A Suitable Vengeance

Nathaniel Parker .... Det. Insp. Thomas Lynley
Sharon Small .... Det. Sgt. Barbara Havers
Lesley Vickerage .... Helen Clyde
Gabrielle Drake .... Lady Asherton
Peter Egan .... Dr. Trenarrow
Matthew Goode .... Peter Lynley
John Duttine .... John Penellin
Sam Cox .... D.I. Boscombe
Dominic Mafham .... Justin Brooke (as Dominic Matham)
Claire Cox .... Sidney
Oliver Dimsdale .... Mark Penellin
Mali Harries .... Nancy
Nicholas Burns .... Mick Cambrey
Olivia Poulet .... Sasha
Olivia Darnley .... Cecily
Luke Healy .... Jack
Frances Jeater .... Lady Bracknell
Miles Richardson .... Algernon/Vicar
Susie Trayling .... Gwendoline/Vicar's wife
Gail Kemp .... Nurse
Karl Picton .... Dying patient

Directed by Edward Bennett
Written by Valerie Windsor, based on a novel by Elizabeth George
First Broadcast on BBC One March 24, 2003


Lynley and Havers return to Howenstowe near the Cornish village of Nanrunnel, the stately home of the Earls of Asherton (Thomas Lynley is the 8th Earl) to celebrate his engagement to Helen. Lynley's hostility toward his mother and her relationship with Dr Trenarrow is clearly evident from the outset. This private anguish dates back to when Lynley was seventeen and his father was dying of cancer. Whilst his father lay on his deathbed the young Tommy Lynley found his mother and Dr Trenarrow having sex. The experience has obviously scarred him, and he is still brimming with resentment.

As they settle into Howenstowe the house fills up with guests for the engagement party, including Havers, Lynley's younger brother Peter, his cousin Sidney and her boyfriend Justin Brooke. Whilst everyone attends the village play Mick Canbury is found murdered. As he is the son-in-law of John Pennellin, Howenstowe's estate manager, this immediately draws Lynley and Havers into the investigation. Drugs - pharmaceuticals as well as the illegal kind - are at the centre of this mystery. Lynley's brother Peter, the deceased Mick Canbury, Justin Brooke and even the good Dr Trenarrow are all involved in drugs, and each of them could be implicit to the centre of the mystery.

Lynley goes through many extreme emotions in this episode, and his joy at becoming engaged to Helen is the very least of them. He shows extreme grief at the end of the episode, but predominantly we see a lot of old, unresolved pain over his mother's infidelity. Both Helen and his brother Peter express it really well; Peter calls it 'your precious moment of angst', whilst Helen observes 'the last time we came here you behaved like a tortured adolescent'. Harsh though Helen's words are, she sums up his (understandable) behaviour perfectly. This is most evident in a scene where Lynley (beautifully dressed for dinner) walks into a room and discovers his mother and Dr Trenarrow kissing. He ducks out of the room and wedges himself into a corner behind the door, and from the anguished and cross expression on his face he could be seventeen again!

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