Wire in the Blood

Wire in the Blood

Series titlecard
Genre Crime drama
Written by Val McDermid (novels)
Starring Robson Green
Hermione Norris
Simone Lahbib
Mark Letheren
Emma Handy
Tom Chadbon
Peter Sullivan
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 24 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Sandra Jobling
Producer(s) Philip Leach
Running time 90 mins. (Series 2-5)
60 mins. (Series 1 & 6)
Production company(s) Coastal Productions
Original network ITV
Picture format 16:9
Original release 14 November 2002 (2002-11-14) – 31 October 2008 (2008-10-31)
External links
Production website

Wire in the Blood is a British crime drama television series, created and produced by Coastal Productions for the ITV network that ran from 2002 to 2008. The series is based on characters created by Val McDermid, including a university clinical psychologist, Dr Anthony "Tony" Valentine Hill (Robson Green), who is able to tap into his own dark side to get inside the heads of serial killers. Working with detectives, Hill takes on tough and seemingly impenetrable cases in an attempt to track down the killers before they strike again.

ITV cancelled the series in 2009, citing high production costs (which were estimated at up to £750,000 per episode) and the large number of new series being broadcast on the network.[1]


The series is set in the fictional town of Bradfield, which is assumed to lie within West Yorkshire. It follows the Major Incident Team (MIT) of Bradfield Metropolitan Police's CID and the assistance provided to the detectives by clinical psychologist and serial offender profiler Dr. Tony Hill. All of the main episodes revolve around a serial killer whom Hill helps to track down by means of a profile, based on the killer's actions.

From Series 1 to 3, the MIT is headed by Detective Inspector (Chief Inspector from Series 2) Carol Jordan. The two develop a close relationship, which is further explored in McDermid's novels, in which Jordan is always head of the MIT. In the first episode of Series 4, Jordan is replaced - without real explanation - by Detective Inspector Alex Fielding, who (despite being initially hesitant to accept Tony's support) eventually develops an equally close relationship.

A constant theme is Carol’s, and later Alex's, struggle with their senior officers, who are often less trusting of Tony's eccentric methods and far-fetched theories than Carol and Alex. There is also a romantic storyline showing a growing development in Tony’s relationships with both Carol and later Alex. Whilst starting as friendships, both detectives begin to develop romantic feelings for Tony, although these feelings never develop into a relationship.



Episode list

Only the first two episodes of the first series, "The Mermaids Singing" and "Shadows Rising", the second episode of series four, "Torment", and the second episode of series six, "Falls the Shadow", are based on McDermid's books; the rest are original plots written by others.

Series 1 (2002)

Filming took place from 22 October 2001 to 14 February 2002 in various locations around Newcastle upon Tyne, Durham and Northumberland, including Bollyhope Quarry (Durham), Chopwell Woods (Gateshead) and the fabulous Eshott Hall (Northumberland) which was used for the Vance residence.

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1"The Mermaids Singing"Patrick HarbinsonAndrew Grieve8.08m
14 November 2002
21 November 2002
Clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill is asked to help police track down the brutal killer of three men in Bradfield. DI Carol Jordan hopes his skill as a profiler will crack the case, but Tony’s off-beat methods cause others to dismiss him. When a cop is killed, the pressure for results mounts. Police focus on the gay scene, while Tony thinks the killer is sending a message on the body of his victim. Then the investigation takes a more personal turn.
2"Shadows Rising"Alan WhitingNicholas Laughland6.38m
28 November 2002
5 December 2002
When two teenagers’ bodies are pulled from a Northumberland tarn, Dr Tony Hill immediately suspects a multiple killer. DI Carol Jordan is called to the home of popular chat show hosts Jack and Amanda Vance, who fear they are being stalked. As the dead girls are identified as suspected runaways, the attacks on the Vances escalate dramatically. Could the two investigations be connected?
3"Justice Painted Blind"Alan WhitingRoger Gartland6.93m
12 December 2002
19 December 2002
The abduction of an 11-year-old girl and the strangulation of a young woman bring back memories of the murder of young Trudy Hibbert three years earlier. Known paedophile Paul Gregory was acquitted but police and locals fear he is killing again. Dr Tony Hill is convinced the attacks bear the hallmarks of a different killer – until a bizarre link suggests more deaths will follow.

Series 2 (2004)

The series was filmed in locations in and around Newcastle including the main location of the old Bank of England building in Pilgrim Street, Newcastle. Also used: Finchale Priory, Durham Cathedral, Calder's Brewery near the Newcastle Arena plus various temporary (daily) locations. Every episode of series two was the leader in its time slot.

