Every season, the Drama After Dark team gathers ‘round the (currently virtual) conference room table to watch the latest and greatest in British dramas. This month, we’re incredibly excited to bring you coverage of MASTERPIECE’s new show Van der Valk. If you were looking for a moody, gritty mini-series that’ll make you want to abscond to Amsterdam, Van der Valk is for you. I’m here to recap the season as it happens just in case you, Dear Reader, miss an episode and haven’t yet been able to catch up on GBH Passport.
What’s more unsettling than internet influencer awards? Broken glass, a puddle of blood, and a honkin’ big knife! This week’s episode starts off with a bang, as a man (presumably the owner of said influencer awards) is tied to a chair in front of a camera setup that screams, “I’m primarily used for unboxing videos; why am I being subjected to such violence?” He’s slumped over, his glasses lens is broken (a sure sign of trouble, as any glasses wearer can tell you), and as I mentioned earlier, there’s a honkin’ big knife covered in blood nearby, so I think we can surmise this is our weekly blood sacrifice.
Across town, a young gal is parking her bike in the extensive bike storage area (just in case you forgot the show is set in Amsterdam, where they actually care about bike infrastructure) when she gets a video call from a friend, whom you might recognize as Demelza Poldark’s churchy brother, Cheekbones Carne. They’re both super jazzed to watch “Ed’s vlog,” which has been all over social media and will thus be “explosive.” Now, given that Ed was the name on those internet influencer awards we saw earlier, I have some concerns that it’s gonna be explosive in a different way than these nice young folks are expecting. Next, he tries to rustle up their other pal, who picks up the phone but doesn’t hold it out in front of her so he can actually see her face. Apparently that’s considered weird in this group, and it’s not the only shady thing she does, claiming she’s heading to the bank (seems fake) and hanging up abruptly.
Across town, Hassell works out like a maniac when she’s interrupted by the screams of a group of young women watching something on their phone. Ever on alert, she pulls off her headphones and jogs over to find out what's wrong. Well, the blog is indeed explosive. As predicted, the big reveal is Ed, tied to a chair, and very obviously dead. Time to call in the cavalry — or in this case, the grumpy Euro Cash who’s staring at a case file and brooding instead of petting Big Cheese’s dog Trojan, who’s sitting right there and deserves all the treats in the world. Euro Cash’s phone rings, but it’s not Hassell; it’s Big Cheese herself, calling to check on our favorite canine character. Everything is going well with Big Cheese, but something ominous is definitely afoot, as evidenced by this exchange:
Big Cheese: You still coming to this hearing?
Euro Cash: Oh yeah, 100%
Big Cheese: Well, I’ll see you there. You know it wasn’t your fault, right?
Euro Cash, out loud: Yup.
Euro Cash, inside:
He has a little flashback to a car wreck, and a floating shoe in the water, but there’s no time to actually learn all the details of his Tragic Backstory: we have a murder to solve! Euro Cash pulls up to the crime scene, where some anti-fashion graffiti is scrawled on the wall. Why? Well, Clooves runs over and tells us all that the victim, Ed, is an eco-fashion vlogger and influencer. The cameras outside Ed’s building didn’t catch anyone coming in or out in the last few hours, and there wasn’t a sign of forced entry. Also, there’s only one entrance to the flat, which, Clooves points out, is illegal! Euro Cash doesn’t seem to care about that, but it’s such a weird detail to mention that I feel like it’ll probably (definitely) be relevant later. For now, Euro Cash sends Clooves outside to talk to a young lady he saw on his way in whom he seems to think has something relevant to share. She tries to scoot outta there when she sees Clooves approaching, but he’s no dummy, and arranged for Woodsman Cop to hem her in.
Inside, Hassell explains the scene further — struggle in the kitchen, and Ed was probably stabbed in there based on the blood. The computer might have been on a time delay. Despite the people I assumed were his friends earlier, Ed kept himself to himself much of the time, apparently liking publicity more than people.
Drunkie Howser is pretty sure that Ed has only been dead for an hour or so, and the stab wound is bad enough that it was the cause of death. The tape over Ed’s mouth and the sewn together eyelids (oh, did I not mention THAT gross detail?!) were probably done post mortem. The stitching is super neat, so Drunkie Howser posits medical knowledge, but given that we’re talking fashion this week, Hassell and I both think it could be a tailor. What does Euro Cash think?
He heads outside onto the terrace to sulk, and notices a repeat of the anti-fashion graffiti from earlier, with an important addition: the phrase “omega 616.” Hassell, doing her best friend duties, follows him out to ask what’s going on.
Euro Cash, not into emotional vulnerability: There has to be another way in or out of this apartment. Maybe this super perilous drain pipe that I could probably climb, since I’m for some reason the main character of this show and thus have an overblown idea of my own skillset.
Hassell: So we're really not gonna talk about your baggage?
Well, looks like you’re right about the drain pipe: somebody climbed that thing and left a little scrap of their clothing behind!
