ITV’s serial killer drama Des was a huge hit for the network when it premiered in the U.K. in September. Now Des is hitting the U.S., with the first episode to premiere on Sundance Now on Thursday, October 15. This three-part mini-series chronicles the arrest, investigation, and trial of British serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who murdered between 12 and 15 young men in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Des was created by director Lewis Arnold and writers Luke Neal and Kelly Jones. It also boasts an impressive cast, starring Daniel Mays as head Detective Peter Jay, John Watkins as biographer Brian Masters, and David Tennant as the killer himself, Dennis Nilsen. Chanel Cresswell and Joel Morris give standout performances as the surviving partner of one of Nilsen’s victims and an intended victim forced to take the witness stand respectively. The show premiered to overwhelmingly positive reviews. The Independent’s Ed Cumming praised its “confident script directed with a good sense of time and place,” and Thomas Ling of Radio Times called David Tennant’s performance as the titular killer “one of the best performances in an impeccable career.”
The series was a massive commercial success as well, breaking multiple ratings records. It immediately became ITV’s biggest drama launch of 2020, premiering with a third of its timeslot at 5.9 million viewers. It was later announced that the first episode of Des had been watched by 10 million in its first week, including viewing figures for the original broadcasts, repeat viewings, and catch up on ITV Hub. This made it ITV’s most-watched drama launch in 14 years, since Wild at Heart in 2006. It also broke ratings records for the network’s catch up service, ITV Hub, with 1.7 million viewers.
With critical and commercial endorsements like that, you can see why Des is a show that no viewer will want to miss. Des will be available for streaming on Sundance Now from Thursday, October 15.