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1"Still She Cries"Alan WhitingAndrew Grieve5.50m12 February 2004
Tony finds his work with the police compromised when a student from his university is abducted. But that’s not his only worry – Carol stops trusting him when he allows one of his own pupils to help with the investigation.
2"The Darkness of Light"Alan WhitingNicholas Laughland6.20m19 February 2004
Tony and Carol investigate when a 500-year-old skeleton in unearthed while foundations are being excavated for a hotel extension. However, underneath the body, they find two more modern corpses. And when a journalist vanishes, and the hotel is burnt to the ground, Tony suspects the suspect may be obsessed with Joan of Arc and killing imagined heretics.
3"Right to Silence"Jeff PoveyAndrew Grieve6.20m26 February 2004
Tony and Carol think they’ve scored early when two murders lead to one man. The trouble is that the man is in prison; could he really be controlling it all from the inside?
4"Sharp Compassion"Niall LeonardTerry McDonagh6.00m4 March 2004
Bradfield is in panic as someone preys on its most vulnerable – its hospital patients. Carol must juggle how to warn the public, and how to keep a predatory MI5 official at bay. The only way out is to solve the case fast – but there is very little to go on, even for Tony.

Series 3 (2005)

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1"Redemption"Guy BurtTerry McDonagh7.12m21 February 2005
Tony suspects a killer is luring unhappy children to their deaths when the bodies of three boys are found in different locations in Bradfield. Each of the victims had suffered abuse. Could the killer believe he or she is righting wrongs and alleviating suffering by ending their lives? Tony and Carol's investigation closes in on the work of a local minister. With another child's life at stake, will they be able to ensnare the murderer?
2"Bad Seed"Niall LeonardAlex Pillai7.94m28 February 2005
When a series of brutal murders rocks the town, Tony becomes obsessed with the notion that they are the work of William 'Mack the Knife' MacAdam, newly released from prison, apparently reformed and keen to take Tony's place as media pundit on serial killer cases.
3"Nothing But the Night"Alan WhitingAndrew Grieve7.54m7 March 2005
The murder of a woman, battered to death with a steam iron and ironing board, brings Tony back from a publicity tour for his latest book to join Carol's investigation. More bizarre but completely different deaths follow, and Tony is baffled, unable to create a profile for a seemingly schizophrenic killer. As he is stalked by a Canadian woman he met on the book tour, Tony realises they must focus on the relationships at work behind the crimes.
4"Synchronicity"Niall LeonardTerry McDonagh7.10m14 March 2005
Tony faces his own mortality when he is diagnosed with a brain tumour after being hit on the head by a criminal. While assisting Carol on an investigation into an anonymous sniper who is picking off victims in the city street, his behaviour becomes more erratic and his wild theories make Carol wonder if his health is making him unreliable. In a city gripped by fear, can random forces and chance save Tony – and help them catch this unpredictable killer.

Series 4 (2006)

Hermione Norris does not return as D.C.I. Carol Jordan, having accepted the role of Ros Myers in Spooks. Simone Lahbib joins the cast as her replacement, D.I. Alex Fielding. Jordan is explained as having emigrated to South Africa.

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1"Time to Murder and Create"Patrick HarbinsonAndy Goddard6.51m20 September 2006
Tony is forced to face up to his past demons once more when evidence that he submitted against a murder suspect is torn apart by his legal team. Tony's world is rocked once more when he discovers that Carol has been replaced by a new, combative and wily detective, Alex Fielding. Although the pair take an initial disliking to one another, they soon realise they need to work together to solve a complex murder case.
2"Torment"Guy BurtDeclan O'Dwyer6.04m27 September 2006
Tony and Alex investigate the violent murder of a young prostitute, but find that their prime suspect for the murder was incarcerated in a high security psychiatric unit at the time. Suspecting a link to an ongoing Vice operation, Alex teams up with squad detectives Shields & Mulligan. But when the next target becomes one of their own, Tony is forced to find the link between the killer and the outside world.
3"Hole in the Heart"Niall LeonardA.J. Quinn6.07m4 October 2006
Tony and Alex investigate a serial killer who leaves behind a trail of two bodies at every crime scene. Tony suspects that the murderer may have a link to religious zealotry, but struggles to see beyond his own lack of personal faith and religious disinterest. When Alex discovers the killings may be related to a disparate group intent on cleansing the human race, Tony is forced to see the light to crack the case.
4"Wounded Surgeon"Patrick HarbinsonPeter Hoar5.43m11 October 2006
Tony comes under scrutiny from both the police and the media when it is revealed that he made a serious error of judgement in a case over ten years ago, which resulted in the conviction of an innocent man for a series of murders. As each and every one of his cases is torn apart, he realises he must find the real killer in order to prevent him from losing the one thing he holds dear.

Series 5 (2007)

Filming for this series took place between January 15 and April 20, 2007. Prayer of the Bone was filmed in and around Austin and La Grange, Texas.

