It is a pity that this boxed set in unavailable for purchase here in the US because Van der Valk is truly an absorbing and entertaining detective drama that featured the late talented actor Barry Foster as Commissaris Piet Van Der Valk of the Amsterdam Police. With an catchy opening theme called "Eye Level," the series was not only shot on location around quaint Amsterdam and its canals, but was filled with a number of engaging stories involving murder, kidnapping, blackmail, illicit drugs, and prostitution with many elite, high-profile suspects.
Those expecting a crime drama on the order of "Mannix" or the popular UK series "The Professionals" are likely to be disappointed. Van der Valk is a detective drama similar to the popular series "Columbo" here in the US or "Bergerac" in the UK. But unlike Peter Falk's exasperating detective from the LAPD, Foster's character has a certain appeal: a cynical and hardened yet sophisticated cop with a taste for fine wines, classical music, and quoting Baudelaire.
Supporting cast is also excellent with Susan Travers as Van der Valk's wife, Arlette, and Michael Latimer as Inspector Johnny Kroon, Van der Valk's rookie detective-in-training clearly recalling the chemistry between Karl Malden and Michael Douglas in the popular "Streets of San Francisco" soon to be released here in the US on DVD.
The entire series will be released in a Network DVD set in October 2007 in Region 2 PAL encoding. Ultimately, this would be the set to shoot for as Network typically includes so many worthwhile and interesting extras and interviews with their multi-dvd sets. I am sure this will be a most welcome addition to their UK detective canon.