Acorn TV Sets 'Dalgliesh' Season 2 Premiere for April 2023

Bertie Carvel as Adam Dalgliesh in Dalgliesh Season 2, Episode 1

Bertie Carvel as Adam Dalgliesh in Dalgliesh Season 2, Episode 1

Rob Durston/AcornTV

P.D. James' novels may not have the iconic status of Agatha Christie, but since she started writing in the late 1950s (and her Adam Dalgliesh novels took off in the early 1960s), her name has been grouped with other female mystery writers of U.K. fame, from Dorothy Sayers to Val McDermid. Her books were initially adapted for television in the early 1980s by ITV and then the BBC (and aired in the states on PBS under the Mystery! banner); however, those concluded a decade before her passing in 2014. Acorn TV and Channel 5's new series is the first since her passing, and its popularity has been strong enough to greenlight two more seasons, the first of which debuts in April 2023.

The deal to create a new adaptation, with Bertie Carvel (The Crown) in the titular role of DI Adam Dalgliesh, was first set into motion in 2019 but ran right into the buzzsaw of the pandemic and not confirmed until October 2020. Filming was further delayed, finally getting underway in 2021, and Season 1 arrived on Channel 5 in late October 2021 and followed on Acorn TV in November. A second season renewal was announced in March 2022, which Channel 5 then upped to a Season 2 and 3 order in July as Season 2 filming got underway.

Like Season 1, Season 2 will cover three of James' classic novels, each comprised of two feature-length episodes. Season 2 starts with Death Of An Expert Witness, initially published in the late 1970s between 1975's The Black Tower and 1986's A Taste for Death, covered in Season 1 along with the 1971 best seller Shroud for a Nightingale. The series will then jump ahead to two of James' later works. 1997's A Certain Justice and 2003's The Murder Room. Season 3's episodes have yet to be announced, but unless the show decides to rewind to James' earliest 1960-set novels, viewers will most likely get Devices and Desires, Original Sin, and Death in Holy Orders.

Carlyss Peer as DS Kate Miskin in Dalgliesh Season 2, Episode 5

Carlyss Peer as DS Kate Miskin in Dalgliesh Season 2, Episode 5

Steffan Hill/AcornTV

Here are the synopses for the three stories featured in Season 2 via Channel 5's press release.

  • When a young girl is found murdered, the scientific examination is just a routine job for the staff of Hoggatt's forensic science laboratory. But when the senior biologist is found dead in his laboratory, Dalgliesh is called where the murderer is lying in wait to strike again.
  • Venetia Aldridge QC, a distinguished barrister, agrees to defend Garry Ashe, accused of the brutal murder of his aunt, until she is found dead at her desk. As Dalgliesh narrows the field of suspects, a second murder draws him into greater complexities of intrigue and evil.
  • Dalgliesh is called to investigate the killing of one of the trustees of the Dupayne Museum, it seems everyone has something to gain from the crime. When the suspect is prepared to kill again, Dalgliesh knows he has to get into the mind of a ruthless murderer.   
Alistair Brammer as DS Daniel Tarrant in Dalgliesh Season 2, Episode 3

Alistair Brammer as DS Daniel Tarrant in Dalgliesh Season 2, Episode 3

Christopher Barr/AcornTV

The series will continue to star Carvel as Dalgliesh, with Carlyss Peer (Grantchester) as his assistant, DS Kate Miskin. Jeremy Irvine's distasteful DS Masterson seems to have exited the program after the first season (at least he does not appear in any of the photos.) It looks like he has been replaced by Alistair Brammer (Les Misérables) as DS Daniel Tarrant, starting in Episode 4. Also, David Pearse (The Banshees of Inisherin) reprises his role as forensic pathologist Miles Kynaston. Helen Edmundson (Belgravia: The Nexxt Chapter) is back as the lead writer on all six episodes, with Stewart Harcourt (Maigret) assisting on "A Certain Justice."

As with Season 1, each story will feature a different guest cast per two-episode bout. "Death of an Expert Witness" features Deborah Findlay (The Split), Margaret Clunie (Victoria), Sam Hoare (Miss Scarlet & the Duke), Alyth Ross (Last Light), Carolina Main (Unforgotten), Richard Harrington (Poldark), Stuart Graham (Harry Wild), and newcomer Lara Cohen. Directors Andy and Ryan Tohill (The Dig) are back to helm this two-parter.

"A Certain Justice" stars David Bamber (Flesh & Blood), Charlotte McCurry (Three Families), Sara Stewart (Empire of Light), Daisy Waterstone (The Durrells In Corfu), Barbara Marten (A Discovery of Witches), Michael Culkin (A Very English Scandal), Silas Carson (Doctor Who), and Yaseen Aroussi (Quiz). And finally, "The Murder Room" features Anastasia Hille (Baptiste), Sorcha Cusack (Father Brown), Nicholas Banks (Why Didn't They Ask Evans?), Nathaniel Christian (The Capture), and Sylvestra Le Touzal (Roadkill). Geoff Sax (Us) directs "A Certain Justice," and Jon Wright (Brassic) helms "The Murder Room."

Dalgiesh Season 2 will premiere on Monday, April 24, 2023, with two episodes on Acorn TV and follow the next two Mondays with two episodes each. Season 3 is expected out in late 2024 or early 2025.


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Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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