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1"The Colour of Amber"Alan WhitingPeter Hoar6.26m11 July 2007
When a young girl is abducted from a housing estate, Alex and Tony know they may only have hours to get her back alive. While Alex launches an Amber alert – a massive public appeal – Tony builds a profile of likely suspects. A distraught mother reports her daughter Janita as missing, but the Amber alert produces no information. Is the abduction all it seems?
2"Nocebo"Niall LeonardPaul Whittington5.01m18 July 2007
Alex and Tony investigate the murders of two young children, whose deaths bear signs of a ritual killing. Their investigation leads them to a laboratory where they find evidence of animal sacrifice and paintings in blood. As the investigation turns personal, Paula and Kevin find themselves under the influence of a curse, while Tony remains skeptical of the killer's ability.
3"The Names of Angels"Alan WhitingRichard Standeven5.16m25 July 2007
Tony is faced with a series of deadly puzzles when a killer rapes and strangles young female victims in Bradfield, but chooses to dress and identify them as young women he killed several years before in Europe. Why is he boasting to police about his past, leaving the bodies where they can easily be found? And why - and how - is he choosing confident, successful victims from the world of business, and killing them in Bradfield?
4"Anything You Can Do"Niall LeonardPeter Hoar5.22m1 August 2007
The murder of an elderly woman, suffocated in her own home, seems too deliberately staged to be an accident of robbery. And when Alex calls in Tony he realises that the killer will strike again. But could the deaths be connected to the sudden return of Tony’s old hero, respected psychologist Jonathan Goode?
5"Prayer of the Bone"Patrick HarbinsonPeter Hoar6.66m7 January 2008
Tony finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings when he travels to Texas to assist the local district attorney in the case of Darius Grady, who is accused of murdering his wife and two children.

Series 6 (2008)

Series six began filming in early 2008 and wrapped on 30 March.

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1"Unnatural Vices"Niall LeonardPeter Hoar5.93m
12 September 2008
19 September 2008
Tony and Alex investigate theories of honour killings, fetishism and cannibalism when human remains are found in wasteland. New team member Collins gets inextricably drawn into the case and Tony begins a personal battle with a serial killer.
2"Falls the Shadow"Charlie FletcherRichard Curson Smith5.03m
26 September 2008
3 October 2008
Tony becomes the prime suspect in a murder inquiry after a female friend he meets at a psychology convention is killed. Meanwhile, Alex is investigating a spate of prostitute murders – and Tony puts himself at risk trying to help.
3"From the Defeated"Simon BlockDeclan O'Dwyer5.07m
10 October 2008
17 October 2008
Tony gets caught up hunting a serial killer who is brutally slaughtering young men, and doesn’t realise that convicted murderer Michael is planning to escape from the secure unit – with devastating consequences.
4"The Dead Land"Alan WhitingPhillip John5.10m
24 October 2008
31 October 2008
Tony has to work with ambitious Oxbridge graduate DI Andy Hall when a killer starts targeting homeless men. Meanwhile, someone is stalking Tony. Could it be the cannibalistic serial killer, Michael?

International airings

The series has appeared in the United States on the cable channel BBC America, in Australia on the public channel ABC, and in New Zealand on TV 1. As of May 2014, the show is screening on British televisions on the channel ITV3.

DVD releases

Region 2 is distributed by Revelation Films, Region 1 by Koch Vision and Region 4 by Magna.

DVD name Release dates
Region 2 Region 1 Region 4
Wire in the Blood - The Complete Series 1
5 May 2003
22 June 2004
8 June 2004
Wire in the Blood - The Complete Series 2
5 March 2004
12 July 2005
9 September 2004
Wire in the Blood - The Complete Series 3
6 October 2006
7 February 2006
1 November 2005
Wire in the Blood - The Complete Series 4
22 October 2007
5 February 2008
9 April 2008
Wire in the Blood - The Complete Series 5
7 July 2008
10 June 2008
9 April 2008
Wire in the Blood - The Complete Series 6
2 March 2009
14 July 2009
3 March 2009
Wire in the Blood - The Complete Series
30 November 2009
21 August 2013
16 November 2011

Awards and nominations

Year Ceremony Awards References
Royal Television Society Awards
Winner of 'Best Network Production'
Edgar Allan Poe Awards
'Best Television Feature or Mini-Series Teleplay' - Alan Whiting
Edgar Allan Poe Awards
'Best Television Episode Teleplay' - Guy Burt (Redemption)
Edgar Allan Poe Awards
Winner of 'Best Television Episode Teleplay' - Patrick Harbinson (Prayer of the Bone)
Television and Radio Industries Club Awards
Nominated: TV Crime Programme - Philip Leach


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