British six-part series released in 1998
about vampires in modern London, and a squad which hunts them. Played extremely straight: the vampires don't go around picking fights with people they know can kill them.
The good guys have weapons such as garlic gas grenades, carbon bullets and knives, and guns with video cameras on the side. UV vampires don't register on cameras, video or audio equipment, in addition to not having reflections. However, alarms do go off when they push past an Underground ticket barrier, and they can use keyboards.
Not to be confused with the Milla Jovovich Film Ultraviolet
from 2006, which features vampire-like mutants.Character Sheet
This series provides examples of:
- Abnormal Ammo: Almost to the point of Depleted Phlebotinum Shells - the good guys use graphite bullets and shrapnel grenades, plus refined garlic-gas grenades.
- Actually Not a Vampire: Michael shoots a suspect who's been avoiding the sun — turns out the guy was a criminal with the light-sensitive condition "xeroderma pigmentosum".
- The Ageless: All over the place (although most vampires we see were at least turned relatively recently), but a particularly twisted example is the Code 5's ensnaring a pedophile with a rare genetic disorder for use in their experiments by promising him a boy... who's really a fully fledged, and fully adult, vampire. Problem is, pedos get off on abusing the weak and unwilling - even though the vampire looked like jailbait, the freak didn't have much taste for a willing partner strong enough to kill him at any time. This resulted in him breaking quarantine, infecting a choirboy with a strain of mutated meningitis and leading the team right to him.
- Anchored Ship: There is a definite attraction between soldier Vaughan and scientist March but aside from a tender but hasty top-of-the-head kiss in a late episode nothing comes of it.
- Anti-Hero: All of the "good" guys frequently use questionably ethical methods to achieve a result. Given the stakes and who they're up against, it's rather justified.
- Benevolent Conspiracy/Government Conspiracy: The protagonists are working for it. Just because it's benevolent doesn't mean that it's not occasionally extremely creepy.
- Berserk Button: Mike intentionally tries to push Vaughn's in the first episode when he mocks him about the death of his squad in the Gulf war. Vaughn can be seen nervously checking the room for CCTV cameras until he's interrupted by Angie.
Michael: What have you got to lose? I don't think they do court martials in this place.
- British Brevity: In Britain, where six-episode seasons are common, it's not considered a miniseries.
- Chekhov's Gun: Vampires' ability to regenerate after being staked, set up in the first episode and referenced throughout the series with the vault but not actually seen until the first season finale.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Averted and played straight—other Christian denominations exist (CoE), but the only one ever shown in any depth is Roman Catholicism.
- Church Militant: Subverted. The Code V's claim that the squad is funded by the Vatican, but it's actually supported by the government; the Church "Doesn't like to talk about evil these days". Pearse is a militant Catholic priest, but it's implied that he lost his standing in the Church because of this.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: Vampires don't just harmlessly crumble into dust when they're "neutralised"; they explode. Violently.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- In the second episode, the girl with the broken back who is turned happens to look a lot like Jack's fiance, with whom Michael has some romantic tension. The "leeches" may have done this deliberately.
- In the fourth episode, the kid who attacks the priest has difficulty washing blood off his little hands.
- Do Wrong, Right: Vaughn's reaction in the fourth episode when Mike shoots a guy he incorrectly believes to be a vampire. Vaughn accepts that it was an honest mistake; what really angers him is that he missed the guy's heart — if you're going to shoot at something that can tear your head off like a toothpaste cap, you want to make damn sure you kill it first try.
- Economy Cast: The anti-vampire force consists of only four people with speaking parts: the leader, the scientist/doctor, the soldier, and the detective. They have a small team of soldiers. The Scotch Tape is that they can only recruit people who have received the Call to Adventure, summarised rather brilliantly by Pearse: "We can't make you believe - only they can do that."
- Fire-Forged Friends: Vaughn and (especially) Mike take an almost instant dislike to one another; by the end of the series they've developed a grudging respect for one another.
- Fish out of Water: Everyone besides Mike has been fighting the vampires for years and have the scars and PTSD to prove it. Mike's a little out of his depth compared to his (un)death squad teammates.
- Hannibal Lecture: In almost every episode, delivered either by vampires or their human sympathizers.
- Heroic BSOD: Mike gets one when he shoots a light-sensitive paedophile he thought was a vampire. It renders him unable to shoot the actual vampire — who appears to be a ten-year old boy.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode name is a common Latin phrase with some relevance to the plot.
- Immune to Bullets: Vampires, and how. Even the graphite bullets the hunters use can't slow vampires down unless they hit the heart.
- Improvised Weapon: Vaughan uses a vampire as an explosive to escape a warehouse. Yes, that's right, he weaponized his enemy.
- Instant People, Just Add Water: The dust from each staked vampire has to be locked away, because it's theoretically Instant Vampire Just Add Water — except, of course, that you do not add... water.
