Inspector, coordinating a SWAT team storming an armed robber's hideout.
    Frank: [first lines of the season] All firearms teams: strike, strike, strike!
  • All Abusers Are Male: The show has a few episodes dealing with Domestic Abuse.
    • Played Straight by "This Promised End", where a wife leads her husband to believe he will be killed because of his abuse.
    • Subverted in "The Fairest Show Means Most Deceit", where the husband is being physically abused by his wife and burned with cigarettes because he's a Crossdresser.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The victim in "This Cursed Hand" gets his hand cut off by the murderers after death.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • In "Ill Met By Moonlight", an aristocratic lady had an affair with her groundskeeper and kept his identity a secret from their daughter. The father believed that the lady just regarded their affair as a summer fling and was on the verge of moving away to Spain forever, but changes his mind when he realizes that the "priceless" necklace that she offered £10,000 to Lu and Frank to recover was the cheap costume jewelry piece he gave her nineteen years ago, which she never threw away. He decides to stay in England and have a go at being a family with their daughter.
    • In "This Cursed Hand", a Russian oligarch's vengeful ex-wife comes to England hoping to get a share of his trove of priceless stolen art. But the super-secure vault he was keeping turns out to be full of keepsakes from their five-year-old son, who died twenty-six years ago. It turns out that they were both inconsolable with grief, and pushed each other away rather than face it together, but seeing the artwork convinces them to attempt a reconciliation.
    • In "Too Cold For Hell", Frank, Billy the Brick, and DS Keeler are all trapped in a refrigerated shipping container, slowly freezing to death. Keeler starts to berate Billy for being a worthless criminal, causing Frank to hotly speak up and say that Billy may be no angel, but he's done better than could have been expected considering that the deck was stacked against him from the day he was born (to a junkie who passed her addiction on to him). Billy warmly says he's always thought of Frank as a surrogate dad. Keeler scoffs, but Frank puts a fatherly hand on Billy's.
      • After he is rescued, Lu (who was ticked off about an earlier remark of Frank's that Billy repeated to her) hugs him warmly.
    • In the Season Four finale, "I No More Desire A Rose", Frank is sulking because Luella has made plans to spend Christmas in sunny Florida while he has no plans and no one to spend the holiday with. She is looking forward to it so much that she admits she doesn't know when, or if, she will be coming back. But once she realizes how Frank feels, she postpones her flight until after New Year's Day so they and Sebastian can celebrate Christmas together.
  • Backup Twin: In "This Cursed Hand", the Russian oligarch has one, and as a result was Alive All Along.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The LARPers in "The Play's the Thing", especially the Queen.
  • Ball Cannon: In "The Envious Court", Frank and Lu chase the villain across a tennis court. The villain grabs a tennis ball launcher and fires it at them. Frank initially laughs it off, until the speedometer on the launcher gooses up to 90 mph, forcing him and Lu to take cover.
  • The Beard: What Lady Bede reveals she was to her Arranged Marriage husband in "Ill Met By Moonlight". Her teenaged daughter Mia had no idea that he wasn't her real father until his Deathbed Confession.
  • Bedmate Reveal: At the end of "Ill Met by Moonlight", Spider (a No Social Skills hacker Frank sometimes employs) is shown waking up next to the high-class girl he had been trying to pull at the ball the previous night. However, the true reveal occurs when the girl's ex-boyfriend rises from the other side of Spider; equally naked and looking thoroughly confused as to what is going on.
  • The Bet: In "In My Memory Lock'd", Frank and Lu's argument about identifying their amnesiac client leads to a bet that she can successfully disguise herself to him. He rumbles her first two attempts, but she gets him in the end.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Attempted in "This Cursed Hand", when the Victim of the Week's hand is cut off, since it is believed that the man's palmprint will open his ultra-secure vault. Problems arise when the villains realize that the target is still alive and the man they killed and mutilated was his deadbeat brother.
  • Camp Gay: Sebastian, although so far the evidence for his sexual orientation is only second-hand. He also frequently falls into Only Sane Man territory when compared to his employers.
  • Celebrity Paradox: An unusual example. Despite Shakespeare's life and works being central to the story, no-one comments on the coincidence of Frank and Lu having the same surnames as the playwright and his wife, or the people involved in their cases sharing their names with Shakespearean characters. An exchange in the fourth season reveals that Frank doesn't even know who Anne Hathaway was.
  • Classically-Trained Extra: Literally in the case of Sebastian. He is a RADA trained actor, but his current acting career consists of bit parts in commericals and being an extra in Shakespeare productions.
