'Van Der Valk' Season 1 Episode 3 Recap: "Death In Amsterdam"

Luke Allen-Gale as Sgt Brad de Vries, Elliot Barnes-Worrell as Sgt Job Cloovers, Maimie McCoy as DS Lucienne Hassell, Marc Warren as DC Piet Van der Valk, Emma Fielding as DCS Julia Dahlman, Darrell D'Silva as Dr. Hendrik Davie pose for the Van der Valk Season 1 Key Art

Luke Allen-Gale as Sgt Brad de Vries, Elliot Barnes-Worrell as Sgt Job Cloovers, Maimie McCoy as DS Lucienne Hassell, Marc Warren as DC Piet Van der Valk, Emma Fielding as DCS Julia Dahlman, Darrell D'Silva as Dr. Hendrik Davie in Van der Valk Season 1

© 2019 Elmer van der Marel/Company Pictures/A3MI

Van Der Valk's final cold open is broadcasting live from a fashion vlogger's studio. It's going to be an exciting show, as the fashion community is all atwitter over it. However, fashion designer Dani Nioh (Tom York) is worried, as his partner, Heidi Berlin (Christina Cole), seems to have disappeared, and hangs up when he tries to call.

But when the camera goes live, the host, Ed Loman, is dead. It's such a big deal even Hassell hears about it immediately, though she's the last person to get excited about fashion. She is, on the other hand, here for murders. Surprisingly, VDV is not, as he's busy babysitting Trojan.

VDV: I'm more of a sodoku man myself.

Davie says Loman's been dead 90 minutes, the tape over his mouth and sewn shut eyelids were decorative for the camera. (He's impressed with the stitching, done with a sustainable thread made from fungus.) VDV is more interested in the angry anti-fashion graffiti outside the apartment signed "Omega-616." Cloovers, surprisingly a fashion fan, has already covered all the obvious bases when VDV arrives, so he sends the lad to catch the non-obvious one, a model hanging nearby. Her name is Mila de la Parra (Claire Bender), and she claims to be a whistleblower who works at Dani and Heidi's eco-friendly fashion house, DANHI. Their phony commitment to the cause was the explosive story Ed planned to reveal.

Loman's murder runs in tandem with filling in the Van Der Valk backstory. The day after his dogsitting adventure, VDV meets Dahlman at the Dept of Justice to attend the hearing of Theunis Visser. Visser was VDV's mentor but turned out to be corrupt. When VDV went after him, Visser ran VDV off the road. Dahlman was in the vehicle; the crash damaged her knee (that's why she's on morphine). His wife, Arlette, was thrown from the car and drowned. (Aw, they killed Arlette!) As they leave, Willem Visser (Tom Mothersdale), Theunis' son, stalks Dahlman. But VDV is distracted by Agatha, the sex worker from the premiere, who he winds up taking home to his boat. 

Cloovers tracks down Loman's main rival, Lotta Nagel (Shaniqua Okwok). Nagel is recording a vlog when they arrive, all fake tears over Loman's passing. Despite de Vries' useless interrupting, she and Cloovers gossip about fashion house Youniversality poaching Dani in its jump to the eco-conscious bandwagon. Hassell checks in with Dani and Heidi, who boast of their commitment to a better world, like their recycled fabric line and hiring Syrian refugees like Chacko Moghadam (Saman Amini). As she checks their alibis, Cloovers goes with VDV to Youniversiality to meet owner Claudia Cabrera (Marieke Heebink) and her partner Gustav Schneider (Maarten Heijmans) to see why they were paying Loman on the down low. 

Credit: Courtesy of © Company Pictures and all3media international

Cabrera, aging and drugged, had no idea Schneider was paying Ed to leave them alone. But when asked about poaching Dani, she clams up and ends the interview. Meanwhile, Hassell found Heidi's alibi about being at the bank is a lie; the company is on the brink of bankruptcy. When confronted, Heidi refuses to say where she was. Digging into Loman's computer, Cloovers turns up Mila is not Ed's informant, but his ex, who he brutally dumped two months ago for Schneider.

Meanwhile, Dahlman's driver Casper is brutalized, his mouth taped shut, and his eyelids stitched. But Davie says the thread is cotton: Visser is copycatting to confuse things. But Davie has a hunch about the Omega-616 graffiti, which turns out to be spray-on fabric, not spray paint, and the writing angle is by someone used to writing right-to-left. VDV and Hassell check Dani's Syrian refugees and find the spray fabric on Moghadam's station. He's not there, Dani has sent the whole team to the Youniversality Launch. (Evidently, Heidi and Cabrera go way back.)

As Moghadam and Lotta walk into the launch, Mila runs out. Backstage, Cabrera accuses Schneider of sleeping with Ed while tossing back her pills. As the runway show commences, Moghadam disappears backstage. Hassell and VDV give chase, catching him and getting him to admit he is Omega-616, though he insists he didn't kill anyone. He is just enraged at the fashion elites fleecing the poor while his family is stuck in Syria. But the real action is out front, as Cabrera gets up in the middle of the show, struggling to breathe, and dies in the middle of the runway. Davie says her pills were laced with cyanide. Hassell digs in Cabrera's phone and realizes she was who Heidi met the day Loman died.

Credit: Courtesy of © Company Pictures and all3media international

Heidi says she was jumping ship, not Dani, as Cabrara's planned replacement for Schneider. Heidi was working on prototypes of sustainable fabrics for Youniversiality, including thread made from fungus. Confronted, Schneider says he knew and tried to poach Dani in retaliation. He also reveals he told Mila Ed never loved her, which triggers a wellness check and saves Mila from suicide. She overdosed on the same pills Cabrera took, all supplied by Lotta Nagel, who mentions Dani was also a former client and an unstable one.

VDV summons Moghadam to break them into DANHI, where he finds the briefcase he'd seen Dani put away previously holds Heidi's fungus research. But as they head to the fancy restaurant where Cloovers and deVries tracked Dani, other problems are brewing. Visser has decided VDV must've made sure the judge didn't grant his father a release. In retaliation, he decides to murder VDV, following Dahlman and Davie to track him down. Just as Hassel and VDV extract Dani's confession, Dahlman and Davie pull up to the restaurant, with Vissel's men right behind.

As Cloovers arms himself with an iron skillet (BLESS HIM), Hassell winds up in a fistfight with the man who attacked Casper. De Vries races to help her, leaving Dani unguarded. The fashion maven makes a run for it and dies in the crossfire. Everyone gets their moment to shine in this fight, Davie with a scalpel attack, Dahlman takes down the sniper, and de Vries saves Hassell by hitting her attacker with a canister of milk. But it's Cloovers who saves the day, as VDV drops the kid his gun when confronted by Vissel. Cloovers proves his worth by sneaking up and shooting Vissel with far more deadly precision than one would have thought possible, considering it's his first time.

VDV goes off to brood and Cloovers heads home to his mother. Except as VDV told Hassell, he looked into the kid, and his mother died nine years ago. Perhaps that's where we'll pick up with Season 2.


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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