Put away thoughts of the baking hot Sicilian afternoons you’ve seen on Inspector Montalbano. With Thou Shalt Not Kill, coming to More4 via Walter Presents from 9 August, things are going to get darker, moodier and even a little sultry. But the blood of the victims is still red and passions run high as a teenage girl disappears in Turin and Chief Inspector Valeria Ferro is on the case.
The programme gets off to a surreal beginning. The missing girl’s father is readying himself to make a television appeal for his daughter’s return, but instead of the news he’s on some crazy reality show and just as he’s about to speak the host receive’s word that the body of Sara Damiano has been found. The distraught father receives the bad news on live television.
Straight away we’re swept into the case as Ferro, played by Miriam Leone, arrives at the crime scene – the flooded cellar of a derelict building. It’s in a part of the city inhabited by Romanian immigrants, inflaming local tensions, but after the water has been drained Ferro works out that the murder may have occurred somewhere else and that the cellar was probably flooded to eliminate evidence.
Episode one throws twists aplenty as Sara’s aunt and uncle emerge with one explanation as to why the girl may have disappeared, driving a rift into the family. Meanwhile, her father, who is also her diving coach, begins acting strangely and Sara’s mother appears to be losing her grip as well. Even Sara’s little brother is up to something strange, posting on his dead sister’s Facebook page and letting his friend try on her dresses.
Originally titled Non uccidere in Italy, Thou Shalt Not Kill quickly becomes reminiscent of The Killing. It doesn’t quite achieve the chilling, grey atmosphere of the groundbreaking Danish series, but it does put plenty of red herrings into the stream from early on and has a calm, calculated procedural feel to it as secrets from the victim’s past come to the surface. People often think of ancient churches and Roman ruins when they visualise Italy – here you get the gritty urban settings of a modern city.
Miriam Leone is very much a focal point of the show. Now an actor, she was Miss Italy in 2008 and looks too perfect, and too young, to be a senior homicide detective dealing with horrible cases. There’s little problem with her acting though, on the evidence of episode one at least. Further into the series it’s revealed that Ferro’s mother has been serving time for murder and is due for release, so it will be interesting to see how she holds it together across the programme’s 12 hour-long episodes. It was originally aired in Italy in 2015 and has been followed with a subsequent 24-episode second series.
For an introduction to Noir Italiano, look here.