  • Clear My Name: A common predicament for Shakespeare and Hathaway:
    • In "O Brave New World", Luella Shakespeare is framed for the murder of her new husband. She teams up with private investigator Frank Hathaway to clear her name, and ends up becoming his new partner.
    • Also found in "Toil and Trouble", which is Lu's first encounter with Frank's old informant, Billy the Brick;
    • They also have a tendency to make this the case even if they aren't hired to do it, such as in "No More Cakes and Ale", where they're hired to track down a missing criminal and instead try to clear his name;
    • In "The Offered Fallacy", they have to clear themselves when a pair of con artists are impersonating them and ripping off various townspeople.
  • Convenient Escape Boat: Played for Laughs in "The Rascal Cook", where the killer flees from Frank and Lu by jumping into a swan pedal boat that is on the bank and pedalling out on to the Avon River. Frank and Lu commandeer another pedal boat and pursue, resulting in a Low-Speed Chase.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: In "The Rascal Cook", a poisoned chef collapses in the pantry. He uses his dying strength to dip his finger in some foodstuff and write the word "Sorry" on the wall.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: Deirdre, Alban's housekeeper and cook in "Die We Must", looks like Mrs Danvers, runs the house with a rod of iron, and keeps referring to Lu and Frank as 'unbidden intruders', Lu forgives her because she is an excellent baker.
  • Enhance Button: In "O Thou Invisible Spirit of Wine", they are able to have a blurry night vision photograph enhanced to the point that a signet ring can be clearly seen on a finger.
  • Faked Kidnapping: In "Ill Met by Moonlight", the daughter of a local aristocrat disappears (along with a priceless heirloom necklace). Although Frank and Lou initially treat this a runaway case, the girl's bloody hoodie turns up accompanied by a ransom note demanding £50,000; leaving Frank and Lu wondering if this is a genuine kidnapping or a fake. It's a fake. The girl is attempting to raise cash so she can run away and join her real father.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Sebastian is a RADA-trained actor who is working as Frank's receptionist and secretary while keeping his acting dreams alive by appearing as a spear-carrier in plays and doing bit parts in commercials.
    • Frank himself used to be a well-regarded Detective Inspector with the Arden CID, until he was forced to take early retirement; his agency is struggling when Lu approaches him in "O Brave New World", which is why he's willing to reverse his usual policy against "extra-marital" cases.
  • Frame-Up: In "Time Decays", the murderer frames Frank for the murder: testing the Victim of the Week from Frank's phone, wearing Frank's trainers to leave his footprints at the crime scene, and beating the victim to death with Frank's walking pole, which also had Frank's blood on it.
  • Funny Background Event: in 'This Rough Magic', Sebastian describes a failed case from an identity thief whose sister thought he was dead.
  • Gardening-Variety Weapon: In "The Envious Court", the groundsman at the tennis club threatens Sebastian with a gardening fork when Sebastian discovers the burning aconite.
  • Genius Slob: A downplayed example with Frank, he's scruffy and untidy but not to extreme levels. He even cuts his long hair between series 2-3.
  • Gilded Cage: Tim, the dog who inherited his devoted owner's entire fortune, is waited on hand and foot in the owner's mansion, but the administrator of the local animal shelter insists Tim is miserable, because he isn't allowed the freedom to roam and play, or contact with any other dogs. The estate's lawyer agrees with her, which is why they conspire to fake Tim's death and have him be adopted by a normal family.
  • Gilligan Cut: Appear frequently, usually involving Sebastian in his latest disguise for going undercover.
  • Grief-Induced Split: The Russian oligarch's treasure in "This Cursed Hand" is revealed to be drawings made by his son who died at age five. He and his ex-wife couldn't face their grief together and went their separate ways.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: At the conclusion of "Some Cupid Kills", the killer is about to smash a bottle of wine over the head of Frank and Lu's client Pollie Grisham when they are caught by Frank, Lu and Sebastian.
  • Heel Realization:
    • In "In My Memory Lock'd", a multi-millionaire hotelier has amnesia and Lu and Frank have to help him find the truth about himself. He went undercover in his own hotel, learning that his manager was embezzling. What seems like a noble endeavor turns sour when he then learns that he tried to blackmail the manager's young daughter into sleeping with him. After recovering his memory, he confesses to the hotel staff that he really doesn't like the man he used to be, and thanks the detectives for helping him to realize that he still has some better instincts in him.
