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'Van der Valk' Recap: Season 2 Episode 2

Daniel Hautzinger
Van der Valk and Hendrik in season 2
Hendrik has a macabre task when a man is killed and sent to the members of a wealthy diamond family in separate parts. Photo: Company Pictures, NL Films & A3MI

Van der Valk airs Sundays at 8:00 pm and is available to stream. Recap the previous and following episodes.
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Van der Valk is awkward—and careful—in his relationships, ever since a woman he loved was killed by a criminal trying to take revenge on him. He unfortunately finds himself falling for his new paramour, Lena, and even has to introduce her to Lucienne and Job, to his displeasure. But “bad things happen when I like people,” he tells a disappointed Lena, so he cuts things off with her.

Familiar with the complexities of private life, Van der Valk doesn’t share Lucienne’s concern that Job is lying about visiting a sick mother, and that their boss Dahlman knows it. He does try to ask Dahlman about Job, but she refuses to provide answers. When he discovers that Job is living out of a gym, he takes his young colleague to the address officially listed as his home: it’s an empty lot. He offers Job his houseboat if he ever needs it, but Job rejects the offer. He has a home he could go to, but doesn’t, for complicated reasons.

Van der Valk is fine with that. He’s just concerned for Job’s wellbeing, and only cares about his secrets if they will affect his work and his teammates. He leaves it at that.

When it comes to murder, however, Van der Valk needs more answers. A dead man has been sliced into three parts and left in boxes at the homes of the three scions of the Cuyper diamond family. The torso is at the party girl Angelina’s, the lower half at her businesslike sister Marielle’s, and the head and hands at the home of Cornelis, who is due to become CEO after the recent death of their mother, Geraldine—unless her will says otherwise.

The body belongs to Ahmet Baykam, who worked as a diamond polisher for the Cuypers. He is identified by Marielle from a mole on his groin; she had slept with him for a time. He was killed by a blow to the head, and his corpse was sliced by a waterjet cutter like those that the Cuypers once used for engraving diamonds. Whoever deposited the body parts knew where security cameras were in each house and avoided them. The detectives find a fingernail embedded in the body and take it for DNA testing.

One suspect is Jacob Prins, a longtime Cuyper employee who recently left the company acrimoniously. The Cuypers bought him a gem store as part of the settlement. Ahmet had just been given Jacob’s old job, a loyal Cuyper diamond cutter named Chaim Dan tells the detectives. Chaim agrees with Jacob that the company was beginning to betray its foundations as Cornelis and Marielle began to take over. Rumor has it they’re looking to sell it to the highest bidder.

For now, they’re focused on the launch of a new line that includes a diamond close to Geraldine’s heart—literally. She died after rejecting a heart transplant, but had planned all along to cremate her old heart and put the ashes in a diamond.

Jacob believes the family has some culpability in Geraldine’s death. They let her fly to a remote home in Greece soon after her transplant; perhaps she could have been saved if she had been near a hospital. But the family physician, Doc Gruber, says she died almost instantaneously, although he doesn’t want to answer more questions.

Doc Gruber is not the only medical professional on retainer for the Cuypers. Geraldine was not a natural mother and was consumed by her business, so she had hired a psychotherapist, Florian Barby, for the family. In particular, he is helping Angelina, who has been volatile since Geraldine’s death, cope with everything. She was supposed to meet Ahmet for a date the night before—she was sleeping with him too, without knowing Marielle had—and had Florian come over when Ahmet didn’t show up. She is responsible for Ahmet’s promotion—without her good word, his colleague Vito Vinke would have had Jacob’s old job.

The detectives know that Ahmet disappeared after leaving work but before reaching his date with Angelina, so they search CCTV cameras along the route between the two locations and find footage of Vito shoving Ahmet into a wall. The camera cuts to a different angle, so they don’t know where the pair went after that.

When the detectives try to confront Vito, he flees, then throws something in the trash when they surround him. It’s Ahmet’s bloodstained wallet. Vito insists he just found it in his locker. Someone is trying to frame him. He explains that Ahmet had been badmouthing him at work, so he followed and confronted him—that’s what they saw on CCTV. But he didn’t kill him. Ahmet received a call during the scuffle and was upset to have missed it, then left. The call came from a prepaid phone that can’t be traced.

