Leonard is being interviewed by the police. In response to Geordie’s simple prompts and Larry’s tougher questions about whether Bryan saw him in bed with another man at Merries Holiday Camp, Leonard obfuscates—but not very well, especially once photos of him touching Daniel’s face are presented. Luckily, Daniel’s face is not visible. When Daniel is questioned, he says he is just an acquaintance of Leonard’s and denies any romantic connection.
The two lovers clandestinely brief each other on their interviews over the phone in neighboring phone booths. It’s just one man’s word against another, Daniel reassures Leonard. He will be fine.
Geordie is worried, however. He chastises Will for not involving him sooner—he could have done something about Bryan’s blackmail attempt. Now Leonard’s case could go to trial. Geordie urges Will to lie for Leonard and give him an alibi.
That temptation is made more acute by a warning from the archdeacon. When Will defends Leonard, the archdeacon tells him that he must cooperate with the police or he will lose his job as vicar. The church is not above the law, and homosexuality is outlawed in England.
Will wishes he could change the law—it’s part of why he’s inclined to support the progressive-minded Reeny McArthur in an upcoming council election, even though he cannot publicly take sides. Reeny is running against the pro-business Maurice St. Martin to replace her late husband Derek on the council. Derek was found drowned in the lake, with a suicide note in his handwriting nearby. Maurice is using the suicide to insinuate dark things about the McArthurs.
But Reeny has reason to believe Derek’s death was murder. Mail has arrived since his death indicating that he was buying a holiday home. Why would he do that if he was going to kill himself?
Derek kept carbon copies of all his correspondence, and Will finds amongst his letters addressing constituent complaints a note that contains a line that exactly matches Derek’s “suicide” note.
The letter was to an “Eric Pritchard” and the address is a vacant house. There’s no pile of mail inside, so someone must have been coming to get Derek’s letters, posing as Eric in order to elicit something in Derek’s handwriting to use as a fake suicide note.
Will and Geordie search through the council minutes for evidence of disputes. While there, Robert Waterhouse, an old crime novelist friend staying with Reeny and Derek, tries to learn details about Will’s police work to use in his novels. Geordie discovers in the minutes that planning applications filed by Phillip St. Martin, Maurice’s cousin, have been denied three times. Phillip, a business owner, admits that he and Derek didn’t get along, but that he has done nothing untoward.
When Mrs. Chapman gives her statement to the police about Leonard, Larry pushes her hard to confess if she has ever seen Leonard do anything untoward. She hesitates but says no. Back at the vicarage, she angrily confronts Will: he has let his flock, which includes Leonard, stray, and now they’re all implicated in wrongdoing. Leonard is considering lying to the police to make the investigation go away, but Will insists that dishonesty is not the answer. On Cathy’s advice, he is considering trying to sway public opinion in favor of progressive values, starting with speaking in favor of Reeny at a public debate—especially since he has heard that Maurice is a hustler with underhanded business tactics.
Looking through case files, Geordie has found that five years ago Reeny sustained injuries after a domestic incident, but charges were never filed. She admits that Derek had his violent moments and that she did at times consider killing him, but that he wasn’t evil and was haunted by his wartime experiences. She doesn’t want any more attention focused on him, however; she wants to center herself.
Maurice has other plans. At the debate, he maligns Derek and brings up the police’s recent visits to Reeny, hinting that it is all part of a rot afflicting Grantchester that extends even to Leonard and allegations of homosexuality. Will is furious and nearly punches Maurice, but Geordie pulls him away and tells him to go home.
Leonard, who left the debate in a rush, asks Will how he can ever be seen in public again. He doesn’t want Will to be harmed by his mistakes, but Will refuses to back down.
Reeny visits Will: she has received a notebook listing comings and goings at Phillip St. Martin’s warehouse. It seems Derek had hired a private detective to watch Phillip. Will and Geordie go to the warehouse and find a shed across the way with binoculars and an ashtray full of cigarette butts—but no ash. Maurice appears and immediately flees upon seeing them, but Will catches him.
Maurice is defiant under questioning, insisting that he fled because he thought they were trying to dig up dirt on him before the election. He was helping Derek buy the holiday home—why would he kill him and lose a commission?
The lack of ash in the ashtray makes Geordie think of the whole case as similar to a crime story, with hints laid out—and that leads to Robert. His most recent novel features a man who regrets not having ever acted on his love for a female friend, and from that Will and Geordie realize that Robert is in love with Reeny, and killed Derek to save her from him. It was Robert who faked correspondence to get a “suicide note” in Derek’s handwriting, then pushed him into the lake. He made up the detective and planted evidence when Will and Geordie began investigating the suicide as a murder.
How dare he make it his job to save me, Reeny says when she finds out. Now she has lost both her husband and her best friend in a matter of weeks.
Will apologizes to Mrs. Chapman for the situation they find themselves in. She begs him to lie for Leonard. “I can’t lose my boy,” she says. Leonard overhears.
When Will arrives at the police station, Leonard is already there. The allegation is true, he tells Geordie and Larry; he was in bed with another man at the resort —a stranger whose name he does not remember. Geordie reluctantly charges him and puts him in jail for the night. Mrs. Chapman sobs.