‘Code of a Killer’ Episode 2 review

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Last week’s opening episode of Code of a Killer got off to a bit of a shaky start, but the new ITV drama steps up to the challenge this week and provides an enjoyably sinister and absorbing finale.

Whilst Part 1 suffered from awkward scripting, the dialogue is noticeably cleaner and much less clunky in this concluding instalment. In fact, there are some lovely moments which are conveyed with just a handful of words, such as the quiet, aching grief of the mother of murdered schoolgirl Dawn Ashworth (Dorothy Atkinson) when she comments, “I keep thinking she’s going to come home from school.”

The script is much less jarring, which is a relief – not only does it improve the quality of the show no end by its own merit, but it also provides the actors with the chance to really shine.

Code of a Killer

John Simm in particular stands out as Alec Jeffreys in this episode; when the script isn’t calling for him to continuously and awkwardly spell out scientific processes, Simm infuses Jeffreys with a strong sense of determined justice which makes it easy to really root for him. Alongside this, the episode makes more time for David Threlfall’s DCS Davis Baker and gives more screen-time to the partnership between Jeffreys and Baker. It’s immediately clear that their partnership is a strong one; Simm and Threlfall work well together and are a joy to watch.

Code of a Killer still has wobbly moments – the repetition of allowing us a glimpse into the killer’s car by focusing on the distinctive accessory dangling from his rear-view mirror gets monotonous after a while, and the tone of the episode can be a little off at times.

For example, when Jeffreys begins to feel dizzy at the lab and collapses, the ominous fade to the advert break seemed a little overdramatic to me, as I just immediately assumed Jeffreys had fainted from the amount of pressure he as under. (Glandular fever, as it turned out; but still; easy on the melodrama, ITV.)

Code of a Killer DAVID THRELFALL

Having said that, the second part of Code of a Killer really does improve on the opening episode, and overall the drama is of a decent quality. The footage and images of the real life case which overlay the credits are a nice touch, too, reminding us of the very real heartbreaks and breakthroughs which occurred in these people’s lives.


Aired at 9pm on Monday 13 April 2015 on ITV.

> Order Code of a Killer on DVD on Amazon.

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