Good to see you

The changes in the city leave Robbie floundering; the familiar things only emphasize his loss. It's not until he spots the good doctor that something seems to come into focus.

She knows him. That, he decides, is what makes the difference. Knows him as something other than an aging has-been, approaching retirement. Knows him as an individual, rather than as the leftover half of Robbie-and-Val. Knows him well enough to voice her reservations about his shirt – something he's sure Hathaway has been dying to do ever since the airport.

He mentally reviews his wardrobe, wondering what Dr Hobson might find to say about the rest of his garments. He'll have to stop by the supermarket at some point anyway, maybe he should take the opportunity to pick up a couple of new shirts.

Give it here

He's surprised when the obviously public-schooled Hathaway doesn't offer to carry Hobson's case. It takes him a moment to realise that her position of seniority (not to speak of the biting tongue she tends to employ if she thinks she's being patronised) means that very few people would dare to forcibly deprive the doctor of anything she might choose to lug around. Hathaway is clearly not one of the privileged few.

Robbie, on the other hand, doesn't hesitate. If she's entitled to criticize his clothing, he's entitled to carry her case.

The new chief

He is fairly certain that the doctor's assessment isn't intended as a commendation. It's certainly a warning (after all, a well-dressed woman who gets along with the fast-track Sergeant Hathaway isn't likely to have much time for someone like Lewis) but he thinks he detects something more personal, and he wonders what Jean Innocent might have done to get on the wrong side of the pathologist.

Is that it?

He hadn't lied; he really had been on his way to pick up the post mortem report. The fact that he's picking it up over coffee (and, as it turns out, a stroll in the sunshine) really isn't any of Innocent's business.

He almost doesn't recognise Hobson at first. He's so used to seeing her in scrubs or the white scene suit that his brain simply doesn't register the attractive blonde in civvies until she quite literally bashes him on the shoulder and demands that he pay for her coffee. Despite her feminist principles, he notes that she's not averse to free food and drink, if she can wangle it. She reminds him of Morse, although her demands on his wallet have considerably greater charm.

Feigning illness or injury, if I'm any judge

She puts a slightly dubious emphasis on Mr, which he doesn't quite understand, although it's clear that she's mocking Innocent again. What was the background between those two? He still doesn't know. But if it comes to a question of sides, it seems he's already made his choice.

We might get lucky

Next time he sees her she's back in the scene suit, but her hair seems to have acquired a plethora of little clips, some stray curls escaping to frame her face. Having lived with a wife and a daughter, Robbie had learnt that while some hairstyles were genuinely casual, other apparently haphazard coiffures actually took hours of careful effort to achieve. What he hasn't learnt, he realises, as he looks at Hobson's attractively messy updo, is how on earth he's supposed to tell the difference.

He'd never thought of her as the type to bother with elaborate styling, but then again that fetching shade of blonde she now sported certainly wasn't achieved without time, trouble, and probably a small fortune spent at some swanky salon. He can still remember her natural colour and he wonders whether she'd simply fancied a change, or whether the dye is intended to combat the aging effects of her first grey hairs. Whatever the reason, he has to admit that the lighter shade suits her.

She fancies you

He manages to keep his face impassive. After all, it's hardly the time or the place to pursue that line of enquiry. And he's not sure Hobson would appreciate him discussing her with Diane.

He doesn't believe it anyway. What would Laura Hobson see in him? Although he does rather wonder what she might have said or done to give Diane that impression.

On the same wavelength

He barely has time to register his relief at having a competent pathologist back within reach before he's bowled over by her sparky indignation. Her fury is undeniably attractive, and he can't help thinking of Diane Turnbull's remark.

She is speaking his language, too, and he starts to wonder if maybe they have more in common than he'd thought. He'd always assumed her use of colloquialisms was an affectation, put on especially to annoy Morse. But if she's reverting to it under stress, maybe it's rather more ingrained a habit. For the first time, it occurs to him to speculate about her background before she came to Oxford.

Because you secretly love me

She makes it clear that he's still not forgiven for his earlier comment, and it behoves him to make some attempt to placate her if he doesn't want to be treated to the attitude she had formerly employed with Morse. Asking her permission to approach the body seems to go a long way towards soothing her, as, no doubt, does his evident reliance on her professional expertise.

She's still feisty with the energy she'd displayed in their last encounter, and he revels in it. He's been unable to forget Diane Turnbull's words and, before he realises what he's doing, he's testing the water. Not that Hobson lets him get away with it, of course.

He's certain she's joking. No reason for him to worry. All the same, that comment about Hathaway is going to keep him awake at nights.