    • Odette in "Reputation, Reputation, Reputation" tries to make amends with her former best friend after every one of her friends and employees walks out on her for being an Alpha Bitch.
    • In "Best Beware My Sting", energy company owner Mr. Minola decides to go green and hire the environmentalist group that was protesting against him as consultants, after his own daughter tried to frame the group leader for murder just to preserve his bottom line.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: "Outrageous Fortune" reveals just about everybody in the main cast to be one, including the "villains", who were actually trying to spare the dog living in luxury to which he was poorly-suited and miserable. Gloria even adopts a new dog by the end of the episode, after the death of her own dog. Lu always wanted a dog.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Sebastian, especially noticeable through The Power of Acting that he uses in the cases.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: In "The Envious Court", Lu's mother is engaged to the owner of a country club. When the owner's granddaughter calls Genevieve a "floozy", Lu objects that only she is allowed to insult her mother (who's been giving her grief the whole episode).
  • I Know Madden Kombat: In "The Envious Court", the villain attacks Frank and Lu with a tennis ball launcher. Lu uses a tennis racquet to smash a ball back at her; slamming her in the bridge of her nose and knocking her down.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episode titles are based upon quotes from Shakespeare plays.
  • Impairment Shot: In "The Envious Court", a tennis player is poisoned with aconite. A shot from his POV show his vison blurring and the world looking yellow: both symptoms of aconite poisoning.
  • I Read It for the Articles: Inverted in "Ill Met By Moonlight", Frank fails, twice, to remember the password to gain entry to Spider's houseboat, so he throws up his hands and threatens to tell Spider's mother "what you look at online!" Spider opens the door, but says, "she'd be relieved. She thinks I'm looking at naughty pictures."
  • Intoxication Ensues:
    • In "The Chameleon's Dish", Lu drinks a cup of tea intended for her client. The tea has been spiked with magic mushrooms and Lu winds up tripping: commenting on the beautiful blues and greens of Frank's face and his cute nose, and is talking to a fairy she thinks is perched on her hand.
    • Also happens in "Ill Met by Moonlight", after a missing daughter spikes her mother's drink during a wild party.
    • In "Hunger for Bread", a weight loss class is getting spectacular results by giving their clients biscuits laced with a designer drug. This causes the clients (including Lu's sister) to start suffering the effects of drug addiction including mood swings and violent outbursts.
  • Jerkass: DS Joe Keeler through and through.
  • Large Ham: Any episode involving acting, especially Shakespearean acting, will have these. Certain examples are the LARPers in "The Play's the Thing", the White-Dwarf Starlet actor in "This Cursed Hand", and Sally in "Exit, Pursued by a Bear". Sebastian is a very downplayed example as most people find him very believable when he goes undercover. When he's actually acting, his hammier side can come out. There's even a character called Harold Hamworthy in one episode!
  • LARP: "The Play's The Thing" involves Frank, Lu and Sebastian going undercover at a LARP to get evidence of a cheating spouse, only to end up investigating an attempted murder.
  • Laughing Gas: In one Cold Open that flashed back to Frank's time as a cop, he lets himself be taken hostage in an ambulance by an armed robber, and when his captor's head is turned, he discreetly opens a tank of nitrous oxide, flooding the ambulance with enough gas that it gives Frank an opening to grab the robber's gun. He and the robber then exit the ambulance, both doubling over in laughter.
  • Low-Speed Chase: In "The Rascal Cook", the killer flees from Frank and Lu by jumping into a swan pedal boat and pedalling out on to the Avon River. Frank and Lu commandeer another pedal boat and pursue.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Frank and Lu are this in spades, and act more like a couple than business partners. In "Too Cold For Hell", they even play the roles of a couple going through a divorce, and their bickering is so believable that their "mark" never questions that they're married. Doesn't hurt that their namesakes William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway were husband and wife.
  • Master of Disguise: Sebastian, crossing over heavily with The Power of Acting. He wears an extreme costume at least Once an Episode.
  • Meaningful Name: This trope is used constantly, though the most blatant example is Harold HAM-worthy, a Large Ham out of work actor who hams it up for all it's worth.
  • Meta Casting: Usually with a Shakespearean theme. For instance, black actor Ray Fearon plays the angry ex-soldier in "The Play's the Thing", and has played Othello. (Though, like Timothy West who plays a Cool Old Guy called and based on Falstaff, he's also done many other Shakespeares, like Julius Caesar and Macbeth.)
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot:
    • In "Too Cold For Hell", Frank and Lu's search for a young couple's belongings stolen by a fraudulent moving company ends up netting a notorious international mobster and his £3 million stash of uncut diamonds.
