The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 1st – Sunday 7th August)

This week we say goodbye to Black Bird on Apple* TV but also hello to a few things. New Zealand drama The Bain Family Murders dramatises one of the country’s most notorious true crimes, while Dutch/British Sunday nighter, Van Der Valk, is (finally) back for a second series. Also, look out for series two of Brazilian crime drama Good Morning, Verônica on Netflix. Enjoy!

S1 E6/6

Jimmy reaches his breaking point. Larry becomes suspicious. McCauley and Miller talk to an important person in Larry’s life.
Friday 5th August, Apple+ TV

2 The Bain Family Murders *NEW UK PREMIERE SERIES*
S1 E1&2/5

Drama that delves into one of New Zealand’s most controversial criminal cases, when five members of the Bain family were found dead in their suburban Dunedin home in 1994. It remains one of the country’s most controversial cases, and the atrocity captured a nation and, in this opening episode, Dunedin police respond to a distressed call. Margaret and Robin’s marriage is in trouble, while David tries hard to please his mother.
Friday 5th August, 9pm, More4

S2 E1/3

The Dutch detective is called in to investigate the gruesome murder of Susie de Windt, a solicitor whose mutilated body was discovered strung up on a windfarm with an `X” carved into her stomach and a cryptic note inside her coat. He discovers that days previously, she had won a case on behalf of the city to evict a group of artist squatters, and the windfarm where her body was discovered was where they were due to be relocated.
Sunday 7th August, 8pm, ITV

4 Good Morning, Verônica *NEW UK PREMIERE SERIES*
While hunting for a dating-site predator, an underused cop discovers a husband and wife with a horrific secret.
From Wednesday 3rd August, Netflix

S1 E4/8

Synopsis unavailable.
Friday 5th August, Apple+ TV

S1 E7/8

Chaos envelops Block 181 as Victor is banned from the Misa, Isa resorts to self-harm and Ricardo, having escaped a murder attempt, partners with Lorenzo. 
Tuesday 2nd August, 10.05pm, Sky Atlantic

S5 E7&8/10

Jerome tries to track down Peaches, and the Saints crew disagree on what to do next.
Tuesday 2nd August, 10.30pm, BBC Three

8 Murdoch Mysteries *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE*
S15 E18/24

Murdoch investigates when a Japanese spy is found dead in a Korean-family’s cellar.
Thursday 4th August, 9pm, Alibi

S2 E17/18

A concerned Jenny searches for Travis. Scarlett makes an unexpected phone call that could change the course of more than one life. Tensions rise at the Bhullar ranch when Jag finds out the truth about his father.
Wednesday 3rd August, Disney Plus

10 Endeavour *REPEAT*
S2 E2/4

As England and Argentina kick off in the World Cup quarter-final, Oxford’s streets are deserted. At an almost empty museum, Adrian Weiss, a specialist in heraldry and genealogy, is found dead – slain by a ceremonial dagger with links to 19th-century India. An entry in the visitors’ book leads Morse to a girls’ boarding school, where a note reading `Save Me” is mysteriously slipped into his coat pocket. Digging into the building’s troubled history, he finds a connection between Weiss’s untimely fate and a series of unsolved murders that occurred on the school’s grounds almost 100 years earlier. 
Monday 1st August, 8pm, ITV3

Walter Presents announce Angel Of Death season 2

We’re heading back to Poland for another slice of serial killer mayhem, thanks to Walter Presents.

A year after the tragic events that took place near Opole, a trial has started against serial killer Piotr Wolnicki in Angel of Death (Szadz) season 2 – but to the police’s dismay, he has plead not guilty.

Vicious murderer or victim of the system?

The seven-part Polish thriller follows Piotr as he tries to convince the public of his ‘innocence’. With scenes unveiling the cold calculated movements of the suspect as he uses any means necessary to sway public opinion.

However, Commissioner Polkowska and witnesses who testify against the accused in court are determined to convict him. The convolutions of the trial will leave you questioning whether the victims’ truths and evidence gathered is enough to convict the Opole killer. The plot thickens as dramatic events from Piotr’s past are revealed with the mysterious appearance of Lila. Piotr and Lila are bound by a dark experience from their youth – thus her return may be a chance for Piotr to confront the truth about himself.  This twisted story reveals the suffering that follows the apprehension of the perpetrator. Whilst delving into the psychopathic mind of Piotr in a way that promises to make your skin crawl. Will Piotr get his family back together and prove his innocence or will Polkowska find enough evidence to put him in jail for good?

