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 From a serial killer to a dead concert cellist, Van der Valk’s back with three gripping cases

Marc Warren and Maimie McCoy as Van der Valk and Hassell in the new series coming to ITV next week

The first series of the Van Der Valk reboot turned out to be lockdown Prayed.

Issued in April 2020 while we were all stuck at home, it brought the beauty of Amsterdam into our living rooms with three stylish Dutch noir murder mysteries loosely based on the original 1970s series starring Barry Foster, and it proved to be such a hit with viewers that a second and third series were ordered right away.

Then, Covid delayed filming for a year, but finally the second series of three two-hour episodes arrives. itv next week. And due to the two-year delay between the two series, it begins with a particularly important episode.

“We were conscious of thinking that we needed to relaunch the series in some way,” explains creator and writer Chris Murray. “So we did an expanded story about a serial killer, someone who is killing in ways that relate to the city.

Marc Warren and Maimie McCoy as Van der Valk and Hassell in the new series coming to ITV next week

“We wanted to tap into the history of the city.” When a lawyer who had just won a case to evict squatters is found murdered, and a cryptic note alluding to more murders is found in her jacket, the police turn their attention to the squatters.

Trying to stop the ruckus is Piet Van der Valk (Marc Warren), a detective who lives for his job after the tragic death of his wife. His partner in action is Inspector Lucienne Hassell (The Musketeers actress Maimie McCoy), the perfect complement to Van der Valk’s reserved nature, and they both work with boss Julia Dahlman (Emma Fielding).

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For Warren, playing the hero cop was a big change from his usual performances as bad guys in dramas like Mad Dogs and The Good Wife. “He’s much more minimalist than anything he’s done before,” says the 55-year-old Marc.

“I’ve tended to play larger-than-life characters, so this is very different. I’ve noticed that the longer I play Van der Valk, the more moody I get,” he adds.

“I wouldn’t say he’s a laughing stock, but he has a dry sense of humor.” This new version of Van Der Valk is a departure from the previous series, with the character drawn quite differently.

“He’s a man who’s had a life,” says Chris. ‘He can mix with the high culture and the low culture, with the criminals and the great and good.’

He lives alone on a houseboat, but he is thinking about finding love again. “At the end of the last series, you found out that Van der Valk’s partner had drowned after a car accident,” says Marc.

“So we started this series with him meeting a girl and that relationship spans all three episodes.” In their heyday in the 1970s, the Van der Valk cases were located on the seedy side of Amsterdam.

“We’ve made a decision not to go into those worlds, that stereotypical perception of Amsterdam as the center of the party with drugs and sex,” explains Chris. “We wanted to have a broader palette to work with, and a lot of these stories come from spending time there.”

And so, in addition to the canals and Van der Valk’s houseboat, the Cafe Scheltema restaurant in the historic city center is used by the police as a secondary station. But as romantic as it seems on screen, Marc says it’s a tough place to work.

“It’s a difficult place because it’s very hot,” he sighs. “Each episode is based on the fact that we have to shoot all the police material in the last three or four days, and that means a lot of lines.

We made the decision not to use the stereotype of Amsterdam as the center of drug and sex parties.

‘At the end of that you can barely remember your name!’ The second and third episodes also delve into the heart of modern Amsterdam.

“The city is famous for its diamond industry, so we wrote about a dysfunctional family in the business,” says Chris. The shooting took place in a real diamond factory in Utrecht.

“We were in the workshop which was amazing,” says Maimie. “Some of the workers have been there 20 years and were extras on the scene.”

The third episode is set in the world of classical music when a cellist dies after an acid attack. Filming took place in the Muziekgebouw, one of the best concert halls in Amsterdam.

However, filming in tourist hotspots proved challenging at times. “Maimie and I had to drive through Dam Square at its busiest, wearing bulletproof vests and flashing lights,” says Marc.

The more I play Van der Valk, the more moody I get: he’s not a laughing stock, but he does have a dry sense of humor.

“But no one had told the police and they arrested us. I thought, ‘If we had our guns on us, we would have been in trouble!’

Fortunately, a member of the crew showed the police his filming permits. A cast member was even able to show off his musical abilities.

Darrell D’Silva, who plays the pathologist Hendrik, was playing in clubs in Amsterdam in the ’80s. “We see Hendrik playing the saxophone in a bar which ties into my Amsterdam story,” he explains.

“Before I became an actor, I played concerts there.” When Darrell told Marc about his shows in Amsterdam, he went straight to the producers.

“I sent him a video of me playing and he was like, ‘It has to go on the show,'” says Darrell. ‘So he told Chris about it and in episode one, I’m playing saxophone!’

Van Der Valk season two kicks off on Sunday 7th August at 9pm on ITV.

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