Career Of Evil: Part I
Written by Tom Edge
Directed by Charles Sturridge
Adapted from the book by Robert Galbraith
The Case: The Mysterious Severed Leg
Robin gives Strike a lift to meet a new client at a building on High Street. Teenager Kelsey Platt heads to the same place. Once inside, she is suddenly taken by an unknown man.
At the office, Robin receives a disturbing delivery: a severed leg. It comes with a note featuring the lyrics to “Career of Evil,” a Blue Öyster Cult song. Strike recognizes it right away since his mother had the lyrics tattooed on her stomach, and Blue Öyster Cult was her favorite band.
Potential suspects for sending the leg include Niall Brockbank, former British Army officer Donald Laing, and Jeff Whittaker, the abusive second husband of Strike’s mother. Strike got Laing arrested for beating his wife, and he believes Whittaker killed his mom, but the Brockbank case is what still really stays with him. When he was an investigating officer, Strike worked a case involving Brittany Brockbank, a teen who had scars similar to those on the severed leg. Brittany was interviewed by police about accusations that her father was raping her, but she denied the allegations when Brockbank threatened to cut off her legs. During Brockbank’s arrest, he and Strike got into a physical altercation that caused long-term health problems for Brockbank.
Matthew is worried about Robin’s safety, and believes Strike is going to use her vulnerability to make a move. Robin reminds Matthew he has platonic friendships too, citing their friend Sarah. With a guilty expression, Matthew admits he and Sarah had an affair in college.
Robin distracts herself by tailing a stripper who might have ties to Brockbank. She ignores calls from Matthew and Strike. Concerned, Strike tracks her down at a bar. Robin tells him she was attacked during college. Her evidence sent the man to prison for rape and attempted murder, but she could no longer handle school and went to live with her parents. During that period, Matthew cheated on her.
Strike drops a drunk Robin off at an expensive hotel: “Call it a wedding cancellation present.” Outside, he notices someone following them and pursues the stalker. Unable to keep up, Strike loses him and returns home to find the paparazzi outside. Bad press over the leg has lost Strike business.
Detective Wardle and his partner have surveillance footage that places Strike at the Kelsey Platt crime scene. Strike thought he was meeting a new client there but was stood up. When he called the client, he unknowingly dialed Kelsey’s number. The leg is confirmed to be Kelsey’s.
Robin and Strike drive to Barrow in search of Brockbank. Robin pretends she’s a lawyer and tracks down Brockbank’s sister, Holly. She blames Brockbank’s encounter with Strike for their family woes.
At a hotel that night, Strike pops over to Robin’s room to tell her he’s located Laing’s ex-girlfriend, Lorraine. Lorraine says Laing robbed her and was never seen again, and notes psoriatic arthritis made it difficult for him to move around.
Strike catches up with Whittaker who is with a much younger woman. He attempts to help the girl, but it’s no use.
Assuming the role of her alter ego, Robin calls Brockbank. She hears the voice of a child over the phone. Brockbank asks if he knows Robin, calling her “little girl,” and hangs up.
Wardle and his partner arrive at Strike’s to show him pictures of Kelsey. The papers show an image of the girl and Strike together, and suggest he is involved with her death.