    • In "O Thou Invisible Spirit Of Wine", Frank is mortified at being hired to investigate a suspected haunting in a local pub. At the end of the case, they've solved a murder, helped two feuding families to bury the hatchet, and ensured that the pub will remain in its owners' hands. Shortly after Frank takes a victory lap around DS Keeler, Lu takes her own victory lap around Frank, who is forced to admit that the case wasn't a total waste of time. The fact that the pub owners have promised them a hefty commission on top of their usual fee and a free drink leaves him unable to say anything else.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: The intention of one killer in "The Fairest Show Means Most Deceit" is to kill her boyfriend's married lover. Somewhat subverted in that her accomplice, the husband, doesn't seem too bothered about her infidelity, as he hates her for abusing him.
  • My Beloved Smother: We see Lu's mother Genevieve in "O Brave New World", and she is constantly critical and sour, insulting her daughter's appearance at her own wedding. In "The Envious Court", she disapproves of Lu's career as a PI.
  • Mystery Magnet: Frank and Lu are private investigators, so they expect to run into mysteries, but the number of times their investigations go from investigating small things such as potential cheating spouses and possible faked disability claims to full-blown murder mysteries is astonishing.
  • Named After Somebody Famous / Theme Naming: other than the examples in the title, Christina Marlowe's name doubles as a Punny Name, because she is Hathaway and Shakespeare's main rival and enemy on the police force. Almost constantly in the guest cast: Bardolph, a feisty elderly man named Falstaff, and a manipulative solicitor called Shylock are some examples.
  • Not Me This Time: In "Toil and Trouble", one of Frank's old informants is accused of murder, but he responds with this. Frank believes him and eventually proves his innocence.
  • Not So Above It All: In "If Music Be The Food Of Love", DS Keeler is investigating a death at a ballroom dancing school. When someone turns on the stereo, he takes a few steps and throws in a twirl, when he thinks no one is watching. Sebastian is, and Frank and Lu needle Keeler about it unmercifully.
    Sebastian: Don't mind me...
    Keeler: Out!
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon:
    • In "Exit, Pursued by a Bear", someone laces the poison chalice in a production of Romeo and Juliet with actual poison in an attempt to kill the actress playing Juliet.
    • In "The Play's The Thing", two LARPers are shot by real arrows disguised as fake ones.
  • Obfuscating Disability: In "The Fairest Show Means Most Deceit", Shakespeare and Hathaway are hired to investigate an employee who is suspected of faking an injury as part of a workers' compensation scam. Later, the employee uses the fake injury to establish an alibi while she murders her boss.
  • Parenting the Husband: Though not a romantic couple, Lu & Frank's relationship has light shades of this. Especially when Lu notes they've talked about Frank 'tidying yourself up a bit', which is a very domestic discussion for business partners to have.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: In "The Envious Court", the murderer is acting to avert this.
  • Pet Heir: Deconstructed to an extent in "Outrageous Fortune." A wealthy misanthrope leaves his entire fortune to his dog, who is cared for by a massive ensemble of professionals within an opulent mansion. The dog in question is kidnapped for ransom and apparently killed. Only, it turns out that the dognappers had actually faked the dog's death because they knew that the dog was miserable living in the Gilded Cage of the mansion and they wanted the dog to live a life better suited for him. Once this is uncovered, the dognappers wind up being Let Off By The Detectives.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: In a very obvious crossover with Pink Means Feminine, as Lu wears very prominent pink colours and has lots of pink possessions, like her blanket and coat in "Outrageous Fortune". Frank wears a lot of blue, but they tend to be very downplayed greys and navy. Sebastian also tends to wear a lot of blue, but much brighter than Frank's.
  • The Power of Acting: Sebastian. He's RADA-trained so it's thoroughly justified. He needs to go undercover usually Once an Episode. It proves especially helpful in "The Fairest Show Means Most Deceit", where he discovers that the dead woman physically abused her husband while undercover as a Drag Queen, and finds physical evidence after pretending to be a plumber to get into his co-conspirator's house.
  • Punk in the Trunk: In "Most Wicked Speed", Lu is caught sneaking around Portia Dane's garage. Attempting to justify her presence, she pulls the cover off what she thinks is the Mistress Quickly, only to disover it actually conceals Reece Alonso's car. Surprised, she asks if Alonso's car is here, then where is Alonso, and thumps on the boot. The thump is met by an answering knock and she discoverers Alonso locked in the boot of his own car.