Outside, they catch up with Woodsman Cop, Clooves, and the lady they caught, whom I'm going to call Pink Shirt Girl for reasons I think you can surmise. She claims to be a friend of Ed’s, so they’ve got her in a car talking to Clooves. Euro Cash doesn’t care about that right now: he wants Woodsman Cop to find Omega 616, who’s apparently some kind of Dutch Banksy. Best of luck, Woodsman Cop! Clooves, who’s been checking out Ed’s social media feeds, has a lead: he regularly fought with a rival vlogger Lotta Nagel, who we saw parking her bike earlier.
Clooves: She’s super important in the ethical fashion vlogging community.
Woodsman Cop: Laaaaaaame.
Woodsman Cop, having seen a picture of Lotta:
Clooves: Well, Ed said she was too milquetoast, but that’s kinda bogus because she’s very good. I’m a fan myself!
Clooves: What, I like fashion!
Euro Cash: Welp, I guess in my role as your work dad I have to encourage you to have extracurricular hobbies. Go interview the blogger.
Woodsman Cop: BOOOOOOOO, I want to talk to the pretty lady and not look for an anonymous artist!
Euro Cash: Don’t care. Alright, Pink Shirt Girl, what’s your deal?
Pink Shirt Girl: I work at an eco fashion house. I’ve been giving Ed insider info about how ethical the company really is.
Pink Shirt Girl: Wellll, it's not great! Workers aren’t treated well and haven’t been paid this month.
Euro Cash: Do you think that’s what he was going to vlog about?
Pink Shirt Girl:
Back at the office, Euro Cash grumpily walks Trojan and avoids talking to Hassell about where Big Cheese is and why he’s in such an extra crappy mood this episode. He also asks Woodsman Cop for an update on Dutch Banksy and finds out that they a) started with the graffiti about 18 months ago, b) mostly write about fashion and c) are otherwise a complete mystery other than the distinctive coat they always wear. Clooves heads out to talk to Lotta, joined by Woodsman Cop, who, impervious to shame and censure, claims he’s only going to rule her out as Dutch Banksy when we all know he’s just hoping to score.
Left behind, Euro Cash asks Hassell for an explanation of Pink Shirt Girl’s eco fashion house. The place is run by Dani, the guy making all the facetime calls earlier, and Heidi, the one who claimed to be going to the bank. Apparently, Dani had a real glow up: he began as Heidi’s protege, and is now the hottest designer in the city.
The gossip is that Dani is about to leave the collaboration to join one of the bigger fashion houses in the city. Hassell’s going to investigate, and instead of being helpful and accompanying her, Euro Cash is going to… sulk? No, he has a meeting with Big Cheese at the Palace of Justice, where they both get a chance to glare at a mysterious stranger with an earring who arrives on a vespa.
Across town, the team up between Clooves and Woodsman Cop is going just about as well as you’d expect. Woodsman Cop wants to do all the talking, despite knowing literally nothing about clothes, or how to read a street address. Inside, Lotta is tearfully recording a video on her cellphone about Ed, and is quite annoyed to have to stop her fake crying to answer the door.
Woodsman Cop: Hi, I am a police officer, and also a fashion icon.
Lotta: Yeah ok — fast or slow fashion?
Woodsman Cop: *garbled nonsense*
Clooves: Can my embarrassing colleague and I come in?
Lotta: So, that video was scary. Do you think someone’s targeting vloggers?
Woodsman Cop: Depends on what kind of stuff you cover probably.
Clooves, proving that he's an actual fan: Right, so like sustainability and other things that you’ve been talking about for a while.
Woodsman Cop, trying to up his game: Was Ed covering any of those topics?
Lotta: Yes, recently — he got in the game to be famous but I’d convinced him to be more ethical.
Clooves: Ah, and that could make him enemies?
Lotta: Yep. Uh, Fashion Disaster, want to stop rifling through my stuff? Anyway, recently everyone’s talking about universality.
Woodsman Cop, sagely: Ahhh yes, an important issue.
Clooves: It’s a fashion house, doofus.
Me: As much as I love making fun of Woodsman Cop, it's not his fault he can't hear that the fashion house is spelled, for some ridiculous reason, Youniversality.
Lotta: Apparently, Youniversality recently jumped on the ethics train; they’ve been trying to poach Dani.
Clooves is intrigued by this, but Woodsman Cop is more interested in playing with Lotta’s phone. We can’t tell if he saw that fakey video she was just recording, but she gets shifty enough during the exchange to show that she’s worried about something. She explains that while she and Ed used to have a contentious relationship, they’ve mended fences. Woodsman Cop asks where she was when the video started. She was heading into town, but can’t really verify it, except that she was on a video call with Dani.
Speaking of Dani, Hassell heads over to his fashion house, where he and Heidi are arguing over his decision to send their staff, who are all very upset about Ed, home for the day.
Heidi: We have deadlines!
Dani: But also… ethics!
Hassell: Sorry to interrupt, but I’m here to talk about Ed — did he have any dirt on you guys?
Heidi: Oh definitely not, we’re firmly on the up and up! We’re having some tough times but our staff is our family — we just gave everyone the day off!