Angel of Death (season 2): From Friday 26th August, All4/Walter Presents

Clare Mackintosh’s The Last Party optioned for TV

One of the UK’s most celebrated thriller writers – Clare Mackintosh – has had her novel The Last Party optioned by

The novel, which will be published on 4th August, is the first revealed development project for 5 Acts Productions, which launched late last year.

The Last Party follows DC Ffion Morgan as she investigates the murder of Rhys Lloyd, a homegrown hero who is found floating dead in the water on New Year’s Day, the morning after a party that brought together a feuding community. The murder leads Morgan to scrutinise neighbours, friends and family as she attempts to solve a mystery in a town full of secrets.

Mackintosh told The Killing Times: “5 Acts is taking a collaborative approach to the adaptation and I’m looking forward to casting decisions! In the meantime, I’m busy writing DC Ffion Morgan’s next adventures.”

More news as we get it…

Slow Horses begins filming seasons 3 and 4

One of our favourite series of the year – an adaptation of Mick Herron’s celebrated ‘Slough House’ novels (more on those later) – has begun filming series three and four, according to reports.

Series two of Slow Horses, based on the book Dead Lions, will be broadcast later this year, but Apple+ TV has started production on series three and four, which will be filmed back-to-back. We’re awaiting which of Herron’s novels will the series will be based on.

However, the reports say that they will be with us next year.

© Charlotte Graham

It’s been a busy year for author, Mick Herron, who topped it all off by winning the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year for his latest Slough House novel, Bad Actors, at the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at the weekend.

Herron, who has been shortlisted for the award five out of the past six years, said: “This is the most coveted trophy in the crime writing community and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have won it.”

Sharon Canavar, Chief Executive of Harrogate International Festivals, commented: “We had an incredibly strong shortlist for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year this year, and the judging panel and public had a tough job on their hands picking one winner. After a lot of discussion, the panel selected the wonderful Mick Herron, whose novel Slough House plunged readers back into the dangerous lives of the brigade of failed spies known as ‘slow horses’.” 

The Killing Times caught up with Herron (in the bar, naturally), and he told us he was delighted with the win.

Shetland season 7: Douglas Henshall reveals transmission date

As we now all know, season 7 of Shetland will be Douglas Henshall’s last as DI Jimmy Perez.

We now not only know what the six-part series will be about but also when it’ll be on – thanks to Henshall himself.

On return from suspension, DI Perez reunites with Tosh as they meet the owners of a local B&B, Rachel and Danny Cairns, who are frantic with worry over the sudden disappearance of their son, Connor. New to Shetland, the family moved from Glasgow after Connor suffered a breakdown. Rachel worries that history has repeated itself, but Perez suspects they are hiding something.

Perez, Tosh and Sandy find that Connor was well known and much loved, with many worried about his whereabouts. Interviews with his sister, Abbie, and his girlfriend, Bryd, highlight Connor’s fraught relationship with his father, which sometimes saw him escape to his ‘safe place’.

The case takes a dramatic turn when Tosh discovers Danny Cairns’ past life and the reasons behind their sudden relocation to Shetland. As the ghosts of Danny’s past resurface, Perez and his team are under pressure to protect the Cairns family and find Connor before it’s too late.

As per Henshall’s tweet, the series is due to start on Wednesday 10th August at 9pm.


The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 25th – Sunday 31st July)

With sport dominating. the schedules recently, it’s no surprise that series are finishing. This week, we say goodbye to Rig 45 and Murder In Provence. However, there some big, new things starting, too – most notably Under The Banner Of Heaven, starring Oscar-winner Andrew Garfield. Enjoy!

