TV Review: Van der Valk Series 1

The location shots of Amsterdam are wonderful but Series 1 of Van der Valk is crushingly boring

“Try and solve it without bringing Amsterdam to a standstill”

I may be getting on but even I’m too young for Van der Valk to have any cultural relevance to me, so the fact that this is a remake by ITV means little. And in the final analysis, this is a series that means little to me as I found its three feature-length episodes really hardgoing.

Marc Warren plays Commisaris Piet Van der Valk, a Dutch detective (who speaks English throughout, as do all the characters) who has a troubled lovelife/haunted past/maverick way about him like so many TV cops before him. Warren isn’t bad at all, it’s just such a crowded marketplace for this type of show.

And Amsterdam locales aside (and they’re undoubtedly filmed beautifully, the Rijksmuseum shots with the Dutch Masters are just stunning), there is no USP that makes Van Der Valk stand out. A motley crew of colleagues aid and abet without really standing out, only Emma Fielding’s Dahlman gets a hint of an interesting storyline of her own.

The presence of Internationaal Theater Amsterdam stalwarts Marieke Heebink and Frieda Pittoors does offer a little pleasure but the overall feel of the show is curiously old-fashioned and with competition for audiences so fierce, I can’t see this breaking through on nostalgia alone.

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