Hassell: Hold up, what’s that orange fabric that looks like what Euro Cash and I found earlier?
Dani: It’s from old life jackets!
Heidi: Yeah, we work with a refugee charity; they give us leftover clothes from the camps around the EU.
Dani: We patch everything up and then send it back, and we also employ refugees who live here in the city. See, I’m nice!
But thanks for your time! I’ll need a sample of that.
Heidi, as soon as Hassell’s gone: I’m still mad at you, Dani.
Over at the Palace of Justice, Big Cheese and Euro Cash seem relatively ok with whatever just went down. Remember that law student we met back in episode one? Whom Woodsman Cop hit on aggressively when he realized she was making money through sex work? Well, she remembers Euro Cash, and literally yoohoos him, to Big Cheese’s amusement. He goes over to say hello and get his flirt on, leaving Big Cheese to get yelled at by Mysterious Earring Guy. She brushes it off, but I don’t like it!
Back at headquarters, the team watches Lotta’s tearful video blog about how much she liked Ed. We might be experiencing a Freaky Friday moment, because the normally analytically-sound Clooves is taken in by the performance, whilst certified himbo Woodsman Cop sees right through it.
Woodsman Cop: Look, they both clearly had specific roles they were playing within the vlogging ecosystem. I think she had motive.
Clooves: Yeah, but she has an alibi!
Woodsman Cop: Just because she said she was on her way into town while she was on the call doesn’t mean she actually was. Toughen up, fashion plate!
Euro Cash: Hello, I’m back, and I don’t want to talk about where I was!
Hassell: Glad to see you’ve taken brooding to a new level. Let’s go visit Drunkie Howser, I’ll ask you more questions on the way.
In Big Cheese’s office, we see that she is nowhere near as unaffected as she’s been pretending to be. She shuts the door, has a flashback to the same car wreck Euro Cash was thinking about earlier, and rummages through her desk until she can locate her morphine. Ultimately, she doesn’t take it though, shoving it back in the drawer. Victory!
Over at the lab, Drunkie Howser also has a reason to celebrate: a mystery! The eye string? He can’t figure out what it is!
Euro Cash is less enthused, but I’m with Drunkie Howser — mystery thread seems a lot easier to match to the killers than super bland, I-got-it-at-JOANN-Fabrics thread! Speaking of which, the fabric sample Hassell got from the fashion house doesn’t match what they found on the roof. The roof fabric had caribou (yes, like Rudolph and Olive, The Other Reindeer), duck, and a synthetic: the components you’d expect in a parka like the one Dutch Banksy wears.
While Euro Cash makes snide Santa jokes, Clooves gets some news that’s so shocking he literally runs to the lab. What could be so upsetting? Well, for the last several months, Ed’s been getting payoffs in his bank account from Dani and Heidi’s rival fashion house. And this month, the payments stopped. Euro Cash, apparently over his petty nonsense re: Clooves, takes him to interview the designer behind said fashion house. Artist’s rendering of Clooves’ reaction to this field trip:
On the way, he gives us an overview. This company is a mainstay of mainstream fashion, and the woman who runs it, Claudia, brought on a less traditional collaborator, Gustav, a few years ago. Gustav has refreshed the brand, and, according to gossip, Claudia’s love life. And when we meet him, I honestly can’t imagine why.
Gustav, hosting a staff meeting: Guess what, kids: our job is to make people feel bad about themselves so they turn to our clothes to make them feel better. But not too good, lol, gotta keep them on the hook. Fast fashion: it’s sexy!
Euro Cash: Hi hello, we are cops, go get Claudia so we can talk to you both at once and get out of here faster.
Claudia: Sorry, we’re SUPER busy with our new line — I’m assuming you’re here to talk about Ed. We didn’t like him.
Euro Cash: Then why were you paying him?
Gustav: He had a big audience, it made sense to pay him off. Sorry I didn’t tell you, Claudia, didn’t think it was a big deal.
Clooves: And why did you stop paying him this month?
Gustav: He thought he had power, and it was a problem.
Euro Cash: So, did ya kill him?
Gustav: Lol, no, I just stopped paying him.
Euro Cash: Well maybe without that bribe he was about to expose your secrets… everyone’s got them. We heard you’re planning to poach Dani.
Bariefing room time. Woodsman Cop’s wandered in, and while I have to assume he’s the best customer on the team, Cliff Bar is eager to find out if he needs to prepare to close his bar so that Euro Cash can hold a meeting. Nope, quoth Woodsman Cop: just little old me, trying to figure out who the hell Dutch Banksy is. Now here’s the thing: your friend and mine, Scruffy Regular Frank, is back, and as usual, a font of knowledge. Woodsman Cop better buy him a beer.
Across town, Big Cheese and Trojan get dropped off at her house by someone from the office. She makes a point of telling him to say hi to his family, which is basically the cop show equivalent of putting a hit out on the guy — not cool, Big Cheese. Sure enough, he pulls away, and is immediately pursued by a dark SUV. Big Cheese, intent on getting into her cute house, doesn’t really notice.