S1 E5/6

Jimmy’s mounting fear and paranoia compel him to provoke Larry. McCauley and Miller have a breakthrough. Larry’s therapist grows concerned.
Friday 29th July, Apple+ TV

2 Under The Banner Of Heaven *NEW UK PREMIERE SERIES*

A devout detective’s faith is tested as he investigates a brutal murder seemingly connected to an esteemed Utah family’s spiral into LDS fundamentalism and their distrust in the government.
Wednesday 27th July, Disney+

3 Sins Of The Father
S1 E1-8/8

A retired policeman and a former criminal, must face their past when their daughters’ lives are suddenly put at risk in this gangster thriller shining a light on the dark and dangerous activities of the Warsaw Mafia.
From Friday 29th July, All4/Walter Presents

S1 E3/3

A love affair seems to be at the heart of a woman’s death in the town of Eguilles, but Antoine, Marine and Helene think it might be connected to the discovery of an older woman’s body at a vineyard kilometres away. They investigate the men in the two women’s lives to discover what was done to them and why.
Sunday 31st July, 8pm, ITV

S1 E6/6

A lethal cat and mouse game commences on the desolate and damaged rig. The identity of the killer is still not known and many others in the vicinity remain at risk. 
Friday 29th July, 9pm, More4

S1 E6/8

Ricardo gets out of jail and immediately provokes Victor. The trio partner up with Snake, as Rizzo tells Lorenzo his plan for beating the pandilleros.
Tuesday 26th July, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

S5 E5&6/10

A brutal attack leaves the crew in chaos.
Tuesday 26th July, 10pm, BBC Three

8 Murdoch Mysteries *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE*
S15 E17/24

Violet Hart investigates when a protester dies at an event for civil rights.
Thursday 27th July, 9pm, Alibi

9 The Pembrokeshire Murders *REPEAT*
S1 E1-4/4

Drama based on the true story of John Cooper, a serial killer who evaded justice for more than 20 years. Two unsolved double murders from the 1980s cast a shadow over the work of the Dyfed Powys police force, so in 2006, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins decides to reopen both cases. 
Monday 25th – Thursday 28th July, 10pm, ITV3

10 CSI: Vegas *REPEAT*
S1 E3/10

Grissom and Sara’s investigation into charges against David Hodges heats up, and a video-game developer’s body is found floating in a fountain before a gaming tournament
Tuesday 26th July, 9pm, Alibi

Shetland: Douglas Henshall quits series

Shetland has now – quietly and assuredly – become one of the BBC’s marquee, long-running crime series. The beloved show is about to drop its seventh series, but something else has dropped today (Wednesday 20th July)… a real bombshell: star Douglas Henshall has quit the series.

Speaking with the Radio Times, Henshall – who plays DI Jimmy Perez – said: “After series five of Shetland, David Kane and I decided we wanted to do two more series to complete the story of Jimmy Perez. So series six and seven were commissioned together to give us time to wrap up Perez’s story to a satisfactory end.

“It’s been one of the privileges of my career to play Jimmy Perez for almost 10 years and to work with so many wonderful people both in front of and behind the camera, and also to spend so much time in Shetland.

“The Isles were so much a part of our show and of Perez himself. I’ll miss him and the place. I wish everyone involved much luck with whatever happens next.”

And what does happen next? An eighth series has been commissioned and a new lead actor (and character) will take over from Perez on the island.

Creator Ann Cleeves – whose novels the show is based on – took to Twitter to give her reaction.


REVIEW Trom (S1 E3&4/6)

Faroese crime drama Trom got off to a good, solid start in its opening two episodes. It was absorbing without being totally edge-of-your-seat but had an interesting set of characters as well as a solid central murder mystery. Of course, being based in the Faroes Trom also – and quite understandably – exploited its incredible surroundings to good effect.

I now want to go to the Faroe Islands. But that’s by the by.

Now we’re up to the halfway stage, we’re starting to get somewhere in the case of the murdered activist, Sonja Á Heyggi.

What is Hannis up to in Trom?

Her father Hannis Martinsson is doing his best to snoop around the islands, trying to find out what happened to her and why. He sneaks back into Sonja’s sealed-off house and finds a map – so he does what any good hunter does and follows that map. In this instance, that means visiting each location Sonja marked on it, which all have something to do with local millionaire and capitalist extraordinaire, Ragnar í Rong (who we met briefly in the first episode).

Indeed, we’re being led down a road where Ragnar looms large at the end of it. It seems he owns all of the big business on the island, is the ‘benevolent’ friend of Sonja’s mother Aurora and, to boot, is in cahoots with the police chief, Karla’s stern boss. He also threatened Påll in hospital and told him to keep his mouth shut, and Sonja was investigating him, too.

