Van der Valk is a British television series that was produced by Thames Television for the ITV network. It starred Barry Foster in the title role as Dutch police detective Commissaris "Piet" (real name Simon) van der Valk. Based on the characters and atmosphere (but not the plots) of the novels of Nicolas Freeling, the first two series was shown in 1972 and 3. After a short hiatus production was taken over by Thames subsidiary Euston Films in 1977. Finally a fourth series appeared in 1992, in which Van der Valk's now-adult son was also an officer in the same force as his father.
In April 2020 ITV aired an updated and remake of show, with Marc Warren taking over as Var der Valk in the UK. These were 3 two hour stand alone episodes, with a view of more being made.
The theme from the series was an unexpected chart hit.
This cop show has examples of these tropes:
- Break Away Pop Hit: The theme tune, "Eye Level", played by the Simon Park orchestra, became a smash hit in its own right.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The update has a mad scientist pathologist. He drinks while on duty and passes out on the slab.
- Good Is Not Nice: Van der Valk in the updated version can be combative.
- Limited Advancement Opportunities: Despite all his years in the force, Van der Valk never rises above the rank of Commissaris.
- Commissaris already is the highest possible rank for a Dutch police detective, only commandants get to be hoofdcommissaris.
- Talking Down the Suicidal: After chasing his suspect across a hospital rooftop, which only comes to a halt when the suspect runs out of roof and then climbs over a barrier and threatens to jump, the 2020 version gave us this:
- Van der Valk (After looking down and seeing a several storey drop below.) "Wow....Are you going to go for it?"
- Video Inside, Film Outside: The first two series were shot in studios in England (on video) with location filming taking place in Amsterdam, shot on 16mm film. Averted in the third and fourth series which were made entirely on location on 16mm, mostly in the Netherlands although one third series episode took place in London.