Know Thine Enemy

 

 

 

 

 

Cast
Nathaniel Parker .... Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley
Sharon Small .... Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers
Paul Hickey .... Stuart Lafferty
Kit Jackson .... Patrick Middleton
DC Winston Nkata .... Shaun Parkes
Michael Feast …. Asst. Commissioner Evans
James D’Arcy .... Guy Thompson
Honeysuckle Weeks .... Tania Thompson
Mark Bonnar .... DC Ed Harvey
Barbara Wilshere …. Anna Stevens
Joel Dommett …. Josh Tyler
Robin Kermode …. Tony Stevens
Eleanor Gecks …. Kelly Stevens
Lorraine Stanley …. Maggie
David Earl …. George
Nicholas Gecks …. Mike Thompson
Kate Miles …. Kate Myers


Directed by Graham Theakston
Written by Ed Whitmore based on the characters by Elizabeth George
Premiered on TV station Seven (Australia) June 16th, 2007

Plot

Sarah Middleton, a teenage schoolgirl is found dead in a lake. The girl vanished over two weeks ago, the post mortem indicates sexual abuse. Sarah was held captive and obviously tried to escape but in the end she killed herself out of desperation.

Lynley and Havers don’t have much to go on, except for an unknown red-headed female witness someone saw talking to Sarah shortly before her disappearance. They are looking for this woman by starting a public appeal. Meanwhile another girl is reported missing. Kelly Stevens, another adolescent girl is missing for about 12 hours, she did not come home the night before. She was a few things on her records like shoplifting and she’s known for failing to come home a few times, so no-one really takes that report seriously, except for Lynley. He asks Winston Nkata to keep him updated on that case.

Lynley and Havers pay Kelly’s mother Anna a visit. She’s a single working mother, trying to keep her daughter under control. She admits that she does have trouble doing that and that there have been some disputes over her daughter’s conduct. Tony, Kelly’s father left his family a year ago to start a new life with his younger secretary. Anna suggests that Kelly failed to come home, because she knew that she was far too late. Because of expected trouble she’d probably slept somewhere else. Anna doesn’t know if she has a boyfriend or not nor where she might have been that night. A search through Kelly’s e-mails brings up a possible male friend called Josh.

Josh is a 21 year old man who makes his money as a DJ. When asked if he knows anything about Kelly’s whereabouts he admits that she called him the night before but that he didn’t talk to her, he had to work. He only checked his answerphone this very morning. She left him a message, saying that her mom threw her out and that she’s got nowhere left to go. Kelly’s parents appear at Lynley’s office. He confronts Anna with Kelly’s desperate call to Josh. The estranged husband upbraids his ex-wife. She in return accuses him of leaving her to it all and that she needed to show who the boss is. Yes, she told Kelly to stick to her rules or else she’d please leave her house. Kelly ran off in a rage. All in all this situation appears quite embarrassing for Lynley, he tries to calm down both sides. Anna briefs Lynley that Kelly is diabetic and that she needs her insulin, else she’d fall into a coma in the foreseeable future.

Kelly’s way by bus to Josh’s flat has been recorded by CCTV. Lynley starts a house to house in the surrounding of Josh’s flat. His boss Evans wants him to pull that but fortunately an eyewitness to the abduction of Kelly has already been found. She saw Kelly talking to a couple, obviously they used a map to lure her to their car, asking for directions. Again the red-headed woman was present. Havers takes a closer look at the site were it all happened and she finds a single shoe. Anna recognizes that shoe as Kelly’s.

At the same time Winston is at the site of crime – his team is able to find the cover of a street-map. They are hoping for fingerprints on that. Also while Winston is there a seemingly old acquaintance steps up to him, asking him some questions. Winston is willing to answer. The very next morning Lynley reads all the details on the Kelly case in a newspaper. He confronts Winston Nkata who denies having said anything substantial to that man. Lynley’s boss Evans is furious about the press-leak, but Lynley has already calmed down. He wants to use that glitch to provoke the kidnappers who appear to work as a couple. The whole situation might prove useful to drive a wedge between the senior and junior crime partner.

Evans agrees and he makes a TV announcement, addressing the female (junior) partner, the red-headed woman, to step forward and help the diabetic girl, who if she doesn’t get medical treatment quite soon might just die. They are trying to make the woman change the sides. Havers isn’t convinced that a woman who in her eyes is forced by some brutal male partner might even dare thinking about becoming disloyal. Havers take on that woman is that she is forced to take part in these crimes and that she’s abused and under high pressure. To Havers she seems more like another victim. Lynley gives out order to observe all domestic violence crimes that are reported via hospitals or police stations. Havers thinks that Kelly is in even more danger now with the broadcast of Evan’s message than she was before. Lynley and Havers differ a great deal on how to go on and how the criminals will react next.

