Dark Heart, ITV Encore

From ITV Studios Dark Heart on ITV Encore Pictured: The Killer. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com For further information please contact: james.hilder@itv.com

Brutal – The Killer in Dark Heart

Twisting two-hour tale of revenge murders that seems designed to launch a new cop series

★★★ ITV Encore, week of 5 November (day to be announced)

THE START is grisly, featuring the kind of slow murder that London probably hasn’t seen since the Middle Ages.

It’s the first of a series of horror killings, all featuring suspected paedophiles as the victims. However, if you can get past the grim murder spree, Dark Hart is a diverting tale with good lead characters.

Investigator: Staffe (Tom Riley)

Investigator: Staffe (Tom Riley)

Detective Inspector William Wagstaffe (Tom Riley), is the focus. He is haunted by the murder of his parents during a family holiday in Spain when he was 16 years old. The killers are still at large and ‘Staffe’ is unable to let go until he finds them.

The women in Staffe’s life

By day, Staffe has to keep his cynical officers focused on tracking down a killer who most feel is doing a good job. These include DC Josie Chancellor (Anjli Mohindra), DS Dave Pulford (Kobna Holdbrook-Smith) and DS Rick Johnson (Tom Brooke).

By night he has an on-off relationship with Sylvie (Miranda Raison) and a close but fractious time with his sister, Juliette (Charlotte Riley).

 Juliette [Charlotte Riley]. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Plc Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on the website www.itvpictures.com

Sister – Juliette (Charlotte Riley)

Based on a novel by Adam Creed, the set-up is interesting, but as depicted on screen never really convinces. Staffe’s troubled soul somehow fails to chime with the on-going story, which is heavily concerned with moody interiors and time-lapse sequences.

It’s not in the same league as Happy Valley or even the currently unfolding Paranoid and The Level.

Still, the investigation – once the horror show is put aside – is surprising and holds your interest. The end packs a wallop and Staffe is left in a place where it seems likely he may be brought back for more adventures.

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