or, @fritzoid, as trying to take away her mother’s attention? not quite the same as trying to take the place of her dead father.
I think it would be a nice plot twist to have Phil promoted to detective - with a substantial salary increase, of course. More respect from Val and the kids, easier to conceive of getting married - he could get a house in which part of it was just for his own space. And many stories could be told about how his detective skills helped solve some family problems.
Yep, I like it. (I’m very good a figuring out what other people should do - and, of course, telling them. But it doesn’t surprise or offend me when for some reason they don’t do it…)