Phyllida Law (Vicky Jeffreys), David Ryall (Paul Jeffreys)
While out on his beat (actually this means his jeep, these are the rugged Highlands after all) Hamish meets a recent settler in Lochdub. None other than the famous pulp fiction (westerns!) writer Paul Jeffreys (played magnificently by David Ryall) though his nom de plum is another, of course.
It turns out he is fishing and enjoying the scenery and basically staying well out of the way of his wife Vicky. Vicky has displayed some peculiar behaviour later, trying to out-scot and even out-gaelic every local inhabitant.
This has not endeared her to them, to put it mildly.
Vicky is played in turns with wonderful energy, sobriety, and subtlety by Phyllida Law. And both when she is overdoing her Scots act or almost completely bereft of expression regarding the immense love she feels for her husband but she mistakenly feels is no longer requited she is always compelling in her performance.
There are the usual storylines running alongside the main one - usually so Hamish can be seen to have some police work to do - but even there they cross the major plotline in this episode.
Which has a happy ending of sorts. Forget the "of sorts". It has a happy ending. After ealing with threatened masculinity in a marriage and a whole community threatened by an interfering outsider the forgiving tone prevails. Not the lighter tone, because Vicky has redeemed herself in both cases by going through a scare - a big one, which leads her to try to understand why she was giving priority to some superficial things over more fundamental issues in her life.
Almost a contemporary morality play, in fact. Except her spirit is never truly broken and there is no hint of divine intervention showing people the errors of their ways. People do that quite well on their own.
Just as the exceptional good actors who guest star in this episode, the "regulars" have some important things going on in their lives. From Hamish to Isobel to the Doctor. Even about Wee Jock's temperament we get to know more...
Top-notch acting and a location to die for (the real life villages of Plockton and Kyle of Lochalsh on the west coast of Scotland opposite the Isle of Skye - just in case you feel like ever checking out how the real thing compares with its fictional sister, and no nobody is paying me to say this it's just since I saw Hamish I've been wanting to go there myself). And hey presto! Another priceless episode of this saga of life in the contemporary Highlands. Remote, harsh, but so real you can almost taste the salty winds blowing in from the Atlantic.
Yes, I'm hooked.moreless