WARNING: spoilers below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.
It seems like only last week that we last witnessed the exploits of DI Will Wagstaffe and his team because, well, it was. But in the Dark Heart universe, that whole creepy Paedophile-hunting/torturing case was a good couple of years ago. The time shift is not immediately obvious to us, but a faint dusting of exposition and mise-en-scène clues us all in. Some of it’s subtle (like DC Josie Chancellor’s new hairstyle), while some of it is slightly less so (Staffe’s nephew is now a foot and a half taller and played by a different child actor).
But other than DC Chancellor’s new ‘do and the height of our lead detective’s sister’s kid, things are pretty much the same as before. Staffe is still a well-dressed, smartly bearded and handsome detective inspector with a sharp tongue and a propensity to brood. And London is still a murky metropolis full of dimly-lit back streets, dangerous, winding canals and evil goings-on. Granted, the team has changed quite a bit. But that’s understandable, given the skip in years and the fact that the killer in the first two-parter was one of Staffe’s, er, staff.
This third episode starts off a new case which will be resolved this Thursday evening on ITV1 at 9pm. The team are hunting the person responsible for two mysterious poisonings, one of a hard-working and charming nurse who collapsed at a mysteriously empty Charing Cross tube station and the second of a consultant from the same hospital, who died at the wheel of his car. The pair seemingly knew each other, so there’s conspiracy afoot, it would appear.
This is no ‘ordinary’ poisoning, though. The effects are not unlike sarin gas and are the result of ingestion of a calabar bean, a rather rare West African climbing tree seed. It’s an unusual murder weapon, for sure. But one which opens up room for digging for Wagstaffe and his crew of investigators.
Murder victims keep Staffe busy, but when he’s not trying to solve ‘The Case of the Bad Beans’ – as it’s thankfully not being called by anyone – he’s got family problems to fix. Again, they come in the shape of a long-haired Italian man called Paolo (Killing Eve’s Edward Akrout) who likes to ‘discipline’ Staffe’s sister Juliette (played by the ever-brilliant Charlotte Riley) and her son Harry. This time it’s going to take more than a canalside sucker punch to get rid of him. It’s going to cost £25k. Or something altogether more drastic, perhaps.
One more thing… And something of an Easter egg for old-school crime TV fans. Chris Lang, the man behind this adaptation of Adam Creed’s characters here, is clearly a big crime telly buff. The man behind Innocent and Unforgotten snuck in a brilliant bit of Columbo that some eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted. On leaving a suspect’s office, Staffe lingers at the door, turning back. “Just one more thing…” he says before asking for an alibi.
Which was a nice touch, eh?
Tomorrow night’s fourth instalment of Dark Heart will continue the story and no doubt wrap things up. We’ve no early guesses as to who’s behind the killings at this point. Have you…? Do let us know if so.
Did you tune in for Dark Heart episode 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!