And, let’s face it… his name is Ragnar í Rong, which actually sounds villainous. (He’s played by Olaf Johannessen, by the way, who’s been in ALL THE NORDIC THINGS.)

Karla in Trom

Karla having a tough time in Trom

Elsewhere, Karla is having a tough time of things.

She’s fully aware that this could be the biggest murder investigation in Faroese history, and she’s feeling the pressure. As if to demonstrate people under pressure make bad decisions, Karla has already been a bit naughty by accessing Sonja’s phone and seeing her son Gunnar is somehow implicated in the mystery (another favourite Nordic Noir trope… the implicated teenager), and then deleting CCTV footage of the two meeting one night in the street from the database. And now she has found that he’s carrying Sonja’s treasured necklace in his belongings.

But there’s a small lead in the case, exposed by the brilliant, small-but-mighty Anita – a local mechanic was found to have worked on both Påll and Sonja’s cars before the former inexplicably came off the road.

This mechanic – Bergur – is a former drug addict and dealer. Whose rehab facility did he use to dry out? Ragnar’s, of course.

We’re into the final two episodes next week, and I’m wondering if Ragnar is too obvious a villain. Could something be going on at Glisli college, a place where threats to Sonja originated from? Could Gunnar have something to do with all of this?

We’ll soon find out.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


REVIEW Trom (S1 E1&2/6)

Apologies, life has gotten in the way of this latest Nordic Noir, but I’m happy to say I’m catching up. And not a moment too soon.

We’ve followed the journey of Trom right from its inception, not least because it’s the first crime series to be based on the beautiful, epic and windswept Faroe Islands. And now it’s with us here in the UK, and BBC Four, which feels like a fitting home for the show… especially when you consider the likes of The Killing and The Bridge came before it.

As usual for BBC Four, the series is being played out in double-bills every Saturday night, and there’s certainly enough here to sate the Nordic Noir fans who love to tweet along on social media during broadcasts.

And the good news is that Trom has plenty to love about it and is a veritable checklist for favourite Nordic Noir tropes and themes. Moody, atmospheric scenery? Check. Obsessive main character? Check. Big-corporation skullduggery? Check. Murder? Of course there is!

Sonja á Heyggi in Trom

Who is who in Trom on BBC Four?

We’re first introduced to Sonja Á Heyggi (Helena Heðinsdóttir), a young woman and activist on the islands, who is proving to be a thorn in the side of many. She’s against whale hunting and Sonja and her pals like nothing more than to sabotage hunts, which puts her at odds with many on the islands. If you know anything about the Faroes, it’s that these small communities have whale hunting in their blood – it’s an industry as well as a deep cultural thread.

Sonja receives a message from her friend and fellow activist, Påll, a journalist who is working on something pretty big. He’s on his way to meet Sonja when his car goes off the road, injuring him to the extent that he’s placed in a medically-induced coma.

Sonja, convinced the accident is no accident, now fears for her life, especially now she’s the custodian of all of Påll’s background work on this unnamed case, which we’re told in episode two, uncovers corruption in the judicial system, big corporate business and even the police.

When Sonja goes to the police, the chief – Karla Mohr (Maria Rich) – is non-plussed about the activist and the so-called threats she has received.

And that’s when we meet our main character – international investigative journalist and Faroese native, Hannis Martinsson (Ulrich Thomsen). He has a history of bringing down corporations and exposing all manner of shady goings-on. So when he touches down in Denmark, he sees he has received a message via Facebook Messenger from Sonja, who matter-of-factly explains that she is the daughter he didn’t know he had and that she needs his help with a case she’s working on. She also mentions that she thinks she is in danger.

Armed with all of his head-scrambling information – and wanting to find out if she is indeed his daughter – he hops on a plane and goes back to his homeland.

He’s too late.

In a matter of hours, Sonja is found dead, facedown in the shallow tide.

