IRELAND: David Tennant’s True Crime Drama ‘Des’ Concludes On Virgin Media One Tonight


ITV's gripping true crime drama Des, starring David Tennant as Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen, concludes on Virgin Media One at 10pm in Ireland tonight. 

Des focuses on one of the most infamous criminal cases in UK history, Dennis Nilsen. Known as the ‘kindly killer’, Nilsen (David Tennant) was a local civil servant who spent five years murdering boys and young men he met on the streets of 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 society and were therefore welcoming of this stranger’s apparent generosity. When he was finally caught on 9 February 1983, Nilsen had murdered a total of fifteen men over a period of five years, making him Britain’s most prolific serial killer of the 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 UK history. This time not for the murderer, but for the murdered.
The story is told through the prism of three isolated men - a detective, a biographer, and Nilsen himself. While Detective Peter Jay (Daniel Mays) and the police investigation’s attempt to get justice for as many victims as possible provides the narrative and emotional spine, the relationship between Nilsen and his biographer Brian Masters (Jason Watkins) allows us to delve into the mind of one of the most emotionally elusive serial killers the world has ever seen. Can we ever really understand the mind of a psychopathic killer? And, if we try, what price do we pay?
Episode 3
Reeling from Des’ change in plea, Jay and the police throw themselves into proving premeditation. If they can show the court that Des was undoubtedly of sound mind when he committed his crimes, he will go down and never be released. If they fail, Des could get a cushier sentence on diminished responsibility and effectively escape justice.
As the trial begins and the defence start to tear strips off key witnesses, Jay and his team are shocked by just how flimsy their case against Nilsen seems to be. Could this seemingly open-and-shut murder investigation really be close to collapsing? Meanwhile, Brian is forced to watch the trial unfold in front of him, anxiously wondering how much of an effect his ‘friendship’ with Nilsen may have had on this turn of events.

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