This new version of Nicholas Freeling’s Van Der Valk takes more of a crime team approach than the novels did. Marc Warren plays his Commisaris Piet Van Der Falk as as an aloof, clever, and chilly detective in charge of a group of useful minions. His chief assistant is lesbian Lucienne Hassell (Maimie McCoy) who manages to stand up to her boss while contributing a human touch to the investigations. Always hungry officer Brad de Vries (Luke Allen-Gale) does a lot of the investigative scut work while a new member of the team–a brilliant, bemused and black–Job Cloovers (Elliot Barnes-Worrell) is the resident genius. Their go-to pathologist, Hendrik Davie (Darrell D’Silva), handles forensics like he handles his liquor and his chess games.
“Love in Amsterdam” has almost nothing to do with Freeling’s first novel other than it’s set in Amsterdam. A botched kidnapping leads to two murders with political implications. Van Der Valk and his team follows the evidence and untangles a web of menace. My favorite scene in “Love in Amsterdam” is Van Der Valk’s blind date where the woman asks him what he does for a living. Van Der Valk lies and claims he’s a “quantum physicist.” Of course, the woman turns out to be a devotee of String Theory.
The second episode, “Only in Amsterdam,” involves religious erotica and identical twins. Not as humorous as “Love in Amsterdam, the story revolves around a dysfunctional family and a sexual predator. GRADE: B (for both)