ITV, 6 one-hour episodes

SF elements

Vampires; conspiracy theories



A London detective joins a secret Vatican-sponsored vampire hunting organisation after he discovers his friend has 'crossed over'.

This is a modern-day vampire story, even though they are never so-called, only ever referred to as 'Code V'. But they suck blood, burn up in ultraviolet light, can be killed with graphite bullets, and are not visible in mirrors. (Not visible with any technology such as cameras or videos -- and not audible over telephones, a plot device I find quite unnecessary. The whole attempt to put a scientific gloss seems inconsistent -- if people can see them but technology can't, maybe they are some sort of telepathic hallucinations, but then how can the doctor carve one up?).

The secret anti-vampire organisation is definitely a member of the Gerry Anderson school of staffing levels: a base with loads of high tech kit, four main operatives, plus on occasion a van load of mysterious black-clad soldiers, and that's it ! (And the vampire detector camera bears an uncanny resemblance to the Mysteron X-ray detector...)

In the usual way, a lot of the problems are caused by people being unnecessarily mysterious: if Michael had just told Kirsty that seeing him would endanger her life, things would have been a lot simpler. But there is at least a semi-plausible reason why the population at large isn't being informed: it could cause a panic that would result in a superstition revival and too much power to the Church. And there's a welcome slice of moral ambiguity: who are the real villains, the vampires, or the people trying to kill them?

Apart from some minor idiocies required to drive the plot, most of the time the characters respond fairly reasonably, and this is good fun. The cast play it absolutely seriously, which leads to the occasional moment of real menace (the scene where Vaughan is locked in a warehouse with some vampire caskets, waiting for sunset, is quite tense).


Rating: 3

[ unmissable | worth watching | passes the time | mind candy | unwatchable | unfinishable ]

Main characters

  • Michael Colefield : Jack Davenport --- the Detective
  • Angie : Susannah Harker --- the Doctor
  • Vaughan : Idris Elba --- the Soldier
  • Pearse : Philip Quast --- the Priest
  • Jack : Stephen Moyer --- Michael's best friend, now a vampire
  • Kirsty : Colette Brown --- Jack's fiancee
  • Frances : Fiona Dolman --- Michael's ex-girlfriend

Episode guide

  1. Habeus Corpus --- Jack disappears the night before his wedding to Kirsty, and Michael gets drawn into the world of vampire hunters.
  2. In Nomine Patris --- Lester Hammond, son of a wealthy financier, seems to be a vampire, with some sort of financial scam going.
  3. Sub Judice --- A recently-widowed lawyer is attacked, but a mysterious protector helps her.
  4. Mea Culpa --- A teenager stabs a Catholic priest: are the culprits vampires or paedophiles?
  5. Terra Incognita --- A Brazilian covered in bites, and a load of coffins, arrive at Heathrow.
  6. Persona Non Grata --- The vampires offer to swap Kirsty for the ashes of Angie's dead vampire husband, Robert.
reviewed 24 October 1998