I was an avid fan of Elizabeth George (even though they aren’t Cozy Mysteries) when I first attempted to watch the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, a British police procedural mystery show. Because I had read all of the novels, and felt I “knew” George’s well-defined main characters, I could not embrace this BBC television series when I first tried watching it. (It originally aired 2001-2007.)
My favorite Elizabeth George character was Sergeant Barbara Havers – a very unattractive, over-weight, socially inept police detective who wore too-tight clothes, and could not keep her opinions to herself. She was brusque, to the point of being rude, but an incredibly quick learner and an incredibly astute detective. Although she was terse and opinionated, she also had a more tender, giving side to her personality, which George was able to show every time Havers interacted with her little neighbor.
I felt that the Inspector Lynley Mysteries took all of George’s well-defined, complex characters and tossed them aside… This television mystery series had a classical beauty portraying Sgt. Barbara Havers. They had this beautiful actress wear an over-sized pea coat & no make-up. Yikes! I would have thought this was a North American production rather than a British one. (I had pictured an unattractive, overweight actress playing Barbara Havers >>> certainly not svelte Sharon Small without makeup!)
My husband decided he wanted to watch the Inspector Lynley Mysteries series. Once he convinced me to look at the series as if it was NOT based on the Elizabeth George mysteries I enjoyed so much, I actually enjoyed the shows! I found myself looking forward to the next time we would be able to watch one!
Nathaniel Parker (aristocratic police inspector) and Sharon Small (blue collar Havers) were perfect in their roles. (Remember, I am no longer basing them on Elizabeth George‘s very complex, three-dimensional characters!)
As with the Elizabeth George mysteries, this made-for-television series is gritty. It is not a series that you would want to watch with children. It is also not a Cozy series, so don’t watch it if you don’t want to see graphic violence!
Again, once I was able to divorce the Inspector Lynley Mysteries television series from Elizabeth George’s mystery books, I enjoyed the shows. I am sure I would have watched them when they originally aired on PBS had they titled them something like “The Inspector Smith Mysteries” and had not mentioned Elizabeth George as the author.
If you would like to see more TV & Movies entries, here is the link to that page on my Cozy Mystery site: TV and Movies page,
*** This series is available on Netflix.