Series: Ultraviolet

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 under construction.

This series provides examples of:

  • Aborted Declaration of Love: In "Terra Incognita", one of the things Vaughan does when he's facing death is phone Angie, whom he's carrying a torch for. When she answers the phone, he decides not to say anything.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: In "Mea Culpa", 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: Vampires never age past the age when they were turned. Most vampires we see were turned relatively recently, because their interactions with the mortals they've left behind are a major source of the show's drama, but there are a few striking examples including a vampire who appears to be in his 30s but is actually nearly a century old, and another who is an adult with the appearance of a child.
  • Anchored Ship: There is a definite attraction between soldier Vaughan Rice and scientist Angie 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: The first episode introduces the idea of vampires' ability to regenerate after being staked, and it's referenced throughout the series with the vault, but it's 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 Vs claim that the squad is funded by the Vatican, comparing it to The Spanish Inquisition, 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.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The vampire hunters use graphite bullets and shrapnel grenades (based on the active ingredient of wooden stakes), plus gas grenades using the active ingredient of garlic.
  • 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."
  • Fakin' MacGuffin: In the final episode, the vampires use Kirsty in a Hostage for MacGuffin swap to get Mike to bring them the dust of one of their leaders out of the team's vault. Mike brings them a canister from the vault, but when it's revived it's Kirsty's fiancé Jack instead of the vampire they needed.
  • 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.
  • Game Face: Vampires are usually visually indistinguishable from humans, but grow fangs when they're feeding.
  • Hannibal Lecture: In almost every episode, delivered either by vampires or their human sympathizers.
  • Healing Factor: Vampires can heal from nearly anything; the exception is that if a vampire encounters one of the few things that can kill them and is not killed outright, the resulting injury becomes a Wound That Will Not Heal. For instance, "In Nomine Patris" features a vampire who gets burned from a brief exposure to direct sunlight, and the burns don't get any better.
  • Heroic BSOD: Mike gets one when he shoots a light-sensitive pedophile he thought was a vampire. It renders him unable to shoot the actual vampire — who appears to be a ten-year old boy.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Discussed; Angie explains to Mike that vampires who had strong religious convictions sometimes develop a psychosomatic reaction to religious symbols, but holy objects don't have any inherent power. In "Mea Culpa", complicating things a bit, one of the signs that the choirboys have been infected with vampire-hybridized meningitis is that they develop a phobic reaction to a prayer book, even though none of them know they've been infected with vampire traits. There's also the dark joke that the vampire hunters' most effective weapon is a bullet with a cross carved into it, not for religious reasons but to convert it into a cruciform expanding bullet with increased stopping power.
  • 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: In "Terra Incognita", 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. Taken further, in that they do not register on any artificial recording medium: they're invisible to cameras, inaudible to telephones and recording devices, and can't even be fingerprinted. 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: In "In Nomine Patris", the vampire going by the name of Lester Hammond is actually Lester's grandfather, who took over Lester's identity after he died of a drug overdose.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Michael Colefield, who enters the Masquerade in the first episode after discovering that his colleague and friend Jack has become a vampire.
  • No Body Left Behind: The idea of vampires crumbling to dust is given a twist — these vampires don't crumble, they explode.
  • 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: In more ways than can be concisely listed.
  • Pedophile 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 pedophile 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 pedophile to maintain the Masquerade, and coincidentally keep the boy out of Juvie.
  • People Farms: Mentioned as a possibility that the vampires are looking into.
  • Post-Modern Magik: The team focuses on trying to beat the vampires with science. It may still be a mystery why vampires don't appear in mirrors, but the team knows exactly which kinds of mirror (and what other devices) they don't appear in, as well as precisely which wavelengths of sunlight vampires need to hide from and which chemicals are responsible for their garlic aversion and the effectiveness of pointy wooden weapons. The vampires return the favor, using modern technology to organize their efforts and genetic engineering to develop ways to spread vampirism without having to risk themselves by getting up close and bitey.
  • Really 700 Years Old: In "Mea Culpa", the Code 5s ensnared 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.
  • 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: Mike's friend Frances, who helps his investigation in the first episode and serves as a sounding board later, is the only person outside the team who has any idea what his life has become. He doesn't go all the way to telling her that it involves vampires, though, because he knows she's too sensible to believe it.
  • 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 near the end of "In Nomine Patris", it sets off a nearby car alarm.
  • Time Bomb: The set piece of a late episode is a character trapped in a warehouse surrounded by coffins containing Code 5s, each with an LED counter ticking down to sunset.
  • The Virus: What vampiric infection is treated as.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When a vampire throws up a meal eaten to maintain the Masquerade, being now unable to digest anything except blood.
  • Weakened by the Light: Vampires burn rapidly in direct sunlight, and even if the vampire is able to get out of the light quickly enough to survive, the burns will not heal. The team has discovered that the effect is connected to a particular group of wavelengths in the ultraviolet band (hence the show's title), and use ultraviolet light as part of their security measures.
  • Welcome Episode: "Habeas Corpus"
  • Wooden Stake: Vampires are particularly susceptible to wounds inflicted with pointy bits of wood, which messes with their healing factor somehow. The team has moved on from stakes, however, and use guns loaded with carbon-compound bullets. Vaughn also has, as his personal signature weapon, a device like a spring-loaded ice-pick with a spike made from the same compound.
  • 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".