At Dani and Heidi’s shop, Hassell drops by with some more questions. Specifically, did Dani see where Lotta was when they video phoned on the day of Ed’s death? And, where were the two of them when it all went down? Dani didn’t get a great look at Lotta’s location, just that she was parking her bike. He was getting a coffee on his way to work, and Heidi sticks to her story of going to the bank.
Back at the Bariefing room, Euro Cash and Clooves show up to find Woodsman Cop, Cliff Bar, Drunkie Howser, and Scruffy Regular Frank looking at pictures of Dutch Banksy’s work. Here’s the deal: Scruffy Regular Frank? He used to be a priest (which probably explains why he wasn’t around last episode; that would have made everyone’s job TOO easy) and he’s pointed out that in some texts, 616 (which you may recall is how Dutch Banksy signs their work) is the number of the beast, and Omega has some religious significance too. Neat, but not actual evidence, says Euro Cash.
Euro Cash: Drunkie Howser, I didn’t think you liked street art.
Drunkie Howser: I mean, I don’t, but there’s something interesting about this.
Hassell: In actually interesting news, I can confirm the alibis for Lotta and Dani, but Hiedi super lied about going to the bank — there wouldn’t even be a point, their accounts are frozen.
Euro Cash: Guess that explains why they aren’t paying their staff. Would Ed know that?
Euro Cash: Well, I guess Heidi just moved to the top of our suspect list.
OH GOD OH NO. I was right, I hate it. That nice fella who drove Big Cheese home just got walloped over the head in an underground car park by mysterious SUV baddies. And someone is threading a needle, hopefully for something other than more eyelid stitching. Before we can find out, we see more of Dutch Banksy’s stuff, this time specifically calling out vloggers. Hassell is RARING to investigate this new development, and walks into Euro Cash’s houseboat without a by-your-leave. Clearly this would normally be no big deal, but on this occasion, Euro Cash isn’t alone. In no surprise to anyone, it’s Resourceful Law Student. Thankfully no one here has an ounce of shame, so Hassell absents herself to get everyone coffee while Euro Cash sorts out his overnight guest. Hassell is weirdly pushy about Resourceful Law Student’s income stream, which seems like a self-insert moment from the Brit who wrote this episode, given Amsterdam’s more permissive culture around sex work. She then claims that she wouldn’t care if he was paying for Resourceful Law Student’s time, and given how hard it is to get a read on the emotions of any of these clowns, I have no choice but to believe her.
Also having a weird morning? Big Cheese, who’s stuck waiting for her carpool. Bad news, chief: that carpool is not coming any time soon!
At the lab, Drunkie Howser, who by the way is wearing a tropical shirt and has some interesting tattoos, delightedly tells Euro Cash that he finally got some info on that eyelid thread from earlier: it’s made of mushrooms, it’s fully sustainable, and it’s so new it doesn’t have a name yet. Euro Cash, never one to appreciate useful information, grumps out of there, dragging the basically nocturnal and therefore displeased by the daylight Drunkie Howser in his wake to go look at graffiti. With some light grumbling, Drunkie Howser approaches the banner, inspects the paint, and then, classic him, licks it.
Don’t worry, he takes some real samples, too. Meanwhile, Hassell interrogates Heidi, diving right in to ask about that whole bankruptcy thing.
Heidi: No way, that’s gossip!
Hassell: Pal, I’m a cop — I confirmed my info with your bank manager. Did Ed know?
Heidi: Not sure how he would, Dani doesn’t even know. But he’s also a doofus so… idk. We expanded too quickly, and Dani doesn’t really have business sense —
Hassell: Cut the crap. Just tell me where you actually were yesterday.
Heidi: I was meeting a friend. A friend with an NDA.
Hassell: Let me guess... something to do with Dani abandoning you to go work with Claudia and Gustav?
Hiedi, facade slipping: No.
Hassell: Ok, well, guess I’ll be checking your phone records! Have a nice day, god bless!
In the office, Clooves continues to get his steps in in the most aggro way possible, running over with some printouts to tell mom and dad that the case just got interesting. Apparently, Ed famously claimed to be “bi-celibate” and yet Clooves found a whole lot of pictures Ed and Pink Shirt Girl canoodling, in a distinctly non-celibate way. Before he started vlogging, he posted about their couple stuff all the time on his blog, in fact. All the details, including a LOT of emails from Pink Shirt Girl documenting their breakup, were still on Ed’s computer, just waiting to be retrieved by a tech. And getting viciously dumped? That’s a motive. Given that, someone else just made the subject list: Gustav ALSO used to sleep with Ed. It’s worth investigating, so Clooves is assigned to look into Pink Shirt Girl, while Hassell follows up on Gustav. Woodsman Cop arrives late, but before Euro Cash can rip into him for being useless, he informs the squad that Big Cheese’s driver is in the hospital, barely alive. Woodsman Cop also has some new (to us) information: the driver’s mouth was taped and his eyes stitched, just like Ed.
