DI Thomas Lynley – Nathaniel Parker


Suave detective Thomas Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) comes from distinguished stock. The posh cop, who drives around in a flash Bristol 410 car, is the 8th Earl of Asherton.

Lynley firmly believes in old-fashioned values. “He’s very honest, he’s very moral, and he’s got a fantastic sense of manners and decorum,” reveals actor Nathaniel Parker. “Now, that can ostracise people and make them think that he’s snooty but, at the same time, he’s one of those guys whom it’s very difficult to dislike. He’s not saying that he’s always right but what he is saying is that he knows the difference between right and wrong.”

“Lynley’s someone who listens and understands people and it’s been one of his traits as a copper that he can get all elements of society to talk to him.”

He and his partner in crime solving, the working class DC Havers (Sharon Small), are, on the surface, as mis-matched a pair as you could get.

“Everyone thought that the partnership would be the break of them,” admits Nathaniel, “But, in fact, they are a very well-matched duo. Although they come from completely different angles of society, they both have that attitude of calling a spade a spade and both like getting in there and getting dirty.”

Over the course of the series we’ve also been given an insight into Lynley’s personal life. In the pilot episode, A Great Deliverance, he was devastated when the woman he loved married his best pal. In later series, he turned to old friend Helen (Lesley Vickerage) for comfort, and soon discovered there was a fine line between friends and lovers. In the 2003 story, A Suitable Vengeance, the pair married. But the couple were hit by tragedy in the 2004 story, If Wishes Were Horses, when Helen’s car is shot at and their baby dies.

Lynley faced further trauma in the 2005 series. As well as being separated from Helen, he ended up being arrested and suspended for threatening a suspect.

DS Barbara Havers – Sharon Small


Despite her working-class roots, Barbara Havers (Sharon Small) has turned out to be the perfect foil for her suave colleague Inspector Lynley.

“Having a bad haircut is the worst thing about playing Havers,” says her alter-ego, Scottish actress Sharon Small, “It really gets on my nerves. When I want to go out, I can’t do anything with it!

Over the years, it’s become clear that her dodgy hair and drab wardrobe are emblems of an even more bedraggled soul. “What I found interesting in the character in the first place was that she was difficult,” reveals Sharon, “She has a lot of problems interacting with her work colleagues, she has problems with authority and she can be a right pain in the arse!”

Havers’ career took a knock when she was demoted from Detective Sergeant to Detective Constable, after firing a flare gun at a colleague. She blamed Lynley for not taking her side, leading to an antagonistic atmosphere between them. But he was quick to involve her in his cases, proving that there’s still plenty of life in their partnership.