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Wire in the Blood

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Wire in the Blood
GenreCrime drama
Written byVal McDermid (novels)
StarringRobson Green
Hermione Norris
Simone Lahbib
Mark Letheren
Emma Handy
Tom Chadbon
Peter Sullivan
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series6
No. of episodes24
Executive producerSandra Jobling
ProducerPhilip Leach
EditorKeith Palmer
Running time90 mins. (Series 2–5)
60 mins. (Series 1 and 6)
Original release
Release14 November 2002 (2002-11-14) –
31 October 2008 (2008-10-31)

Wire in the Blood is a British crime drama television series, created and produced by Coastal Productions with Tyne Tees Television and broadcast on ITV from 14 November 2002 to 31 October 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.


  • Robson Green as Dr. Anthony "Tony" Hill
  • Hermione Norris as DCI Carol Jordan (Series 1–3)
  • Simone Lahbib as DI Alex Fielding (Series 4–6)
  • Mark Letheren as DS Kevin Geoffries (Series 1–6)
  • Emma Handy as DC Paula McIntyre (Series 2–6)
  • Tom Chadbon as ACC John Brandon (Series 1–2)
  • Peter Sullivan as ACC Paul Eden (Series 3–4)
  • Alan Stocks as DS Don Merrick (Series 1–2)
  • Doreene Blackstock as DS Annie Reiss (Series 1)
  • Elaine Claxton as Maggie Thomas (Series 1)
  • Mark Penfold as Dr. Ashley Vernon (Series 1–5)
  • Michael Smiley as Dr. Liam Kerwin (Series 6)
  • Jethro Skinner as Tim Eccles (Series 3–5)
  • Barry King as PC.Barry (Series 1-4)


  • Dr. Tony Hill (Robson Green) is a clinical psychologist whose expertise with damaged minds has proved invaluable to the police. Intelligent and endearing, if somewhat eccentric, he is driven by a tangible sense of right and wrong and his understanding of human behaviour enables him to empathize strongly with both victim and killer. Tony formed a close bond with Carol Jordan, between them putting many serial killers behind bars. As such, he was devastated to learn that she had left Bradfield to work in South Africa. Despite his often bizarre behaviour, Tony's ability to get results when evidence is scarce has won him the support of Jordan's successor, Alex Fielding, who eventually trusts him as part of her team. But Tony's involvement with the police often affects him deeply as he finds it difficult to distance himself from disturbing cases. The plastic "blue bag" that Tony is often seen with was gleaned from Green's research for the series, which involved spending time with criminal psychologist Julian Boon. Green described Boon in part as an "extraordinary, intelligent, nice guy who carried his life in a blue bag and traveled on a double-decker bus. No one looked at him twice."
  • D.C.I. Carol Jordan (Hermione Norris) (Series 1–3) is a hardworking officer who forms a close relationship with Tony, successfully working with him to secure the arrest of several killers. In series two's "Right to Silence", Carol is promoted from Detective Inspector to Detective Chief Inspector. Although the two soon grow close, they never achieve the romantic relationship that Carol desires with Tony and in the end, Carol leaves Bradfield to take a position in South Africa. Speaking of Norris's portrayal of Carol Jordan, Val McDermid said that she "brings real intelligence and insight to her role, demonstrating that there's a lot more to her skills than we got to see in Cold Feet."[2]
  • D.I. Alex Fielding (Simone Lahbib) (Series 4–6) is a senior detective and a dedicated professional, always willing to put in the hours to get the case solved. Her warmth and down-to-earth style have gained her the respect of her police colleagues and Tony. She has learned to trust that Tony's intuition can sometimes mean the key to cracking a case when physical evidence is hard to come by. But the pressure of working on murder investigations sometimes causes a strain at home where she is a single mum to young Ben. When the stresses of life take their toll, she finds it difficult to ask for help.
  • D.S. Kevin Geoffries (Mark Letheren) has proved himself a worthy member of the team, despite a few indiscretions and lapses in judgement. After a rocky start he comes to respect Tony, believing he can offer an extra dimension to the investigations. Kevin works closely with Paula McIntyre, and their professional bond has made them good friends.
  • D.C. Paula McIntyre (Emma Handy) is a lively and feisty young detective. She is not fazed easily and is keen to take on more responsibility and pleased to have strong role models in Carol and later, Alex. She also has a deep respect for Tony after he saved her life while on the job.
  • A.C.C. John Brandon (Tom Chadbon) (Series 1–2) is an excellent and experienced senior officer, but one who is shown to be more concerned with ends rather than means. Brandon is shown to expect quick results from the team and from Carol in particular, though he tries to back her as much as he can. In "Sharp Compassion", Brandon suffers a heart attack and nearly becomes a victim of a serial killer. Although his character continues to appear in the novels, Brandon only appeared in the first two series. A.C.C. Paul Eden replaces Brandon from series three onwards. Eden is college-educated, fast-tracked and confident. Focused, tailored and practical, he demands tangible results and is wary of Tony's more cerebral methods. He secretly hopes Alex will not become as close to Tony as Carol did.
  • D.S. Don Merrick (Alan Stocks) (1–2) is a persistent and perseverant officer. While generally conscientious, his temper occasionally gets the better of him, leading to impulsive behaviour. At the end of the second series, Merrick assaults Kevin Geoffries after he compromises one of his closest informants. It is assumed that this leads to his demotion or relocation; he does not appear in any later episodes.
  • D.S. Annie Reiss (Doreene Blackstock) (Series 1) is an Afro-British detective who is part of Jordan's team. Reiss only appears in the first series, after which she is replaced by Paula McIntyre (Emma Handy) (Series 2–6).
  • Dr. Ashley Vernon (Mark Penfold) (Series 1–5) is the police medical examiner.
  • Dr. Liam Kerwin (Michael Smiley) (Series 6) replaces Ashley Vernon in the sixth and final series.
  • Tim Eccles (Jethro Skinner) (Series 3–5) is the police's resident IT expert.