Here’s the thing: given how weird and secretive Euro Cash and Big Cheese have been about their side quest to the courthouse, they’re either a) secretly married and fighting for custody of Trojan or b) dealing with something real that’s actually a huge bummer. Now, if I were a baddie trying to scare two steely goth cops, I might go ahead and send them a message by copy-catting their highly publicized current case, just so they know I’m watching them. But, you know, I’m not.
Anyway, Euro Cash is pissed that Big Cheese didn’t tell them about the attack on her driver, since it’s relevant to their shared secret. She claims it’s NBD, but come on, Cheese, we all know that’s garbage, especially since the driver was beaten in the way baddies do when they’re trying to make someone spill a secret, like, hypothetically, where Big Cheese is staying. Thankfully, we’re finally getting some crumbs of information, because while Euro Cash tells Big Cheese that while their Nemesis is in jail, his henchmen aren’t, and will do their henchman thing if they find out about courthouse sidequest, Hassell does a quick Google on Nemesis. The courthouse sidequest was actually our friends attending Nemesis’ trial, which he lost. Euro Cash tries to pretend like the situation doesn’t impact him, and he was just there to support Big Cheese, but everyone sees through that bologna.
In all the excitement, Euro Cash forgot to pick up Drunkie Howser at the graffiti. Drunkie Howser doesn’t really care, because he found some youths willing to share their jazz cigarettes with him. When Euro Cash calls, he gets this update: it’s not spray paint, it’s spray on fabric. Also, the angle of the writing suggests that the artist’s primary writing is done right to left, not left to right. Given that Dani and Heidi employee Syrian refugees (who would write in Arabic), Euro Cash has a new lead. He and Hassell head to the fashion house to follow it up, leaving Drunkie Howser with his new friends.
At the fashion house, Dani is alone. He claims everyone’s at their rival’s launch, and that their rivalry wasn’t that intense. He’s stayed behind to work. Dani is either aggressively naive or much sneakier than he looks, seeming to be completely unaware of any financial issues. He’s not developing any mushroom fiber, but thinks it’s a cool idea. Lest we think this interview is a complete bust, Euro Cash finds a canister of spray-on fabric, and the name of the person who’s station the canister is on: Chacko, whom Dani says is their best draftsman, which I guess tracks for someone who’s also probably Dutch Banksy.
At the fashion show/launch, Lotta vlogs outside the building while a crowd, including, if I’m not mistaken, Chacko/Dutch Banksy, heads in. The one salmon clad person swimming upstream? Pink Shirt Girl, who apparently only ever dresses in her signature color. She’s clearly out of sorts. Back stage, Claudia pesters Gustav about whether he slept with Ed and tried to recruit Dani. He denies both, and runs off for some last minute fashion show stuff while she takes what I’m sure are just multivitamins and not sneakily poisoned pills. Outside, Euro Cash and Hassell pull up, planning to interrogate Chacko/Dutch Banksy. On the way in, Hassell gets Heidi’s phone records, which show that she texted someone a meeting location (Lev’s) the day before.
Gustav opens the show with an overblown speech about how their new pants foster connectivity and are recyclable. He comes across as very cool and interesting, which only makes his creep behaviour earlier more stark. Lotta comes in late and joins almost everyone in whipping out her camera to record. Conspicuously not filming? Chacko/Dutch Banksy, who definitely notices when Hassell and Euro Cash come in, and then runs. They chase him, missing the actually interesting thing happening downstairs: Claudia dazedly wandering onto the catwalk and then choking to death. I hate to say I told you so, but…
In the aftermath, the rest of the team arrives on the scene. Woodsman Cops’ attempts to take home a model are shut down when Euro Cash hands him Chacko/Dutch Banksy to take back to the station. Drunkie Howser confirms that Claudia was poisoned with cyanide after smelling almonds on her breath. In the corner, Clooves happens upon Lotta, taking a selfie video about what just went down. He asks her to stop, and when she doesn’t, he confiscates her phone, even though he clearly feels awful about it. Euro Cash and Hassell talk with Gustav, who confirms that he did have a relationship with Ed, and that Claudia knew he wasn’t a monogamy kind of guy. They sure weren’t making experimental mushroom fabric, because their line only did sustainable stuff because it was a PR win. Euro Cash theorizes that Gustav killed Ed and Claudia; Gustav counters that maybe his enemies took out people close to him.
Back at the station, Euro Cash and Hassell sweat Dutch Banksy in interrogation. This whole thing isn’t looking great for him, but let’s be real, we’re too early into the episode for him to be the murderer.
Dutch Banksy: I hate everything about fashion, marketing, influencers. These people are self-obsessed and wealthy while my family is stuck in a refugee camp.
Euro Cash: If you’re innocent, why run?
Dutch Banksy: Duh, everyone thinks I’m guilty!
Hassell: I mean fair enough. What’s with the name?
Dutch Banksy: It’s commentary on western faith.
Euro Cash, internally: Oh damn, Scruffy Regular Frank was right!
