'Van der Valk' Recap: Season 3 Episode 1

Daniel Hautzinger
Hendrik squats and works on a crime scene while Lucienne squats behind him and Van der Valk stands
A freerunning champion is shot and killed while driving. Photo: Company Pictures, NL Films & A3MI

Van der Valk airs Sundays at 9:00 pm and is available to stream via the PBS app and wttw.com. Recap the previous and following episodes.
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Van der Valk would never admit it, but he loves his team. So the departure of Brad for INTERPOL and of Job to travel with his recently revealed sister is difficult—and the need to replace them even more tricky. Eddie Suleman, a puffed-up hotshot who might be able to beat Van der Valk in chess—their game is interrupted—has already joined the team. Van der Valk is still trying to suss him out.

Another candidate, Citra Li, comes recommended by the coroner Hendrik, who was friends with her parents. Both of them died within two weeks of each other: her mother of cancer, her dad of heartbreak. Citra is eager to leave the Traffic department behind and finds a chance to prove herself when she is the first to arrive on the scene of a murder.

Caspar Yuliani, an athlete who competes in the athletic, city-traversing sport of freerunning, was driving to the train station with his girlfriend Marian Segers to depart for a competition in Paris when he was shot through the windshield of his car. He died, while Marian was injured in the crash that ensued.

Sanne van Arle, a friend from the freerunning community, was video-chatting Caspar and Marian when Caspar was shot, so she quickly arrives at the scene and accompanies the detectives to the hospital to see Marian. Before she gets there, however, she receives a call from another freerunner, Milton Paul, who tells her not to say anything to the police—not that she knows anything.

Sanne has been worried about Milton, who left the party seeing Caspar off to Paris with Caspar and never returned, even though Caspar did. Before being shot, Caspar told Marian that with the help of Milton he made “it” go away—they’re free now. Milton is now in hiding.

Marian’s doctor is Van der Valk’s onetime paramour Lena, and they treat each other frostily. She won’t let the detectives see Marian until she has recovered some.

Lucienne and Eddie go to inform Caspar’s father Greg of his son’s death. He is shocked into near silence. He served as a kind of promoter for Caspar, who recently won 10,000 euros in a competition that secured him a place in the European championships. Milton came second in that competition and got nothing. But Milton and Caspar were friends. Greg had recently gotten Caspar a sponsorship; he was starting to go pro.

Greg was wary of Caspar dating Marian, because she used to be the girlfriend of the so-called “godfather of freerunning,” Lenny Holst. Caspar used to be part of Lenny’s crew, but, as Lenny himself explains to the detectives, Lenny started to disagree with Milton and Caspar about freerunning: they treated it like a business, while Lenny considers it an art form.

By all accounts, Lenny is a good man: he was orphaned and raised his brother, Gert, and now brings people with drug charges into his posse to help reform them—including Finn Jonker, who has a criminal record that is known to Lucienne and Van der Valk. They don’t believe Finn’s claim that he’s a changed man. But Gert offers an alibi for Lenny: they were both together at home, while Lenny was gaming. 

Lenny no longer freeruns, having misjudged a jump from the fifth floor of a building and injured his leg, causing a limp, but companies now hire his posse to break into their buildings and expose vulnerabilities.

Van der Valk’s boss Dahlman is impressed by Citra when she submits her report on the scene of Caspar’s death, so Dahlman adds her to the team for this one case, despite Van der Valk’s objections. So Citra is on hand to review footage from the open-air train station Caspar was driving to and see that Milton was there. The road was visible from the station. Some blood from the scene of the crash has been identified as Milton’s. The footage shows that he panicked and fell when he heard shots ring out, cutting his hand, which then bled as he went past the crash. He wasn’t the shooter, despite the detective’s suspicions.

But they still can’t find him, so when Lena texts Lucienne to say that Marian is ready to talk to the detectives at the hospital and they interrupt Sanne speaking to Marian there, Van der Valk sends Eddie and Citra to follow Sanne in the hope that she leads them to Milton.

She does, meeting Milton in a junkyard. He tells her that he’ll be the next target and that they have to flee, but he can’t go to the police because of Marian—without explaining further. Despite Van der Valk’s orders, Eddie reveals himself to the pair. They put their freerunning skills to use and dart across containers to flee, with Eddie close behind.

Luckily, Van der Valk and Lucienne have gotten nowhere in their questioning of Marian—she didn’t answer anything, and Lena intervened in the interview when Marian began crying—and so have arrived at the junkyard to catch Sanne and Milton. Citra tries to take the blame for disobeying orders, but Van der Valk sees through her and knows it was Eddie.

Van der Valk is wary of Citra because he doesn’t know anything about her, but Lucienne points out that her guardedness is not unlike Van der Valk’s own. And she isn’t entirely closed off: Eddie catches her quietly crying while going through images and videos of Caspar and Marian together.

Milton claims that he was waiting at the train station for Caspar in order to give him a cross necklace that Milton’s own father gave Milton. Sanne reveals that Marian told her in the hospital that everything was Marian’s fault, but Van der Valk and Lucienne appeared before Marian could say more.

Milton has been using a prepaid burner phone to contact Sanne, but the detectives figure he must also have a smartphone somewhere that could reveal more information—if they can find it.

The detectives do have Marian’s phone, which receives a threatening text that says, “I want you, I’m watching you,” with a picture of her hospital window. As the detectives rush to the hospital, Lena tells Marian that her family have been asking after her—and Marian becomes nervous and wants to leave, because her family is not around.

As the detectives arrive, a gunshot comes through the hospital window. Lucienne's hand is cut by the broken glass, but she quickly closes the curtain and rushes off to find the shooter with Van der Valk. But all that’s left are some bullet casings on a neighboring roof.

Meanwhile, Marian has fled in the chaos. As she leaves the hospital, barefoot and in just a gown, someone hits her on the back of the head and she crumples.