Serial killer drama Des officially will officially arrive in the U.S. this October on premium cable streaming platform Sundance Now. The series, which stars David Tennant as the infamous killer Dennis Nilsen, broke all kinds of ratings records for U.K. network ITV, clocking in as its highest-rated drama of 2020 and its biggest drama launch since 2006, with more than 10.9 million viewers.
That is...a lot of people who want to watch some true crime. And it's hard to blame them - even twenty-plus years on, the horrific nature of this story is hard to look away from.
Known as the ‘kindly killer’, Nilsen was a local civil servant who spent five years murdering boys and young men he met on the streets of London’s Soho from 1978 to 1983. He would meet and befriend these men before offering them food or lodgings for the evening back at his North London flat. His victims were often homeless or living off-grid, having slipped through the cracks of 1980s British society and were, therefore, welcoming of this stranger’s apparent generosity. When he was finally caught on February 9, 1983, Nilsen had murdered a total of fifteen men over a period of five years, making him Britain’s most prolific serial killer of all time.
After his arrest, Nilsen was astonishing in his honesty: admitting outright to all fifteen murders in the police car outside his flat. But infuriatingly for the investigating detectives, he couldn’t remember any of his victims’ names. With no apparent motive, inconclusive forensic evidence, and most of Nilsen’s victims living off-grid, the police started the biggest manhunt investigation in U.K. history. This time not for the murderer, but for those who were murdered.
The series also features Line of Duty's Daniel Mays as Detective Peter Jay, a local officer who played a key role in discovering Nilsen's grisly activities, and The Crown's Jason Watkins as biographer Brian Masters, author of the book Killing for Company, on which this series is based.
Watch the international trailer for the series below, which features Tennant sporting a variety of creepy sweaters and dead-eyed stares.
The series will premiere on Sundance Now beginning October 15, with new episodes available the following Thursday.
Will you be giving Des a look? Or is this too much creepy David Tennant for you?