A red-haired Tania Thompson is reported as a possible victim of domestic violence. Havers rushes off to talk to her while she’s still at the hospital. Tania denies that her husband Guy has anything to do with her wounds and bruises. She claims that she’s been falling down the stairs. Havers doesn’t accept that explanation. Tania isn’t quite consistent in her statements, she shows signs of a typical victim of domestic violence.

Lynley and his colleague are already on their observation position in front of Guy’s home. They check his records only to find that he’s been officially accused of violent behaviour towards women twice. So he’s got a history and they are following him to a book singing and lecture hour. Havers notices that Tania’s wrists indicate a possible suicide attempt. Still Tania refuses Havers’ help. At least Havers was able to secretly take a sample of her fingerprints that are now being run against the street-map’s samples.

During Guy’s presentation on how to succeed in a competitive business world, he explains his philosophy. Only by breaking the rules one is able to overstep the lines that usually avoid real success. It’s all about winning the upper-hand, in other words: It’s all about power over others. Meanwhile Lafferty confirms a match for Tania’s fingerprints and the ones on the map.

Still Lynley follows Guy, but after a short while he loses him. He gives out a call for an urgent stop and search. Guy’s car is actually being stopped and he gets arrested for domestic violence. The Thompson estate is being recorded from outside with a special camera that indicates if a warm body is in there or not – no sign of the victim yet.

Guy who’s now in police custody doesn’t get it why such a fuss is being made out of a harmless quarrel with his wife. As he’s confronted with similar reproaches from his past he agrees that he needs a therapy and that he’s willing to change. Winston Nkata is being send to interview one of Guy’s former girlfriends (Kate) who once accused him of violent behaviour. Lynley doesn’t believe Guy’s attempts to show remorse. He suspects that Guy’s a very manipulative psychopath and has to be treated as such. As Winston talks to Kate she gives her view on Guy. He’s not just a control freak. She thinks that he’s actually a sadist who sees his fun in overcoming the will of his women. The most erotic words in the English language to him are NO and STOP.

While Guy is being questioned by Lynley he denies any knowledge on the whereabouts of his wife Tania, he suspects that she might be at her parents’. He’s playing the concerned husband right now. Kate his ex-girlfriend has something else to tell. Guy comes from a broken up family. His father had an affair and an illegitimate son. His mother was an alcoholic. When it came to the big spilt-up in the family Guy beat up his mom because in his eyes it was all her fault. He wasn’t mommy’s boy... Guy’s mother died a few months after that. Back at the police station Guy’s allowed a call home. Havers secretly overhears his talk with Tania in which he makes her say that she’ll stand by her man until the end.

Kelly’s time is running out, she basically doesn’t have much more than a day before she’ll fall into a dangerous coma. Winston is back and talks to Lynley. The only person that might be able to get under Guy’s skin is his father. They are trying to find him and make him talk to his son.

Just now Guy’s being confronted with the map and he’s asked where he hides Kelly. Surely Guy denies any knowledge about the case. The map had been stolen, a few days ago someone broke into his car. The eyewitness of Kelly’s abduction fails to identify Guy. Finally Lynley finds a good reason to get a search warrant for the Thompson estate. While the search is conducted Lynley presses hard on Tania to tell him where Kelly is. He’s very aggressive, quite the wrong way to go as far as Havers is concerned. She takes over and tries to convince Tania in a milder way to start talking. Gradually Havers succeeds in winning Tania’s trust, but still she doesn’t admit that they have something to do with it all.

The results are thin, but their house search proves that Tania did look up info on Diabetes on the internet and that she recorded Evan’s public plea to help Kelly. Tania is very obedient towards her husband, a letter to him proves that. She calls him “master”. It becomes more and more obvious that the couple has something to do with the disappearance of Kelly. Mike Thompson finally turns up at the police station. In the beginning of his talk to Lynley he refuses to help accusing his son of “things he didn’t do”. But after Lynley provokes him with his knowledge about the family’s history, Mike agrees to get his son to confess. The father-son meeting doesn’t lead to a confession. Quite the contrary. Now Guy’s even more stubborn and convinced that his father is a weak person. Guy relishes in his seemingly power over everybody. The monster is in full control, his fantasy of his omnipotence is complete.

