The Inspector Lynley Mysteries

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The Inspector Lynley Mysteries
Starring Nathaniel Parker
Sharon Small
Lesley Vickerage
Catherine Russell
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 23
Running time 90 minutes
Original network BBC One
Original release 12 March 2001 – 1 June 2008

The Inspector Lynley Mysteries is a series of BBC television programmes about Detective Inspector Thomas "Tommy" Lynley, 8th Earl of Asherton (Nathaniel Parker) of Scotland Yard and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers (Sharon Small). In addition to the tensions involved in solving murder cases, the series thrives on the characters' clashes regarding personality, gender, and class, as Lynley is dapper, male and a peer of the realm, while Havers is untidy, female and comes from a working-class background.

All episodes from the first two series and two from the third are based on novels by the American writer Elizabeth George, though the plots and characters are often significantly altered. Later episodes are original stories for television based on her characters. The theme music is by Debbie Wiseman. The first broadcasts were 12 and 13 March 2001, the pilot episode A Great Deliverance, based on and named after the inaugural Inspector Lynley novel. The first episode in series one aired 8 April 2002, based on and named after the third novel, Well-Schooled in Murder (1990).

In August 2007, the BBC announced its intention to stop production of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. Fans of the series mounted a campaign to save the series with a petition and contacts to the BBC.

In the first episode, Lynley drove a Peugeot 607; in series 1 and 2 he drove a Jensen Interceptor, and in later episodes a Bristol 410. Despite the frequently recurring remark in PBS Mystery! presenter Diana Rigg's introductions to the series that Lynley "is the one with the Bentley", he never drove a Bentley on TV. (He does, however, in the George novels.)

Exterior shots were filmed at the Bircham Dyson Bell solicitors offices on Broadway, central London.[relevant? ] In the pilot episode the character of Helen was played by Emma Fielding; later she was portrayed by Lesley Vickerage (10 episodes) and, as Lynley's wife, by Catherine Russell (4 episodes).

Episode list[edit]

The first 11 of 23 episodes were based on, and named after, those eleven Inspector Lynley novels published from 1988 to 2001, beginning with the inaugural novel A Great Deliverance (1988) but subsequently departing from the print sequence. (Eight more novels have been published to 2015.)

  • A Great Deliverance (12 March and 13 March 2001)
Series 1
  • Well-Schooled in Murder (8 April 2002)
  • Payment in Blood (15 April 2002)
  • For the Sake of Elena (22 April 2002)
  • Missing Joseph (29 April 2002)
Series 2
  • Playing for the Ashes (10 March 2003)
  • In the Presence of the Enemy (17 March 2003)
  • A Suitable Vengeance (24 March 2003)
  • Deception on His Mind (31 March 2003)
Series 3
  • In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (4 March 2004)
  • A Traitor to Memory (11 March 2004)

Beginning in the middle of series 3, episodes were based on original stories written for television.

  • A Cry for Justice (18 March 2004)
  • If Wishes were Horses (22 March 2004)
Series 4
  • In Divine Proportion (17 March 2005)
  • In The Guise of Death (24 March 2005)
  • The Seed Of Cunning (31 March 2005)
  • Word Of God (7 April 2005)
Series 5
  • Natural Causes (20 July 2006) - filmed at Dungeness in Kent[1]
  • One Guilty Deed (27 July 2006)
  • Chinese Walls (3 August 2006)
  • In The Blink Of An Eye (10 August 2006)
Series 6
  • Limbo (2007) broadcast postponed, but was broadcast on BBC One: 8.15-9.45 pm 25 May 2008 (BBC Entertainment: 11 November 2007)
  • Know Thine Enemy (16 June 2007) broadcast postponed, but was broadcast on BBC One: 8.00-9.30 pm 1 June 2008 (BBC Entertainment: 18 November 2007)

Regular cast[edit]

Actor Role
Nathaniel Parker DI Thomas Lynley
Sharon Small DS Barbara Havers
Emma Fielding/Lesley Vickerage/Catherine Russell Helen Clyde/Lynley

Guest cast[edit]

Guest cast includes: Bill Nighy, Jemma Redgrave, James McAvoy, Kari Corbett, Phyllis Logan, Pippa Haywood, Richard Armitage, Samantha Bond, Honeysuckle Weeks, Stella Gonet, Neve McIntosh, Gabrielle Drake, Caroline Hayes, Mary Stockley, Henry Cavill, Idris Elba, Indira Varma, Isabella Calthorpe, Saskia Reeves, Roger Allam, Claudie Blakley, Simone Bendix, Jenny Agutter, Brendan Coyle, Burn Gorman and Ruth Gemmell.

International broadcasts[edit]

United States: All episodes were broadcast on PBS from 2002 to 2008. A Great Deliverance was broadcast on the series Mystery! in two parts as Inspector Lynley I on 19 and 26 August 2002. Series 1 was shown on Mystery! as Inspector Lynley II on 31 August and 7, 14, and 21 September 2003. Series 2 was shown on Mystery! as Inspector Lynley III on 5, 12, 19, and 26 September 2004, and was rebroadcast on 14, 21, 28 August, and 4 September 2005. Series 3 was shown on Mystery! as Inspector Lynley IV on 26 June and 3, 10, and 17 July 2005. Series 4 was shown on Mystery! as Inspector Lynley V on 10, 17, 24 September, and 1 October 2006. Episodes 3 and 4 of series 4 were rebroadcast on 26 August and 2 September 2007. Series 5 was shown on Mystery! as Inspector Lynley VI on 9 and 16 September and 7 and 14 October 2007. Episode 4 was the final broadcast of Mystery! before WGBH retooled the classic anthology series, along with Masterpiece Theatre, into Masterpiece. Series 5 was rebroadcast on the new series Masterpiece Mystery! on 24 and 31 August and 7 and 14 September 2008. The final Series 6 was shown on Masterpiece Mystery! as Inspector Lynley VII on 10 and 17 August 2008.

Canada: In December 2014, Knowledge Network began broadcasting Series 1 in Canada.


The complete Series are available on DVD in Germany [Edel] and the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland and most continental European countries except Germany, distributed by Acorn Media UK.


External links[edit]