Only four episodes are based on McDermid's books: "The Mermaids Singing" and "Shadows Rising" from series one, "Torment" from series four, and "Falls the Shadow" from series six. The rest are original stories created for television.

Series overview[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1314 November 2002 (2002-11-14)19 December 2002 (2002-12-19)
2412 February 2004 (2004-02-12)4 March 2004 (2004-03-04)
3421 February 2005 (2005-02-21)14 March 2005 (2005-03-14)
4420 September 2006 (2006-09-20)11 October 2006 (2006-10-11)
5511 July 2007 (2007-07-11)7 January 2008 (2008-01-07)
6412 September 2008 (2008-09-12)31 October 2008 (2008-10-31)

Series 1 (2002)[edit]

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 Eshott Hall (Northumberland) which was used for the Vance residence.

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateBritish viewers
11"The Mermaids Singing"Andrew GrievePatrick Harbinson14 November 2002 (2002-11-14)
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.
22"Shadows Rising"Nicholas LaughlandAlan Whiting28 November 2002 (2002-11-28)
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?
33"Justice Painted Blind"Roger GartlandAlan Whiting12 December 2002 (2002-12-12)
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 pedophile 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)[edit]

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.

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateBritish viewers
41"Still She Cries"Andrew GrieveAlan Whiting12 February 2004 (2004-02-12)5.50[3]
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.
52"The Darkness of Light"Nicholas LaughlandAlan Whiting19 February 2004 (2004-02-19)6.20[3]
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.
63"Right to Silence"Andrew GrieveJeff Povey26 February 2004 (2004-02-26)6.20[3]
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?
74"Sharp Compassion"Terry McDonaghNiall Leonard4 March 2004 (2004-03-04)6.00[3]
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)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateBritish viewers
81"Redemption"Terry McDonaghGuy Burt21 February 2005 (2005-02-21)7.12[3]
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?
92"Bad Seed"Alex PillaiNiall Leonard28 February 2005 (2005-02-28)7.94[3]
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.
103"Nothing But the Night"Andrew GrieveAlan Whiting7 March 2005 (2005-03-07)7.54[3]
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.
114"Synchronicity"Terry McDonaghNiall Leonard14 March 2005 (2005-03-14)7.10[3]
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)[edit]

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.

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateBritish viewers
121"Time to Murder and Create"Andy GoddardPatrick Harbinson20 September 2006 (2006-09-20)6.51[3]
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 realize they need to work together to solve a complex murder case.
132"Torment"Declan O'DwyerGuy Burt27 September 2006 (2006-09-27)6.04[3]
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.
143"Hole in the Heart"A.J. QuinnNiall Leonard4 October 2006 (2006-10-04)6.07[3]
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.
154"Wounded Surgeon"Peter HoarPatrick Harbinson11 October 2006 (2006-10-11)5.43[3]
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)[edit]

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.

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateBritish viewers
161"The Colour of Amber"Peter HoarAlan Whiting11 July 2007 (2007-07-11)6.26[3]
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?
172"Nocebo"Paul WhittingtonNiall Leonard18 July 2007 (2007-07-18)5.01[3]
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.
183"The Names of Angels"Richard StandevenAlan Whiting25 July 2007 (2007-07-25)5.16[3]
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?
194"Anything You Can Do"Peter HoarNiall Leonard1 August 2007 (2007-08-01)5.22[3]
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 realizes 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?
205"Prayer of the Bone"Peter HoarPatrick Harbinson7 January 2008 (2008-01-07)6.66[3]
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)[edit]

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

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateBritish viewers
211"Unnatural Vices"Peter HoarNiall Leonard12 September 2008 (2008-09-12)
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.
222"Falls the Shadow"Richard Curson SmithCharlie Fletcher26 September 2008 (2008-09-26)
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.
233"From the Defeated"Declan O'DwyerSimon Block10 October 2008 (2008-10-10)
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.
244"The Dead Land"Phillip JohnAlan Whiting24 October 2008 (2008-10-24)
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[edit]

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. The show is currently available on the Hulu Streaming service in the U.S. It began running on Acorn TV in 2018. The show is also now available on the streaming service BritBox. The series is also available on Acorn TV in Canada in 2023.[4]

Home releases[edit]

Region 2 is distributed by Revelation Films, Region 1 by Koch Vision and Region 4 by Magna. In 2019, Via Vision Entertainment obtained the rights to the series in Australia, Region 4.

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 Collection (Limited Edition) 4 January 2010
Wire in the Blood - Case Files: The Complete Collection 12 April 2010
Wire in the Blood - The Complete Series 30 November 2009 21 August 2013 16 November 2011
Wire in the Blood - Seasons 1-3 3 April 2019
Wire in the Blood - Seasons 4-6 6 June 2019
Wire in the Blood - The Complete Collection 1 January 2020

Awards and nominations[edit]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rushton, Katherine (6 February 2009). "Wire in the Blood axed". Broadcast.
  2. ^ "Wire in the Blood…". ValMcDermid.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae "Weekly top 30 programmes". BARB.co.uk. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Wire in the Blood". www.britbox.co.uk. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d "Awards for Wire in the Blood". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 13 May 2014.

External links[edit]