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The sinister side of Wales – Hinterland series 3

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Forget about the streets of London or Glasgow’s roughest estates. Forget Norway and Iceland too. New York and LA are not where it’s at. The most engaging crime drama in April will emanate from the eerily remote setting of West Wales. On 5 April, BBC One Wales will begin airing series 3 of Hinterland, the bilingual programme where the only thing more dramatic than the rolling landscapes is the ominous clouds above, and the morose stare of lead character DCI Tom Mathias, played by Richard Harrington.

An all-Welsh version aired in S4C late last year, but now English speaking audiences will be taken back to Aberystwyth and its environs with four new 90-minute episodes. They begin with the murder of Elwyn Jones, a local minister bludgeoned to death in his chapel with a hammer. It turns out he was a man of Biblical wrath as well as a man of the cloth, and he liked a drink too. Mathias and DC Mared Rhys (Mali Harries) have no shortage of suspects to interview.

Beauty and despair
Grief, guilt, regret, anger and revenge all surface, while the ancient hillsides glare down on the human tragedy unfolding, and waves crash in on the Aberystwyth seafront, sending froth onto the wind. Nothing’s more beautiful than hearing the Welsh spoken by the elderly Reverend Eurof Daniel in the middle of the first episode – the oldest language in Europe. Welsh scenes are subtitled and most characters flit between languages except for DCI Mathias.

Meanwhile, DS Sian Owen is investigating the assault on Mathias and the arson attack on his caravan, which closed out the final episode of series 2. Her DCI has recovered, but chief suspect Iwan Thomas is on the run. His beef with Mathias goes all the way back to series 1, and the investigation into the children’s home by Devil’s Bridge in the very first episode. There is a sinister link of some kind between the alcoholic Iwan Thomas, whose daughter was later murdered in Borth, and Chief Superintendent Prosser.

Back to the children’s home
Mathias has always had to look over his shoulder, and the nature of that connection between Thomas and Prosser will continue the overarching storyline through these four episodes. A body in a ravine, a young woman dead in the woods, and a shooting at a petrol station are three more cases the team will face, and somehow suspicion will fall once again on the tortured DCI Mathias, still grieving over his own losses.

The dramatic ending of episode one will leave you nicely gripped – we’ve seen it and the addiction has set in.

Hinterland begins on Wednesday 5 April at 9pm on BBC One Wales. UK viewers outside Wales will be able to see it on SKY channel 952, Virgin 864 or Freesat 964. The programme will also be repeated on BBC Four in May. See below for the trailer and more photography from the show.

Hinterland series 2 was among our favourite crime shows of 2016. For more crime fiction from the Celtic fringe, click here.

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