An 80s cop drama starring John Simm–no, it’s not Life on Mars!
Code of a Killer (2015) is a two-part TV movie based on the real life events that took place the first time DNA “genetic fingerprints” were used in an active police investigation to catch a killer. John Simm plays Alec Jeffreys, the scientist who developed a way to “fingerprint” people, while David Threlfall plays David Baker, the local police chief who teams up with Jeffreys to “fingerprint” every man’s blood in a five mile radius to match it to the DNA of a murderer who killed two girls.
Do you like cop dramas as much as the Brits do? Code of a Killer is a typical cop drama, but it also serves as a well deserved tribute to Jeffreys and the hardworking police force of Leicestershire. It’s about time this momentous moment in the history of biology and forensics got its place in the sun.
Don’t get me wrong: as a TV movie, it’s not perfect. You get your cliche moment of missing the daughter’s school play in order to communicate to the audience that the protagonist is too invested in his work (his obsession winds up making him physically sick!) and a wife who doesn’t have much screen time or personality. I imagine that if they took out the 40 minutes of tangents and red herrings (Whatever happened with the boy Gavin who confessed to being a murderer but didn’t do it? What were his motives? Where was the follow up? What about the victim who escaped? Did she call the police? Can’t she ID him?), they could have fleshed out the family life a little more, but who knows–maybe the real life family didn’t want to be in the script.
as Alec Jeffreys
That said, if you like British cop dramas, this one is just like all the rest, so you’ll probably like this one.
Jaime Pond is the editor of Anglonerd. She lives and works in NYC. Follow her on Twitter.
Originally published Feb. 24, 2016