Perhaps it came from one of the Cuypers—for Cornelis, too, was sleeping with Ahmet, as Van der Valk finds out from Florian. And Ahmet seems to have had something incriminating on the family, as Cornelis and Marielle visit his sister Naz to offer her money in exchange for not speaking to the media. She refuses, but Ahmet’s brother Yusuf—whom Van der Valk sent to jail for gang activity once before—builds on the offer. He has already visited Jacob Prins in search of more information on the Cuypers; now he also visits Cornelis at his home and extorts him.

Cornelis tells Van der Valk that he gave Yusuf 50,000 euros in exchange for his silence—but he’s lying. It was half a million. What secret could Yusuf know? When the detectives arrest him for extortion, he admits that Ahmet told him information he had garnered from Angelina: Cornelis and Marielle were going to sell the company. Angelina wanted to tell Geraldine, but then she died. Yusuf is now using that knowledge to extort Cornelis.

Indeed, Angelina doesn’t approve of the launch of the new diamond line. She invites Jacob, to her siblings’ displeasure. But the launch doesn’t happen. Doc Gruber is found strangled to death in the vault—and the diamond with Geraldine’s ashes is missing. The cameras were disabled with the same code that provides access to the vault—a code that only the Cuypers know.

When Jacob explains that the diamond couldn’t have been stolen for money, because it’s too identifiable to sell, Marielle lashes out and accuses him of always being in love with her mother. (She also reveals that—unsurprisingly, at this point—Florian, too, was sleeping with Ahmet.)

CCTV footage from Cornelis’s house a few weeks earlier does place more suspicion on Jacob: it shows him ranting at the door, saying the Cuyper siblings’ treatment of him will come back to haunt each of them.

But when the detectives try to speak with him, they find his shop trashed. They take the opportunity to determine that his waterjet cutter was not used on Ahmet. He then calls and asks them to meet on a ferry. But before they can get to him through the crowd, he is stabbed. As he dies, he says that everything happened because of Koh-i-noor, and that they did it for love.

Geraldine had an estate in the Bahamas named Koh-i-noor. She sold it soon before her death, even though it was her favorite place. The detectives eventually trace the purchase of the estate to Florian—which is suspicious, given that he has also just told the Cuypers he is leaving his position with them. He was also in Greece with Geraldine when she died, and that situation has some oddities. There was no official autopsy, and her body wasn’t flown home for a week, supposedly due to bad weather—but no flights in or out of Greece were cancelled that week.

Florian has an alibi for Ahmet’s death: he was attending an online seminar. But he attended it on his phone, so he could have been anywhere. When the detectives discover that the Cuypers once owned a warehouse right near where they lost track of Ahmet, they visit and find an old waterjet cutter. A car squeals away as they arrive, and they chase it to a heliport.

The fingernail from Ahmet’s corpse is a near-match to all three Cuyper children—it must be from a close relative. Van der Valk noticed that Chaim Dan wears a mourning ring—it contains leftover ashes from Geraldine’s diamond. Van der Valk had Hendrik test it—and it’s a match to the fingernail. It’s Geraldine’s.

At the heliport, Florian gets out of the car—and eventually Geraldine reveals herself too. The pair are in love, and staged Geraldine’s death to flee together to Koh-i-noor—the company and her family would never have left her alone otherwise.

Ahmet had started digging into her death, so Florian called him to the warehouse and told him to back off. Ahmet attacked Florian, so Geraldine stepped in and bashed his head in with a brick. They sent the body parts to the children to cast suspicion of Jacob after his rant on camera outside Cornelis’s house. Florian then killed Doc Gruber, who became nervous about Geraldine’s “death,” and Jacob, who had figured out that the sale of Koh-i-noor was to Florian, to cover for Geraldine. He stole the diamond so that the detectives couldn’t use the ashes from it to match Geraldine’s DNA to the fingernail.

The company will be different going forward: in a video message that takes the place of her will, Geraldine has left it to Angelina, to everyone’s surprise.

And Van der Valk realizes that people take great risks for love. He calls Lena.