Van Der Valk Mysteries Set 2
Recurring character(s): Commisaris Simon "Piet" van der Valk (Barry Foster), Arlette van der Valk (Susan Travers), Inspector Johnny Kroon (Michael Latimer)
Original air date(s): 08/29/1973 to 10/10/1973
DVD Date: 06/29/2010
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 353 minutes
Note(s): Based on characters created by crime novelist Nicholas Freeling (though none of the episodes in the series were adapted from any of his novels).
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Review: This set of seven episodes from the second season was, like the first, filmed on location in Amsterdam, giving the series an international flair. The plots, however, are fairly routine and with few exceptions are not unique to the setting, a bit of a disappointment. Also disappointing is the video transfer, which seems to have washed out many of the colors; this isn't so noticeable in the interior scenes but Amsterdam is such a colorful city that the vibrancy of the exterior shots is muted here.
Possibly not surprisingly, Barry Foster dominates each episode and in many ways the series itself is a character study of this Dutch detective. Van der Valk is a bit of an off-beat character, and if you take to him you'll likely take to the series as a whole. Regardless, I don't recommend watching two or more episodes in a row, though; since the episode plots are nearly interchangeable, a little of Foster as van der Valk goes a long way.
Probably the most distinctive feature of the series is its period detail. Viewers who lived during the 1970s will certainly recognize the hair and clothing as well as the occasional cultural reference. Younger viewers may simply roll their eyes at styles that seem hopelessly dated.
The mysteries themselves probably aren't strong enough to draw in many new fans, but it's impossible not to appreciate the energy Foster puts into his performance; it is uniquely his.
Here's a brief description of the episodes on this set (from the studio):
Episode 1: "A Death by the Sea"
Van der Valk suspects foul play when a midnight swim leaves a man unconscious and his wife missing.
Episode 2: "A Man of No Importance"
A dead man turns up on the deck of a barge with few clues to his identity, but only Van der Valk seems to care.
Episode 3: "A Rose from Mr. Reinhart"
Arlette’s instincts prove truer than her husband’s after a young woman is threatened in the park.
Episode 4: "A Dangerous Point of View"
A private detective is stabbed to death on the job, leaving Van der Valk to find who was watching the watcher.
Episode 5: "Season for Love"
After the young lover of a rich American woman goes missing, she may be in danger herself.
Episode 6: "Rich Man, Poor Man"
Van der Valk looks for a link between two apparently unrelated crimes: a factory explosion and a barber’s murder.
Episode 7: "The Rainbow Ends Here"
The commissaris searches for an abducted teenager, but her brother interferes with the investigation.
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