That other police officer is DS Harriet “Hatti” Vinterberg. Hatti is a fiercely ambitious young woman struggling with the moral compromises she is forced to make to get ahead in the boorish male world of 1980s Copenhagen drug policing. The hippie enclave of Christiania, known as Copenhagen’s Green Light District, has been self-regulated and, generally, tolerated by the local cops since the early 70s – but things are changing. In 1984, the Hells Angels gang Heresy moves in on the previously peaceable Pusher Street market. They are joined in their mission by a young Liverpool hoodlum, recently released from jail, and the enforcer sent from the U.K to bring him home. Hatti, dangerously obsessed with the pair, accepts a dangerous undercover mission to crack the gang – with devastating consequences.
As the show unfolds, the true nature of the relationship between Hatti and Mac is slowly revealed, with the audience initially uncertain of what it is that ties the two leads together – or why it is that Mac keeps photographs of Hatti on his desk. However, as the truth becomes apparent, so do the intense emotional stakes for Mac's case in the present: this isn’t simply a case of putting away one of Europe’s most notorious and prolific crime bosses. Masterminding his downfall could, at last, offer McCartney freedom from the chains that tie him to the traumatic events of his past life.
McCartney, a gifted and tenacious investigator, is a man weighed down by secrets. The Mac we encounter at first is taciturn and interior. Only as successive series reveal more and more of Mac’s back story will we come to fully understand the man presented to us at the outset. His passionate devotion to locking up the most violent and corrupt of criminals in the present has its roots in the long shadow cast by his complicated past. Consumed by his work and isolated by his inability to open up to those around him, he initially cuts a lonely figure – cut off from any life outside of that of catching criminals. However, as the series peels back the layers of its central conspiracy, it will also unveil Mac's own personal history – which is crucially linked to the mystery at the heart of the show. In order to do his job and bring down a criminal he has obsessively pursued for decades, he will be forced to confront and expose a past trauma he has long sought to suppress.
Unlike Mac, who is determined to get the result whatever the cost, as a Witness Protection Officer, the strong-willed and fast-witted Una's primary concern is the safety of her charges. Passionate about her job, she begins to find herself at odds with Mac for his reckless attitude. Following Kalan's death – for which she feels responsible – she undertakes to find and protect Misha, even if it costs her her career. But, in spite of their differences in character, there is an undeniable frisson between the two colleagues who are thrust together in the most intense of circumstances. However, Mac's secretive persona prevents him from being able to really open himself up to possibility of a real connection with Una – much to her confusion and anger.
Hatti, 21, is a green but hugely ambitious Copenhagen street cop. And when a young Liverpool felon Lance “Lanky” Campion is released from jail in 1984, she is there, inconspicuous, to witness an older crimelord, Terence Connolly meeting him. But, instead of returning to Liverpool, Lanky takes Connolly to meet the Heresy gang of Hell’s Angels – who have recently taken over the drug trade in Christiania. Reporting back to her boss Lars Vestergaard, Hatti is surprised and excited when he asks her to go undercover. Hatti’s boldness and determination takes her closer and closer to Heresy and the Liverpool mafia, with disastrous consequences.
Misha, a tack-sharp Year 2 Law student at Liverpool University still lives in the flat above her parent’s 24-7 grocery store on Lodge Lane, Toxteth’s main shopping thoroughfare. But Misha has secrets that would appall her parents, if they knew. Not only is Misha is a committed relationship at all – she is dating outside the family’s devout Sunni faith. If anything could be worse than that, it’s that both Kalan, her boyfriend, and Misha herself are practising Sufists. So, when Misha returns from the library one evening to a nikkah (party) to celebrate her own forthcoming arranged marriage, something has to give.
Evan “Shakespeare” Kavanagh is a reformed petty villain who moved to Liverpool from Trinidad in the 1970s. He now runs an immaculate yet little-used pub in Toxteth. His roots in the Toxteth community run deep and he has history with Mac going back 20 years. And when Misha comes crashing injured through his pub’s the front door one evening, he sees an opportunity to help someone in need and possibly even make amends for some of the failings of his past. With Mac and Una, he will play a critical role in saving Misha and bringing Terry Connolly and the Rozakis to justice.
Terry Connolly has been a major crime boss in Liverpool for a generation. Gangs come and go, drugs fall in and out of fashion, but the cold-blooded, dry-witted TC has remained on top for nearly 40 years. For Mac, he remains the ultimate collar. In addition to his impressive criminal career, he is also deeply implicated in the attack on Hatti Vinterberg in Copenhagen, many years before. Finally on the verge of holding Terry Connolly to account for his crimes, Mac will stop at nothing to bring him in once and for all – drawing a line under one of the most difficult periods in his life.
The oldest of the Kurdish-Scouse Rozaki brothers, Dara is the most chilling of them. About to reach his peak as an international Narco, Dara has the charm and veneer of a successful business. It takes very little, however, to chip through his lacquer to reveal the ruthless gunman of yore. Yet, as his volatile younger brother Moz reminds him on occasion, Dara was not ever the hard man. Arriving in Liverpool as refugees who barely spoke English, Dara relied upon diplomacy and self-deprecating humour to navigate the brothers’ first playground scraps. What is for sure is that the Rozakis have grown up the hard way and, having left the mean streets behind him, Dara will stop at nothing to cling onto his kingdom. He’d even contemplate killing his own brother, if he had to.
CHEFPOLITIINSPEKTOR LARS VESTERGAARD (1984)
Vestergaard, 55, is a progressive, pioneering chief of Copenhagen police through the 80s. Although he takes a great interest in the resolute and ambitious rookie detective Hatti Vinterberg, his mentoring ultimately has devastating consequences for his young charge.
CHEFPOLITIINSPEKTOR JAN MADSEN (2017)
Madsen, 60, is a career cop who has seen it all and survived to tell the tale. World-weary and cynical, Madsen's career has been dogged by rumours he's been on the take, playing for both sides of the law. By virtue of his sheer doggedness and longevity he's survived the decades, with retirement now just months away. When he sends Mac to Liverpool to investigate a seemingly random attack on a Danish Somali, little does Jan realise the Pandora's box he's about to open.