Traces, BBC 1 Scotland, BBC iPlayer, based on an idea by Val McDermid, written by Amelia Bullmore, director Rebecca Gatward.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08zhgmb/traces-series-1-episode-1

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08zhgs6/traces-series-1-episode-2

‘You’re unbelievably beautiful, you are.’ Daniel (Martin Compston) tells Emma Hedges (Molly Windsor).

It must be dispiriting for a young actor thinking if any series is set in Scotland, I must have a chance, but only if Martin Compston is busy and doesn’t want the part.

She’s got baggage. He’s got baggage. Every character has more baggage than Buckaroo. (I’ve got baggage. Did I tell you I did a forensic science course, elements of forensic science, and somebody stole my course book? I might even be a suspect here.) Molly’s a forensic student in Dundee, Tayside College. Her mum went missing eleven years ago when she was seven. She was unbelievably beautiful then too. Her mum wasn’t bad either. Julie Hedges (Neve McIntosh) she turns up—blonde hair swilling about, print dress, bright colours.  And she’s laughing because she doesn’t know she’ll go missing during The Tall Ship’s Gala and her dismembered body will be discovered by a dog walker, three months later on the beach. She’s not a ghost, like in Randal and Hopkirk Deceased, because then she’d need to wear a white suit.

That’s the cold case, but it’s complicated by her boss at the lab at which she works, Professor Sarah Gordon (Laura Fraser) is also running a MOOC course in forensic science that has been viewed by over 23 000 online viewers. I might have done it. I like MOOC courses. But she’s made a bit of an error. The case study and corpse they use as analytical material matches the case of Molly’s mum, because it was based on her case. But Professor Sarah Gordon can’t admit this. Nor can she seem to avoid Molly, they bump into each other more than is humanly possible without intercourse.

She’s got something to hide. As has her colleague Professor Kathy Torrance (Jennifer Spence) who also had intercourse with an Australian backpacker, but it was sexual.

The forensic scientists are deep into murder cases at the appropriately named Secret’s Nightclub. Three bodies and the manager of the nightclub jumped off the Tay Bridge after the club burned down.

Emma goes to stay with her pal Skye Alessi (Jamie Marie Leary) while trying to digest all those secrets. Skye is her wee pal in the swirly hair moments when her mum appears. You guessed it. She’s also got secrets her mum, Izzy Alessi (Laurie Brett) doesn’t want Emma to know about. Something to do with the photo of her dad, old rocker Drew Cubbin (John Gordon Sinclair) being in bed with her mother, taken in Izzy’s house, possibly by Izzy, while her mum was married to her step-dad. He’s got something to hide. She’s got something to hide.

The lead detective in the case  DI Neil McKinven (Michael Nardone) was a junior cop when Emma’s mum was killed. But as a favour, he’s helping Professor Sarah Gordon cover up her mistake in using an ongoing case in her course material. He’s got a secret too.

So far every cast member has a secret, and some non-cast members (me), we need to know who the killers are or were, and work out if they were related cases to the person that stole my course book. Taggart would have done it in an hour. Here we’re in for the longer haul of six episodes. Nah, not for me. Too suspect.