Amsterdam detective Piet Van Der Valk is back for a second series of gruesome murders and intriguing mysteries in ITV crime drama Van Der Valk.
Rebooted from the 1970s original back in 2020, the gripping first series hooked old fans and new into the life and work of Piet with Marc Warren, 55, playing the titular detective.
This long-awaited second series was, like many other productions, extensively delayed by the pandemic, but it's almost time for the Netherlands-based drama to be back on the box.
Now viewers have had a chance to get to know Piet, his secrets, motivations, skills and flaws, there's an opportunity to dive a little deeper, to see him connect with a private life again and maybe find new love. However, Amsterdam is still full of cunning criminals and grisly crimes, so the detective's work is never done.
So what was it like for the star of Snatch, Mad Dogs and The Musketeers to come back to the role, and what's in store for Van Der Valk this series?
MARC, WHERE DO WE FIND PIET THIS SERIES?
Well, he's single, but his opening scene sees him suddenly getting a bit of love in his life.
He's getting hit on by a couple of women, and then gets rescued by another woman. This turns out to be a character, Lena, that will run throughout the next three episodes, and possibly more...
I think he's quite closed, so he's a bit impenetrable.
I think Lucienne (played by Maimie McCoy) is always trying to open him up. He has great respect for Lucienne. I think he regards her as his only friend, really.
WE ALSO SEE HIM BECOME A BIT MORE UNDERSTANDING OF HIS TEAM, A SLIGHTLY WARMER SIDE. HE BECOMES ALMOST A MENTOR TO CLOOVERS...
At the end of the last series, of course, Cloovers saved my life. So, at the start of this series, we have to see what the repercussions are for him.
I was cold to him in the first series, so there's definitely a warming up in this series. I keep an eye on him.
(Cloover's actor) Elliot Barnes-Worrell and I have a couple of really lovely scenes - when you're doing something that's more procedural like a detective show, to then do something a bit more human and emotional is really lovely. We were lucky enough to have a couple of really nice scenes in this series to do that.
That's also what I got from the relationship with Lena - it allows me to show different sides as well.
REBOOTING A TELEVISION PROGRAMME BRINGS A LOT OF PRESSURE, BUT DO YOU NOW FEEL THAT SOME OF THAT PRESSURE IS OFF?
Yeah, I guess. You know, when you first start something, you've no idea what it's going to be like, or what it's going to look like. I started it with a sort of philosophy that I'm just going to let go, I'm just going to do each day, let it go, let it go, let it go.
And then, as we all know with work, you might come in with that philosophy, but work seems to just take hold and, before long, you're fully engaged with it 24/7, and then you don't think about anything else. So my great aspirations to let it go have not really worked...
YOU FILMED ON LOCATION IN AMSTERDAM DURING THE PANDEMIC - HOW WAS THAT?
We all came straight from lockdown in the UK, so our first experience was getting over there, which is trickier, and all the protocol you have to go through.
And then we had to do five days' isolation at a hotel, where we couldn't see each other. And when we came out of that, we all met like long-lost friends.
I think we were all quite fragile, really, as everybody has been when they've been through that much isolation. I certainly was, and we all helped each other through it. But one of the things that was striking is how quickly you got back in the swing of it. You know, after all we've been through in lockdown, I think the adjustment period was about 15 minutes.
Once you got on the road, you're back into the swing. But everything had changed in the world.
DID ANYTHING CRAZY HAPPEN ON SET? RUNNING AROUND THE CITY WITH GUNS AND SIRENS MUST BE EXCITING.
We don't really get to fire them, although Maimie and I both do fire them this series...
That reminds me of an interesting thing. In the last episode, Maimie and I had to drive through Dam Square at its most packed in the Cherokee, both wearing bulletproof vests - I don't think we had our guns on us, but we had the flashing lights on.
Somebody had not told the local police that we were doing that, and we got pulled over! I suddenly thought 'If we've got guns on us as well, we are going to be in a lot of trouble'. You just leave it to the assistant directors to deal with that.
SO DOES IT FEEL LIKE A BIT OF A DEPARTURE FOR YOU, THIS MORE HEROIC ROLE, AS YOU'RE KNOWN FOR PLAYING BAD GUYS?
It's much more minimal - I tended to play quite larger-than-life characters who were a bit flash, and this is a very different proposition. You know, with the amount of screen time I have in this, if I employed the approach that I had for the other characters, it would wear very thin, I think, very rapidly.
I noticed the longer I do it, I seem to get moodier! I could just feel that.
Van Der Valk returns to STV, tomorrow, 8pm.