Hannis Martinsson in Trom

Hannis is on the case in Trom

So we have several things in play here – the trope of a person going back to their homeland, and therefore rubbing up against a past they’d rather forget, a murder mystery, and we get to know Hannis, a driven and, some would argue, selfish, man – perhaps even a touch enigmatic – who is great at investigation but really bad at inter-personal relationships. He’s taciturn, furrowed-of-brow and not an easy person to like, but he’s our protagonist and the eye through which we follow this case.

Driven by guilt and his natural instinct to investigate stories, it’s not long before he’s picking up where his daughter left off.

Another person who’s feeling the strain (and the guilt) is police chief Karla. A case like this needs help from Denmark, but so far she’s refusing to comply. After all, she’s the one who dismissed Sonja as a bit of a crackpot.

After episode two, with the story set up, little twists were beginning to be introduced (not least Karla resorted to scanning Sonja’s DEAD FACE in the morgue in order to gain access to her phone). Hannis, too, is finding crumbs of information as he starts to stick his nose in.

All of this is set on the stunning Faroes. The pace of this drama – certainly in these opening two episodes – is quite slow, but what hooks you in is the verdant, green scenery, the epic mountains and the islands’ customs and characters (I’m pretty sure there’s some product placement in here, too). The bars, the industry, the gorgeous wooden houses, the people and the language (although a lot of people in this seem to be speaking Danish). Let’s face it when you see a character credit for ‘seaweed farmer’ in the closing credits, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore.

A good, solid and very absorbing start.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The 10 Best Crime Dramas This Week (Monday 18th – Sunday 24th July)

It’s pretty much as you were this week, although – in a flash – we’re saying goodbye to both Trom and The Control Room. We do, however, welcome in a four-part Channel 5 thriller, Witness Number 3. Enjoy!

S1 E4/6

In the aftermath of a prison riot, Jimmy and Larry find themselves with time to learn more about each other.
Friday 22nd July, Apple+ TV

S1 E5&6/6

Hannis devises a new plan to expose the police investigation. Karla finally gets a breakthrough in the case, which can change everything.
Saturday 23rd July, 9pm, BBC Four

S1 E2&3/3

Gabe is blackmailed into further criminal behaviour by Anthony, who offers to keep his secret if he delivers a parcel to Kelvingrove museum. In order to escape the nightmare of the present, Gabe has to confront his past, reflecting on the events surrounding his mother’s funeral.
Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th July, 9pm, BBC One

4 Witness Number 3 *NEW UK PREMIERE SERIES*
S1 E1-4/4

Single mum and hairdresser Jodie Packer witnesses something seemingly innocuous, but soon finds herself as the significant witness in a murder enquiry and facing a campaign of intimidation. As Jodie’s paranoia grows, a local gang mounts a terrifying threat against her and her young son Kyle. 
Monday 18th – Thursday 21st July, 9pm, Channel 5

5 Murder In Provence *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE*
S1 E2/3

Now working as a consultant for the police, Marine helps Antoine and Helene investigate the death of an aristocrat found dead at his crumbling chateau, but just when the team think that they’ve got their suspects nailed, another body is found.
Sunday 24th July, 8pm, ITV

6 Rig 45: Murder At Sea *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE*
S1 E5/6

The crew splits up into two separate teams, both suspecting each other. Each hour is a struggle to survive, but it remains to be seen how far all concerned are willing to go.
Friday 22nd July, 9pm, More4

S1 E5/8

With a gang member now dead, war is brewing. As Bea looks for answers, Snake uncovers the trio’s dealings. 
Tuesday 19th July, 9pm, Sky Atlantic

8 Miss Scarlet and the Duke *NEW UK PREMIERE EPISODE* *LAST IN SERIES*
S2 E6/6

While Eliza and the Duke struggle around the edges of their relationship, private investigator Nash is shot just as Eliza agrees to work with him.
Tuesday 19th July, 9pm, Alibi

S5 E3&4/10

Teddy’s return causes tension, forcing Jerome and Louie to negotiate with Skully.
Tuesday 19th July, 10pm, BBC Three

S1 E1-10/10

Lupe is a Mexican girl whose life takes an unexpected turn when she learns of the death of her father, El Faraón. Lupe decides to leave her native Mexico behind to travel to Cartagena to attend the funeral. She quickly realises that nothing there is what it seems and decides to enter a music contest to be close to her father and investigate his suspicious death.
Wednesday 20th July, Disney Plus