'Van der Valk' Season 1 - TV Review

There was a previous British TV series by the same name that produced five series from 1972 to 1992. This is a review of the 2020 reboot, and it indirectly gives us a throw-back to the bad old days: this is a TV series that's filmed in a foreign country and the actors speak English as if that's the native language of the foreign country ... (Yes, English is commonly spoken in Amsterdam. Yes, they speak the language better than most native speakers of English. But the reality is that some of the people the police would speak with speak only Dutch.)

Marc Warren is Piet Van der Valk, a "Commissaris" ("Commissioner," not that that helps me much) in the Dutch police in Amsterdam. He has three staff working for him, a boss (who is a "Hoofdcommissaris"), and a forensic pathologist. They solve crimes (you were probably expecting that). The season is broken up into six episodes of about 45 minutes each - three stories, each spanning two episodes. Van der Valk is a grumpy asshole - who nevertheless has women propositioning him all the time.

Maybe a bit too violent for me, but I think this falls under my oft-repeated mantra about mysteries: I want to see detectives detecting, not fighting for their lives. Although the show got major points for the stabbing of one of the police officers: they approached someone a bit incautiously, were taken by surprise, stabbed once in the stomach. There was nothing heroic about it, they didn't fight after being stabbed, just crumpled and nearly died. This seems fairly accurate to me - as opposed to action movies where people take several major stab wounds and just keep on fighting. My other protest against the series was that the mysteries seemed excessively convoluted - although they did make sense in the end. The team of actors/characters they put together for the show is very appealing, and the filming in Amsterdam looks beautiful - including many places not seen on the tourist trail.