Airdate: Code of a Killer

BBC First premieres a new crime series dramatising the world's first DNA manhunt.


Next month BBC First premieres a new crime series, Code of a Killer, dramatising the world’s first DNA manhunt.

It tells the true tale of how a brilliant scientist and a progressive police detective united to create the biggest advance in modern criminal investigation.

It stars David Threlfall, John Simm and Farzana Due Elahe.

The three part drama comes from the director of Broadchurch and the producers of Line of Duty.

Two investigators, one true story, and the single biggest advance in the history of criminal enquiry.

Leicestershire, 1984. Alec Jeffreys (John Simm), a scientist at Leicester University, unlocks a remarkable technique to read every individual’s unique DNA fingerprint. Only four miles away, DCS David Baker (David Threlfall) is a tenacious detective leading the search for the murderer of a local schoolgirl…

Two years later a second schoolgirl is discovered strangled. Soon after a young man is arrested and confesses to her murder, but he denies the first. Certain the same man killed both girls, DCS Baker approaches Dr Jeffreys, hoping to use his DNA test for the first time in a criminal investigation.

Jeffreys is anxious that the science may not work with degraded DNA from crime scenes. But it does. And as Baker thought, the same man killed both girls. Just not his suspect; the confession was false. Used for the first time, DNA fingerprinting has saved an innocent teenager.

In a storm of controversy, the suspect is released and the world introduced to DNA fingerprinting. Still certain that the murderer is local, Baker proposes the world’s first DNA manhunt, screening the blood of over five thousand local men in an attempt to catch the killer before he strikes again…

Saturdays at 8.30pm from September 19 BBC First.

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