Code of a Killer told the first part of a story about the murder of young teenager Lynda Mann, on November 21st 1983, whose body was found on park grounds the morning after she went missing. With not a clue as to the assailant, the police, led by DCS David Baker (David Threlfall), could only offer tea and sympathy. If it was set in the present day, the police would also be able to offer doughnuts, since they eat enough of them.
What set this case apart from any other in history is that it was the first to be cracked by using DNA. John Simm played Dr Alec Jeffreys, completely outside of anything police work-wise, was working on DNA and discovered how it all works, observing also that it looks like a supermarket barcode.
After failing to solve the case, three years on, Gavin Hopkirk was arrested for the murder of another teenager, Dawn Ashworth, and Baker wanted Jeffreys to check whether he also murdered Lynda Mann, but at the point of testing them, they don’t know how long it takes for DNA to degenerate, so the tests might not work.
However, they do, but they prove that Gavin didn’t kill Lynda. Just to make sure his confession re: Dawn was legit, they run the same tests for Dawn, too. The proof is there that Gavin didn’t kill her either, but Dr Jeffreys was able to confirm, at least, that the same man DID kill both girls. Just who was it, though?
Well, that’s why it’s a two-parter.
What had an interesting premise, in Code of a Killer, was fairly predictable in the end. It takes the police forever to get anywhere on the case, so most of them get taken off it in order to solve other murders. Also, it was stretched over too long a time-frame and ended up being quite boring for the majority of it. In addition, for a 90-minute drama – the first part of two – there were FIVE advert breaks, which just destroyed the flow of the programme.
Still, at least it was better than The Ark. And it had more animals.
Code of a Killer concludes next Monday on ITV at 9pm, and it is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release on April 20th.
Overall Score: 4/10
Director: James Strong
Producer: Priscilla Parish
Writer: Michael Crompton
Sound: Glen Gregory
DCS David Baker: David Threlfall
Alec Jeffreys: John Simm
DCC Chapman: Robert Glenister
DI Alan Madden: Lorcan Cranitch
DS Geoff Taylor: Andrew Tiernan
Gavin Hopkirk: Tobias Burton Rudge
Kath Eastwood: Hannah Walters
Barbara Ashworth: Dorothy Atkinson
Sidney Jeffreys: Paul Copley
Joan Jefferys: Shirley Dixon
Sue Jeffreys: Anna Madeley
Lynda Mann: Jessica Hargreaves
Dawn Ashworth: Emma Lundy
Mr Hopkirk: Darren Bancroft
Joy Blakefield: Siobhan Redmond
Eddie Eastwood: Ged Simmons
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.