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Lynley seeks the help of profiler Helen Clyde when he investigates the asphyxiation death of superstar cricketer with a dysfunctional personal life.



(novel), (screenplay)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Clare Swinburne ...
Gabriella Patten
Mark Brighton ...
Kenneth Waring
Inspector Ardery
Ruth Gemmell ...
Jeannie Waring
William Scott-Masson ...
Miriam Whitelaw
Joe Duttine ...
Chris Faraday
Olivia Whitelaw
Curtis Flowers ...
Jimmy Waring
Peter Crawford ...
Andrew Clover ...
Hugh Patten


When England cricketer Kenneth Waring dies of asphyxiation after a fire is set at a friend's house, the police have no doubt they are dealing with murder. The house belonged to Waring's patron and close friend Miriam Whitelaw who had a visitor the evening Waring died, her estranged daughter Olivia. Waring was separated from his wife Jeannie and had recently given her divorce papers. As well, his lover and agent Gabriella Patten, the ex-wife of a cricket teammate, has gone missing. Miriam had recently been attacked by animal rights activists which, unbeknown to her, included her daughter. When Waring's son confesses to the murder, Lynley has his doubts. Lynley decides they need a profiler on the case and not surprisingly hires Helen Clyde for the job but things don't go very well. Havers moves into her new flat. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

10 March 2003 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Thomas Lynley: Helen, I have respect for you on every level, but this is a murder case. It's not about us.
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User Reviews

very good
6 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Nathaniel Parker and Sharon Small star as Inspector Lynley and his associate Barbara Havers in "Playing for the Ashes," the first episode in the second year of this popular series.

Having seen many of the later episodes, I found the relationship between Lynley and Havers more genial and lighthearted, with Lynley in a better mood than he is later on when all his real problems with Helen start. Here, they're just in the predating stage and he doesn't realize what he's in for yet. Never liked that character.

The two are called upon to investigate the death of a cricket champion, beloved by many both personally and professionally. There's his foster mother (Phyllis Logan of "Lovejoy"), his ex-wife, his manager, and his foster mother's daughter Olivia (Neve McIntosh), all of whom adored him. Olivia is mixed up with an animal rights group whose m.o. is similar to the way the cricket player was murdered.

As usual, there are personal issues for both the detectives: Lynley and his attempts to draw Helen into a relationship, and Havers has moved into a new place.

Very good episode.

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