Havers is still trying to make Tania talk and after a dramatic scene she admits that she knows Kelly’s whereabouts. Lynley is able to rescue Kelly – she is alive and physically alright, but she is in deep shock. The police team is having a small party on their successful work, but Havers doesn’t feel like celebrating. Kelly is at the hospital and doesn’t remember who raped her, she had been drugged. She starts to panic whenever a man is approaching her.

The diverting views on Tania’s role in this sick game now start to become a real problem between Havers and Lynley. Havers tends to say that she was a sort-of-victim that needs to have a special bonus during her trial. Lynley says that he thinks she is as mad and psychopathic as Guy is. They have an argument about this question and Lynley starts to set up yet another psychological trap for Guy. He confronts him with the fact that it was actually his devoted Tania who betrayed his trust by telling them where Kelly was. Guy gets mad and accuses Tania of killing Sarah out of pure jealousy. She wanted it all to happen and she’s not a poor helpless victim.

Havers still isn’t quite convinced, she believes that Guy is now trying to drag Tania into his deeds and making her pay for his crimes. Now the detective game is on again. Lynley starts to investigate in Brighton where the couple met and lived before they moved to London. What he finds are four unsolved rape crimes during their time there. One victim stated that the rape was filmed and that the crimes were done with the help of a woman. After a small talk with Tania, Havers gets suspicious – Tania shows some strange over-jealous symptoms. She recognizes the mad woman Guy described in his last statement. Tania’s parents also tell her that a cousin of Tania died during a birthday party for Guy at their home. It dawns on her that Lynley might be right about Tania’s role in those crimes. Lynley and Havers decide to set up yet another trap. Both know that they taped literally everything that was important to them - now they suspect that they might have taped their crimes as well.

Havers pays Tania one last visit only to tell her that Guy started talking and that he said he got proof on her sick role that cannot be denied by Tania. She leaves her and shortly after Tania thinks she’s gone, she rushes off to her own home. She leads Lynley and Havers to the hiding-place of the rape tapes. They are able to arrest her and to save the tapes from being destroyed. All of the couple’s victims have been taped.

In the final scenes Lynley and Havers examine the tapes and are deeply shocked by the cold-blooded way the partners perpetrated their crimes and with how little empathy for their victims they celebrated their “victories” and their “partnership”. Obviously both have huge problems coping with what they just saw. It’s more than disgust, it’s sheer terror. Both part after they reconciled over their arguments on this case.

Review

Finally The Inspector Lynley Mysteries "grew up" if you don't mind me saying this. No cosy crime solving any longer. Lynley finally being a confidant Chief Inspector worthy of his title. He does things the way he thinks they’re OK. No romantic sub-plot, all is down to the nitty-gritty. The sub-soap-opera plot is literally not there. This is all about the crime and the crime-soling itself. It’s all about the two people who abduct young teenage girls, they way they interact and what makes them tick. The really scary thing is to see how steely these two are, how cold and inhuman they act, just to have their way of “fun”.

In the end the viewer sits there just like Lynley and Havers, completely non-understanding how a human being can be like that. But it’s even more. It’s said more than once: just because one of them is a woman this doesn’t mean that she not as bloody guilty as the man. This one is about our false way of thinking: a woman has to have at least some bit of compassion in herself – well wrong: this one hasn’t. Both are psychopaths and they act purely according to their own desires and wishes.

What a story it is. Extremely close to possible and known crimes, very haunting, very disturbing and very real. The Inspector Lynley Mysteries isn't pure fun entertainment any longer - and I agree completely: Well done! It proves that this series is capable of more. Unfortunately when it all boils down to 90 minutes the writer has to choose but one thing on what to concentrate on in a script. Either you’re shedding a light on the crime or the detectives and their personal stuff. The who-dunnit isn’t the interesting part in this one. The question is how-to-prove-it? How does one get about splitting up this couple from hell? This one is a psychological game of changing perspectives, of thinking the morally wrong way and of staring sexual abuse in all its atrocity right into its ugly face. There are no heroes in this, not even Lynley who’s been yelled out of Kelly’s hospital room because he in her eyes is yet another potential rapist.

All I can say is: this is it, this is what a possible further development of this series could look like. Absolutely stringent script writing, very convincing, forceful and compellent. The characters matured a great deal over the last two specials - way to go... Lynley's no prince charming and Havers isn't the starry-eyed "hoping to have a romance with Lynley" girlie any more.

Sharon Small and Nat show a great deal of courage to take on with this kind of issue. They are *extremely* brave and *absolutely* fantastic. Both did a brilliant job in this one. More than ever: Hats off!

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