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Code of a Killer

  • Episode: 

    2 of 2

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Mon 13 Apr 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.30pm
  • Week: 

    Week 16 2015 : Sat 11 Apr - Fri 17 Apr
  • Channel: 

    ITV
  • Status: 

    Last in series
The information contained herein is strictly embargoed from all press, online and social media use, non-commercial publication, or syndication until Tuesday 7 April 2015.
 
Series overview
 
Two of the UK’s most renowned actors, David Threlfall and John Simm, join forces in new ITV drama Code of a Killer, produced by World Productions.
 
Code of a Killer is based on the extraordinary true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its first use by Detective Chief Superintendent David Baker in catching a double murderer.  
 
The drama focuses on how Jeffreys’ science and Baker’s investigative vision created the single biggest leap in the history of criminal investigation. 
 
David Threlfall takes the role of David Baker who between 1983 and 1987 headed up the investigation into the brutal murders of two Leicestershire schoolgirls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth.
 
Only a few miles away, Dr Alec Jeffreys, played by John Simm, was a scientist at Leicester University who, on 10 September 1984, invented a remarkable technique to read each individual's unique DNA fingerprint. 
 
The information contained herein is strictly embargoed from all press, online and social media use, non-commercial publication, or syndication until Tuesday 7 April 2015.
 
Episode 2
 
In a storm of publicity, the local teenager is released and the world is introduced to the idea of DNA fingerprinting – forensic DNA. But in the villages of Narborough and Enderby there’s a real sense of fear: there’s a murderer in their midst.
 
Baker calls together his team of officers, some of whom doubt the new science and firmly believe they had their man and have been forced to let him go. Baker tells them that the investigation must go back to square one: the statements and paperwork are to be gone through again and again. The killer is dangerous and is likely to strike again. A Crimewatch special is filmed of Dawn’s last journey and an emotional appeal made to the public...but still no new evidence comes to light.
 
Baker realizes the usual routes of enquiry just aren’t working, they need something else and they need it to work before the killer strikes again. He sees that the science offers them an opportunity. If this new DNA fingerprinting can eliminate a killer, it can surely catch one. Baker grabs the local map off his wall and drives to the university.
 
Baker explains to Jeffreys: they now have the DNA code of the killer; he wants to conduct the world’s first DNA manhunt, testing the blood of every man in the area aged between 18 and 34, seeking a match with the killer's. Jeffreys is in awe of the magnitude of the idea, and the confidence that Baker has in this new science – the eyes of the world will be on them, the future of forensic DNA will be at stake. Both men know that it’s a risk they have to take if they want the killer caught.
 
Baker makes the radical plea to his superiors. Despite the vast expense, the Home Office eventually concede – the testing will be carried out by the Forensic Science Service. It is agreed that the mass screening must be voluntary; for reasons of civil liberty, no-one can be compelled. In order for the manhunt to work, they need the whole community to believe in the science and get behind the idea. Without the villagers support and a high turnout, it won’t work. 
 
January 1st 1987: the first day of screening. Baker and Jeffreys and their teams of police and doctors wait with bated breath … will they catch the killer?