On the way to visit Drunkie Howser, Euro Cash pretends to Hassell that he just knew about the whole Omega 616 thing on his own (rude). On arrival, Drunkie Howser confirms that his earlier assessment was correct.
Further, the poison took effect quickly, and was disguised as the drugs Claudia regularly took, so the killer must have known her fairly well; well enough to know who her dealer was. The poisoner also wasn’t a risk-taker: all the pills were laced. While Euro Cash eyes the pills and contemplates getting out of this conversation in the most dramatic way possible, Drunkie Howser moves on to discussing what happened to Big Cheese’s driver. As I expected, the eyelid sewing was copycat nonsense, and very painful copycat nonsense at that.
At the Bariefing room, Hassell tells Woodsman Cop that Claudia had a burner phone for talking to Heidi, which she figured out while Euro Cash and Drunkie Hoswer snarked at each other earlier. She also tells him that they met at a place called Lev, and that he better figure out where that is. Rather than drink with his coworkers, Euro Cash leaves, though not, I suspect, to hook up with Resourceful Law Student like Hassell jokes. Clooves, who IS staying to drink with the crew, asks what we’ve all be wondering: what’s the deal with Euro Cash and Nemesis?
Hassell: Ok, here’s the deal: Nemesis was a corrupt senior cop. Big Cheese and Euro Cash took him out, and he and his son are both big mad about it. There was a car chase, and Nemesis deliberately crashed his car into the one Euro Cash was driving.
Clooves: Oh man, and Big Cheese was in the car?
Drunkie Howser, changing the subject: More booze, Cliff Bar.
At a different bar, Euro Cash confronts Nemesis’ son, or as we know him, Mysterious Earring Guy.
Euro Cash: I know what you did.
Mysterious Earring Guy: Yeah, back at ya — I know YOU pressured the judge to keep my daddy in jail. That’s corrupt!
Euro Cash: Takes one to know one, kid.
Mysterious Earring Guy, threateningly: You know what it’s like to lose someone you love.
Euro Cash: Look, the whole eyelid thing was really messed up. Quit it.
Mysterious Earring Guy:
At the station, Hassell checks in on Big Cheese, and tattles on Euro Cash for hiding the hearing. They agree that Euro Cash can best be summed up like so:
On his boat, Euro Cash talks with Resourceful Law Student. She’s got some questions, mostly: what was he doing at the hearing given that cops don’t normally show up for stuff like that; but also, does he know that she, like Hassell, knows how to use the internet, and looked up the case? As usual, Euro Cash refuses to talk about it in favor of some weird existential small talk which presumably leads to sex.
The next morning, he picks up Hassell, who also got lucky last night. Their luck doesn’t hold, however, because immediately upon entering the office they’re besieged by Big Cheese, who’s mad because Claudia’s death has gone public. She’s MORE annoyed that he set up surveillance on her, even though for once I think Euro Cash made the right call there. He perpetuates the chain of yelling, asking Woodsman Cop and Clooves who leaked the Claudia thing.
Clooves: Uhhhh… I might have mentioned it to a few people.
Euro Cash: How many?
Clooves: Well, see, I confiscated Lotta’s phone at the crime scene. And mentioned that it was a crime scene. And, um, she was live vlogging when I did that, so… a lot of people. BUT I made up for it by looking at all the footage. Pink Shirt Girl wasn’t there, but she signed in, so she was there at some point!
Woodsman Cop, not subtle: Oooh, so your date went well huh?
Euro Cash: Probably you shouldn’t mess with me when you haven’t finished your chores.
Woodsman Cop: Aha, but I did finish my chores! Lev’s is short for “Elevenses,” a fancypants cafe, and I have security footage of Claudia and Heidi meeting there.
The day before Claudia was killed, they fought, and the day before that, it looks like Claudia passed something to Heidi — a payoff to kill Ed? The cafe is definitely close enough to Ed’s place to walk over in time to kill him. Euro Cash and Hassell question Heidi, who really doesn’t want to talk about these coffee dates, especially not when Dani is there. Under his bright eyed and bushy tailed questioning, some details come out: they're financially screwed, and Dani is too all over the place to see it. The envelope was money to pay the staff, and she didn’t tell Dani because an investment like that in a failing company is questionably legal. Also, the money was an advance on Heidi’s new salary at… their rival company, where Heidi would be leading up new sustainable initiatives.
Dani: But I need you! You taught me everything I know!
Heidi: You don’t listen to me anyway! And regardless, we all know you were going to partner up with Gustav!
Dani: OMG I turned him down!
Euro Cash: Sorry, but that new stuff you were going to be working on: mushroom-related?
Heidi: Uh, yes? How did you know?
Dani: I’m storming off!
Euro Cash: Here’s the thing — either YOU stitched Ed’s eyes, or it was someone you worked with on the mushroom fabric. So talk.
Heidi: Claudia was freaking out. She knew the stitching would come back to us. Anyway, I talked her down, and I was still going to take the new job. Until, ya know, Claudia got murdered. Oh yeah, and since it’s relevant: she was gonna fire Gustav and give me his job.