- Knight Templar: Certainly Pearse Harman (who is actually a priest) and Vaughan Rice, and arguably Angie March too. Michael Colefield, the new member, is the only one who seems to have any doubts about the team's mission or methods.
- Left Hanging: The series left a lot of loose ends.
- Left Your Lifesaver Behind: Michael rushes out to meet his Unrequited Love Interest, taking his Phlebotinum pistol but forgetting the video camera attachment used to identify vampires. This causes problems when he starts suspecting she's a vampire, but has no means of verifying it.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: "Code V"s do not reflect in mirrors or appear in cameras. The team uses video camera gunsights to identify vampires.
- My Beloved Smother: Angie March's remaining living daughter rankles at her mother's helicopter parenting and refusal to let her join the school basketball team as that would mean being out of doors after dark. If she knew what really happened to her father and sister she mightn't have so much of a problem with it.
- My Grandson Myself: A vampire is revealed to be using this trick in one episode.
- Naïve Newcomer: Michael.
- Not Using the Zed Word: The vampires are only ever referred to as "Code 5". Think Roman numerals and you'll get it. Vaughan prefers to call them "leeches".
- Our Vampires Are Different: So are our vampire hunters.
- Look just like humans, without even fangs.
- Don't age, have superhealing.
- Cannot be recorded/transmitted by any audio-visual means: can't even be heard over telephones and have to use computer voice synthesizers. The hunters use video-camera gunsights to distinguish between humans and vampires. Ink's just like any other medium, so you can't even take a vamp's fingerprints.
- Severely burned by sunlight, and sunlight burns never heal.
- Can be killed by the usual staking/beheading options (and in a modern twist, by carbon bullets). Allergic to garlic, though they can suppress its effects temporarily.
- When killed turn to dust with a violently explosive energy discharge that causes serious damage to anyone or anything too close.
- So violent, in fact, that in one episode a character blasts open a door by using a vamp with carbon bullets in its heart as an IED - a vamp locked in a steel coffin.
- Attempting to draw blood results in a vial of air.
- OTOH, they can open a vein in their wrist and produce blood at will, which will regenerate a dusted vampire.
- Cannot usually reproduce sexually, but are experimenting by inserting vampire DNA into human sperm cells and are inseminating living women with the results.
- Saliva has distinctive properties:
- Bites heal instantly without scarring, but can be detected with UV light.
- Unless the bite is sterilized with UV lasers, you become "suggestible". The treatment causes the bite to scar.
- If they drain you dry, you turn into a vampire.
- Paedophile Priest: In "Mea Culpa" a 12-year old boy kills a priest and the team is sent to investigate if the killing is vampire-related. The priest in charge of the team gets annoyed when Michael thinks it's child abuse-related, lampshading the paedophile Catholic priest cliché. Subverted at the end when it turns out the priest was innocent and vampires were involved, yet Harman cynically allows the public to believe the priest was a paedophile to maintain the Masquerade, and coincidentally keep the boy out of Juvie.
- Post-Modern Magik: The team focuses on trying to beat the vampires with science. The vampires return the favor.
- Redemption Quest: Vaughn is the only survivor of a military unit attacked by vampires, and carries a lot of guilt about having escaped by running away.
- Refusal of the Call: Mike, in the first episode.
- Scary Black Man: Vaughan is very scary, and a Badass; he's an ex-soldier and the only remaining member of his squad from the Gulf War.
- Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Vaughan, in "Terra Incognita".
- Secret Keeper: Frances.
- Staking the Loved One: Michael is faced with the prospect of having to do this to Kirsty with Jack, who was his close friend.
- The Stoic: Vaughan.
- Super Window Jump: Mike performs one in the first episode to escape the "death squad".
- That Poor Car: When a vampire explodes in Mike's house — long story — in "In Nomine Patris".
- Time Bomb: The set piece of a late episode is a character trapped in a warehouse surrounded by coffins containing Code 5's, each with an LED counter ticking down to sunset.
- The Virus: What vampiric infection is treated as.
- Welcome Episode: "Habeas Corpus"
- The World Is Not Ready: The vampire hunters keep their mouths shut so The Fundamentalists don't get involved.
Mike: Why all the secrecy? Why not just go public, let people protect themselves?
Vaughan: Listen. Every week there's a panic about some puny little bug. Now how do you think it would be if this got out? Hm? You'll have paranoia, you'll have vigilantes, you'll have people running back to religion in droves. The next thing you know, you'll have the Archbishop up for Prime Minister. I don't fancy living in Iran, do you?
...and notably avoids:
- Immune to Bullets: The team uses a variety of high-tech weapons specifically designed to kill "leeches".
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: The possibility is played with, but in the end the consensus appears to be that there is no such thing.
- Hunter of His Own Kind: The vampires are careful to avoid creating these. They never transform someone against their will, and in fact spend decades vetting potential "recruits".