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Payment in Blood 

After a playwright changes dialogue in her play just days before its opening, she is found brutally stabbed with other murders to follow.


Kim Flitcroft


Elizabeth George (novel), Lizzie Mickery (screenplay)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James McAvoy ... Gowan Ross
Naomi Frederick Naomi Frederick ... Elizabeth
Ronald Pickup ... Sir Stuart Stinhurst
Yvonne O'Grady ... Joy
Jonathan Firth ... Rhys Davies Jones
Camilla Power ... Joanna Sydeham
Idris Elba ... Robert Gabriel
Julian Wadham ... David Sydeham
Sharon Small ... Barbara Havers
Nathaniel Parker ... Thomas Lynley
Don Gallagher Don Gallagher ... Inspector Macaskin
Gary Cross Gary Cross ... Sergeant Lonan
Lesley Vickerage ... Helen Clyde
Ravin J. Ganatra Ravin J. Ganatra ... Forensic Pathologist
Ron Donachie ... John Ross


Inspector Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) and Sergeant Havers (Sharon Small) are sent to a remote Scottish mansion house, the home of Sir Stuart Stinhurst (Ronald Pickup), to investigate the violent death of a famous playwright whilst she was helping to rehearse a production of her new play. Initial investigation reveals that practically anybody could have committed the crime but everybody appears to have a convincing alibi and nobody has a motive. As the investigation continues an apparent nearby suicide begins to have a bearing on the case and Lynley believes that is wasn't suicide. The arrival of a new guest, Helen Clyde (Lesley Vickerage), a former girlfriend of Lynley's who is now a lover of one of the main suspects starts to cloud his judgement and raise Havers' suspicions. As the real motives begin to appear and the dark pasts of some of the guests are revealed will Lynley catch the double murderer? Written by Mark Smith <msmith@osi.co.uk>

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Release Date:

7 September 2003 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


Barbara Havers: You resign, I resign.
Thomas Lynley: That's absurd. Why, for heaven's sake?
Barbara Havers: Well, do you want the truth?
Thomas Lynley: Yes!
Barbara Havers: No one else would work with me.
Thomas Lynley: This is you being nice to me, isn't it?
Barbara Havers: Yeah.
Barbara Havers: Shall we hit the pub?
See more »

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User Reviews

Burned Script
10 August 2006 | by tedgSee all my reviews

This is the second Lynley I've seen, and the first that introduces the future love interest, Helen.

Now that I've seen several of these, I've gotten over the upset that the experiment in the books — that rather bold inversion of the detective role — has been completely flattened and replaced by a long-extant BBC template.

That inversion has us examining the detectives, by episodes discovering more and more about them. The mysteries exist in the books, but only as a series of events for us to reveal the inner depths of these folks and their situations.

Here, they are the standard: confusingly complex, undetectable if you try and wrapped up in clean knots by the end.

As with all BBC series, the creative crew is different for each episode which means some are good — on their own terms — and some bad.

This is a bad one. Its paced all wrong. The cinematic storytelling is muffed.

There is a core that's interesting, from the book. What we see is a BBC, wherein a murder takes place that involves and is prompted by a play. Suggested changes in the script suggest insight into a previous murder and prompt more.

Its a simple fold, perhaps the most common in detective fiction. Unfortunately, in the book it is not handled as elegantly as is usual, and the peccadilloes of the players and others are irrelevant.

As with all George's stories, the main sweep is one of complex fathering and lost children. All the components in George's work are fueled by black forces. Its not my thing after one. But here you have many of the motions without the demons. So its all watered down.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.

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