Across town, Woodsman Cop and Clooves knock on Pink Shirt Girl’s door. She doesn’t come to the door because, to put it delicately, she’s very high. Euro Cash and Hassell walk into Gustav’s office to question him and find him hooking up with a bright young thing in his office chair.
Gustav: Oh hi. Here’s the thing: they were going to try and get rid of me, but it wouldn’t have worked. I was going to poach Dani, but he’s kind of a doofus. Doesn’t matter, I would have found someone. And I found out about it because Claudia was... not subtle, especially when she was high.
Hassell: What about Pink Shirt Girl?
Gustav: Please, she knows nothing.
Hassell: Then why was she here yesterday, to accuse you of murder?
Gustav: Whatever, I’m not scared of her. Ed only slept with her for her info, which I leaked. She freaked out when she found out.
Euro Cash: Wow, you really suck. And that’s ME saying that.
Gustav: Creative geniuses get to be jerks; haven’t you seen Mad Men?
Hassell, on the phone to the boys: Go back to Pink Shirt Girl’s place. Now.
They do, and just in the nick of time, breaking down the door to find her passed out. Clooves finds the drugs, which thankfully aren’t cyanide. Pink Shirt Girl keeps mumbling “total angel” at Woodsman Cop, and no, she’s not hitting on him: the pills she took are stamped with a TA.
Across town, things are heating up for Big Cheese. She’s visiting Mysterious Earring Guy in that same bar, but has been escorted into the basement for a chat. She’s pretty self assured for someone who’s in a tactically crappy position, but it seems like Mysterious Earring Guy is mostly into showboaty soliloquies so she might just be ok.
Mysterious Earring Guy: I guess it’s time for some additional exposition… how does Euro Cash cope with betraying his mentor and father figure/my actual dad?
Big Cheese: Stop messing with my guys. If you need a punching bag, I’m right here. Anyway, you’re not going to do anything without daddy’s approval.
Mysterious Earring Guy: Oh wow, you’ve miscalculated. See, my dad’s into chess, and I’m more of a lawn darts kinda guy.
Big Cheese: Weirdly not as intimidating as you want it to be, son. Be a good boy, will you?
Mysterious Earring Guy: Got it, so you’re here to defend Euro Cash. Guess he just moved to the top of my kill list!
Back at the office, an oblivious Euro Cash leads the team through a discussion of the subjects. We all agree that Gustav is disgusting and hateful, so we all kind of want him to be a murderer so he can go to jail. Heidi and Pink Shirt Girl are also still on the list. Clooves? He’s distracted by being a genius, and figuring out that much like the various characters in Dan Brown novels, Lotta Nagel is a fan of anagrams. She’s Total Angel. Euro Cash, not a total angel, is unimpressed and crappy about it.
After that disaster of a basement meeting, Big Cheese gets surveillance put on Euro Cash. He’ll love that, almost as much as he loves Hassell’s (and let’s face it, my) continued questions about why he’s such a jerk to Clooves. Euro Cash insists that it’s just a gut instinct, but when pressed reveals that he did some digging and found out that Clooves’ mum/excuse to avoid team outings died almost a decade ago.
Inside, Lotta insists that she’s not a dealer, but merely a delivery person for the drugs. Hassell and Euro Cash aren’t messing around, and threaten to bring the drug squad over to search her place.
Euro Cash: Did you mess with Claudia’s drugs?
Lotta: No, and anyone who knew about her habit (i.e. everyone) could have done it.
Euro Cash: Who else in this episode do you deal to?
Lotta: Dani, but he’s clean now. Drugs made him paranoid.
Euro Cash: Huh, guess we’re double-checking his alibi. Look, Lotta, does your place have a back exit? I have to ditch my protective detail because I’m a hypocrite.
Outside Dani and Heidi’s place, Woodsman Cop gives Clooves crap for having a crush on Lotta, because he is also a hypocrite. Clooves tries to get Woodsman Cop to spill the dirt on the big car crash, and when Woodsman Cop clams up, Clooves shares his theory: there was someone else in the car. Before Woodsman Cop can confirm that, Dani and Heidi come outside and they set off.
Big Cheese gets home. She doesn’t realize she’s being watched, at first, but then notices her new RIP doormat (creepy move, Mysterious Earring Guy). Instead of calling for backup for herself, she asks about Euro Cash’s tail, who, of course, he’s ditched in order to sneak into Dani and Heidi’s fashion house with Hassell and, for some reason, Dutch Banksy. Big Cheese isn’t completely unprepared — she’s got a gun hidden in her cookie jar. She takes it outside to approach the car lurking in front of her house and finds a napping Drunkie Howser, who’s been sent to watch her, with only a scalpel to defend himself.
Big Cheese: Cute. Well, good thing you’re here, we need to go find Euro Cash.
They drive off, not realizing that they’re being followed. Speaking of following, Woodsman Cop and Clooves follow Heidi and Dani to a restaurant, much to the always hungry Woodsman Cop’s chagrin. Lucky for him, Clooves brought him a stakeout snack.