  • Put on a Bus: DI Marlowe after Season 2.
  • Rail Enthusiast: In "And Rarest Parts", Frank and Luella are employed by lottery winner Leroy King, who is convinced his son Arty, who died 5 years earlier in a trainspotting accident, is haunting him. Sebastian goes undercover as a trainspotter, and gets bitten by the trainspotting bug.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Christina Marlowe is an Ice Queen, but she's also this, even as she's nearly always put in a position to be proven wrong by Lu and Frank (such as in "Toil and Trouble", where she believes Billy is guilty, and "The Fairest Show Means Most Deceit", when she arrests the wrong man.) In "No More Cakes and Ale", Frank instantly agrees that she would never commit police corruption, and she often listens (albeit irritably) to Frank's ideas, even though he's not a police officer anymore.
    • After Marlowe's departure between Seasons 2 and 3, her role is fulfilled by Keeler's subordinate, PC Viola Deacon, who does her best within the law to give Lu and Frank a sympathetic ear.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Lu is blue to Frank's red; in a role reversal, Frank is blue to Christina's red.
  • Role Called: Names and occupation given in the title.
  • Sauna of Death: In "The Envious Court", Luella's mother is lured into a sauna and locked in by the killer. Lu only arrives just in time to save her.
  • Scary Black Man: "The Play's the Thing", where, in reference to Othello, a charming black man is in fact responsible for the accidental death of one of his fellow soldiers and covers it up. He's not the killer, but he's still extremely aggressive and attempts to imprison Lu.
  • Serious Business: In "Outrageous Fortune", a shipping millionaire left his entire estate to his faithful dog, who is now attended upon by an entourage of assistants, including a professional animal physical therapist, and a professional pet stylist. Frank's expression as these persons explain their professions indicates that he's about to have a stroke from keeping his You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! reaction concealed.
  • Ship Tease: Sebastian and Viola.
  • Sleepwalking: In "The Chameleon's Dish", Frank and Lu's attempts to establish their client's innocence are complicated by the fact that he was found sleepwalking near the Body of the Week, and that earlier that night he attempted to strangle someone in his sleep.
  • So Proud of You: Lu's mother Genevieve, after spending most of the first two seasons disapproving of her daughter's new career as a P.I. (not least because she thinks Lu is just a filing clerk that Frank is humoring by calling her his partner), Genevieve finally says this in "The Envious Court" after Lu saves her life, catches the culprit, and recovers Genevieve's life savings.
  • Spit Take:
    • In the Cold Open to Season Two's "The Offered Fallacy", Keeler is handed a new case: a pair of con artists working over the area. He looks at the artist's sketch of the perpetrators, sees the faces of Frank and Lu, and sprays his coffee all over his desk.
    • In Season Four's "Some Cupid Kills", Frank is on the phone to Sebastian and tells him that Dalton Morley was poisoned by ethylene glycol in a red wine called Bard's Brew. Sebastian realises that he is drinking that exact red wine and spits out the mouthful he currently has.
  • Take That!: In "The Rascal Cook", Sebastian compares being asked to watch four hours of their hidden camera footage for clues a second time to be almost as awful as being asked to watch the American version of Hell's Kitchen.
  • Taking the Heat: Frank did this for Christina in their backstories.
  • Talks Like a Simile: In "Most Wicked Speed", Joe Venice, the L.A.-based Private Investigator who hires Frank and Lu to complete his investigation after he is arrested, always talks like he is providing his own Private Eye Monologue.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink:
    • In "The Rascal Cook", a restaurant is sabotaged when the soup is spiked with syrup of ipecac. Later, the chef is murdered by being served a poisoned cup of coffee.
    • In "Some Cupid Kills", the Victim of the Week dies after drinking red wine spiked with ethylene glycol.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: The Victim of the Week in "The Chameleon's Dish" is a school counselor who was having an affair with one of her students.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Gloria runs a costume store, and all the dressers we see at the theatre in "The Play's the Thing" are women.
  • Twin Switch: Unintentionally done in "This Cursed Hand."
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: DS Joe Keeler after the departure of Reasonable Authority Figure DI Marlowe at the end of Season 2.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: In "The Rascal Cook", the killer flees from Frank and Lu by jumping into a swan pedal boat and pedalling out on to the Avon River. Frank and Lu commandeer another pedal boat and pursue.
  • Undercover as Lovers: In "The Chameleon's Dish", Frank and Lu go to silent retreat to keep their surveillance on their client for a weekend, only to find their client has booked them in as newlyweds. They also briefly pretend to be lovers in "Exit, Pursued by a Bear".