Back at the fashion house, Hassell confirms that Dani’s alibi was a whole lie. Euro Cash asks Dutch Banksy if Dani left the office any time the day before. He sure did, and he had plenty of time to lace Claudia’s drugs. Just for fun, they also go into Heidi’s office, where Euro Cash finds a briefcase of fungus fabric in the ceiling. Dani knew about it, and lied about that too.
Euro Cash and Hassell drive up to Woodsman Cop and Clooves just as Big Cheese calls asking where they are. She tells Clooves to put Euro Cash on the line, but he refuses, scampering off to do Euro Cash’s bidding. Euro Cash and Hassell take the elevator up to the restaurant, but make Clooves and Woodsman Cop take the stairs, and then sit outside on door duty. Inside, they confront Dani and Heidi.
Heidi: Dude, we’re having a team dinner, please leave.
Dani: We made up! Heidi is staying with me and I’m gonna turn it around.
Euro Cash: Cool, so that’s all you ever wanted, right?
Outside, Woodsman Cop gets a call from Drunkie Howser, who says he’s pulling up, and he’s not alone.
Woodsman Cop, sticking his foot in it: Ooooooh, who’s your hot date, you dirty bird?
Big Cheese: Your boss, dumbass. Where’s Euro Cash?
Woodsman Cop: He’s busy.
Big Cheese: Don’t care, go get him.
Clooves, the only one who ever pays attention: Uhhhhh, guys? Who’s in that other car?
Mysterious Earring Guy: Oh hi!! So, I’mma have my one of my goons watch you guys at gunpoint while the rest of us go kill your buddy. Byeeeee!!
Woodsman Cop: Yeah, that looks bad. Clooves, go warn Euro Cash.
Inside, Euro Cash and Hassell keep on interrogating the fashionistas, telling Heidi that Dani had found out she was going to leave through Ed. It all comes out: Dani knew that if Ed made the announcement about Heidi, it’d become real, so he killed Ed and tried to warn Claudia off at the same time. But Claudia wouldn’t back down.
Euro Cash: Cool, ok well we’re gonna arrest you now!
Clooves, running in: Hi, we have a problem.
Euro Cash: Such as?
Woodsman Cop, outside:
Bad Guy 1:
Clooves: The armed gunmen kind of problem?
Inside, Hassell and Clooves get everyone down and away from the windows. Euro Cash tells Woodsman Cop to cuff Dani and figure out weapon ideas. Clooves, ever resourceful, goes for a frying pan, while Hassell and Euro Cash go outside with their guns.
Euro Cash ties to get the baddies to leave, since they only want him, but no dice. He shoots one of them in the leg, while Hassell gets into some pretty solidly choreographed hand-to-hand combat with one of the goons. Woodsman Cop heads out to try and help, leaving Clooves to watch the door. In the shuffle, Dani runs out before Clooves can stop him and gets killed in the crossfire. Woodsman Cop tries to back up Hassell, but he’s pinned down.
Downstairs in the car, Big Cheese and Drunkie Howser conspire to stab their goon with the scalpel from earlier, disarm him, and head up to help.
Euro Cash gets into a faceoff with Mysterious Earring Guy, and tries to talk him down, offering to help his dad’s legal case. Mysterious Earring Guy tells him to drop his gun, and when Euro Cash sees that Clooves is below him on the stairs, he decides to trust him and drops the gun. Big Cheese takes out the guy who’s shooting at Woodsman Cop, who runs over and conks the guy fighting Hassell on the head. Mysterious Earring Guy moves in on Euro Cash, but Clooves gets there in time to take him out. He’s rattled, seeing as this is the first person he’s shot, but seems to do better after he FINALLY gets a kind word from Euro Cash.
Later, they take over the Bariefing room, except for Euro Cash, who’s off being mysterious. Woodsman Cop tries to hand Clooves a beer, but he begs off to “look after his mum” as usual. Hassell tries to give him an opening to come clean, but he turns it down. Once he’s gone, they all acknowledge the elephant in the room, which is that Euro Cash can’t get over a woman named Arlette, whom I think we had all already concluded was the other person in the car wreck before we got a VERY SAD flashback scene to confirm it. The show ends with Euro Cash semi-hopefully watching the sunset. Frankly, given what we just saw, semi-hopeful seems fair!
So, we already know that Van Der Valk has been renewed for another season, but it’s not clear when it’ll happen. In the meantime, here’s what I’m semi-hopeful we’ll see when it returns:
- Trojan. Duh.
- The continued cute teamup of Drunkie Howser and Big Cheese.
- Scruffy Regular Frank doing everyone’s jobs for them.
- Fabulous goth outfits from Hassell and Euro Cash.
- And most importantly of all, SO MUCH MORE of my all-time favorite, and the real MVP of this series, Clooves.
While we wait around for Season 2 — and it might be a long wait, due to the pandemic — never fear: I’ll be recapping Pride and Prejudice (yes, the Ehle/Firth one) next!