  • Unishment: In "If It Be Man's Work", Spider finally works up the nerve to declare his love for his boss, Helena; she tells him that she has one chance to steer the company in the right direction after her predecessor's arrest for murder, and an Office Romance would be strictly forbidden - which is why she's firing him on the spot and telling him to get out of the office and home in time to meet her for drinks that evening. Spider couldn't be happier.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Justified. Sebastian lives with Gloria, who runs a costume store. While his work wardrobe is less variable, she lends him costumes for any occasions where he needs to dress up.
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: In "Ill Met by Moonlight", the hostess of a fancy charity ball has her drink spiked. This causes the alcohol to have a much greater effect than it normally would have and makes her roaringly drunk on a single glass of champagne, with the criminals using her drunken antics as a distraction.
  • Uptown Girl: Lady Bede is this to her gardener, whom she still loves, in "Ill Met by Moonlight".
  • Waistcoat of Style: Sebastian wears them whenever he's not in costume and/or acting.
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: In "The Fairest Show Means Most Deceit", the team discover that one of their suspects has been visiting a transvestite bar. Sebastian goes in undercover to gain the man's confidence. Averts most of the trope, as the bar is just an ordinary pub whose clientele happens to be men dressed as women.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: At least once a season to a Shakespeare play.
    • 'Toil And Trouble' opens on a meeting between three older women, who are members of a group that calls itself HAGS and is trying to protect the habitat of an endangered newt. The murder victim is a town mayor named Duncan Rexler, and the murderer is the mistress of the mayor's second-in-command, who wants to see him become mayor himself. There's also a passing reference to a wood being relocated to make room for a housing development.
    • In 'The Chameleon's Dish', Frank and Lu attend a retreat called Wittenberg Manor to help an unstable young man named Hamish. It turns out that the plot in question is a reference to Hamlet. His 'father' was killed by his new stepfather and real father, Rex, whose name means "king".
    • In 'Ill Met By Moonlight', the client is Lady Tania of Thessaly Hall, who hires them to find her daughter Mia. Mia has a best friend named Helen, who fancies Mia's boyfriend Dimitri, but Mia is more interested in a young man named Lee Sandridge. Meanwhile, Lady Tania has had a bit of a falling out with her loyal groundskeeper Ron. The story climaxes at Lady Tania's End of Summer Ball, where the servers are dressed as fairies. Ron spikes Lady Tania's drink at the ball, which results in her making a pass at Frank. (There's also a silhouette of a man with a donkey's head projected on a screen in the background.)
    • In 'In My Memory Lock'd', a multi-millionaire hotelier has amnesia and Lu and Frank have to help him find the truth about himself. He went undercover in his own hotel, learning that his workers were committing fraud, and tried to extort the manager's daughter into having sex with him, like Measure for Measure.
    • In "Best Beware My Sting", The Taming of the Shrew gets remade with an aggressive, violent environmentalist as Kate, a spoiled Daddy's Girl as Bianca, and both are daughters to an energy tycoon.
  • Widowed at the Wedding:
    • "O Brave New World" has Luella Shakespeare's new husband being murdered at their wedding. When the husband is exposed as a Con Man, Lu becomes the chief suspect. She teams with private investigator Frank Hathaway to prove her innocence.
    • Bianca Minola in "Best Beware My Sting"; she and her new husband are kidnapped between the ceremony and their wedding reception, and he is killed while they are trying to escape their kidnappers. At least that's what it looks like...
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: In "This Cursed Hand", everyone is looking for a locked vault with what are believed to be very valuable paintings owned by a Russian oligarch. Turns out these are in fact paintings done by his son, who died as a child twenty-six years ago.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In "The Play's The Thing" Katie shoots herself in the leg with an arrow to frame Maggie for murder.
  • You, Get Me Coffee: In "Die We Must", D.S. Keller arrives at the crime scene, details one of the constables to watch the suspects, and then tells Viola, who was the one who reported the crime in the first place, to get him a cup of tea.
  • You Killed My Father: A recurring motive, notably in 'This Rough Magic' (though the killer accidentally kills the intended target's wife), and in 'The Chimes at Midnight'.
  • Your Son All Along: A gender-flipped example in "Ill Met by Moonlight", Lady Bede had an Arranged Marriage that became a Sexless Marriage to escape her tyrannical parents. She was impregnated with her daughter by the gardener, who remained unsuspecting and worked with her family for years.


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