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British six-part series released in 1998 about vampires in modern London, and a squad which hunts them. Played extremely straight: the vampires don't go around picking fights with people they know can kill them.
The good guys have weapons such as garlic gas grenades, carbon bullets and knives, and guns with video cameras on the side. UV vampires don't register on cameras, video or audio equipment, in addition to not having reflections. However, alarms do go off when they push past an Underground ticket barrier, and they can use keyboards.
Not to be confused with the Milla Jovovich Film Ultraviolet from 2006, which features vampire-like mutants.
- Anchored Ship: There is a definite attraction between soldier Vaughan and scientist March but aside from a tender but hasty top-of-the-head kiss in a late episode nothing comes of it.
- British Brevity: In Britain, where six-episode seasons are common, it's not considered a miniseries.
- Chekhov's Gun: Vampires' ability to regenerate after being staked, set up in the first episode and referenced throughout the series with the vault but not actually seen until the first season finale.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Averted and played straight--other Christian denominations exist (CoE), but the only one ever shown in any depth is Roman Catholicism.
- Church Militant: Subverted. The Code V's claim that the squad is funded by the Vatican, but it's actually supported by the government; the Church "Doesn't like to talk about evil these days". Pearse is a militant Catholic priest, but it's implied that he lost his standing in the Church because of this.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- In the second episode, the girl with the broken back who is turned happens to look a lot like Jack's fiance, with whom Michael has some romantic tension. The "leeches" may have done this deliberately.
- In the fourth episode, the kid who attacks the priest has difficulty washing blood off his little hands.
- Do Wrong Right: Vaughn's reaction in the fourth episode when Mike shoots a guy he incorrectly believes to be a vampire. Vaughn accepts that it was an honest mistake; what really angers him is that the guy survived — if you're going to shoot at a vampire, you want to make damn sure you kill it first try.
- Economy Cast: The anti-vampire force consists of only four people with speaking parts: the leader, the scientist/doctor, the soldier, and the detective. They have a small team of soldiers. The Scotch Tape is that they can only recruit people who have received the Call to Adventure, summarised rather brilliantly by Pearse: "We can't make you believe - only they can do that."
- Fish Out of Water: Everyone besides Mike has been fighting the vampires for years and have the scars and PTSD to prove it. Mike's a little out of his depth compared to his (un)death squad teammates.
- Government Conspiracy: The protagonists are working for it.
- Hey, It's That Guy!/Retroactive Recognition: Javert, Norrington, Jane Bennett and Stringer Bell kill vampires! One of whom is Bill Compton!
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode name is a common Latin phrase with some relevance to the plot.
- Immune to Bullets: Vampires, and how. Even the graphite bullets the hunters use can't slow vampires down unless they hit the heart.
- Improvised Weapon: Vaughan uses a vampire as an explosive to escape a warehouse. Yes, that's right, he weaponized his enemy.
- Instant People, Just Add Water: The dust from each staked vampire has to be locked away, because it's theoretically Instant Vampire Just Add Water — except, of course, that you do not add... water.
- Knight Templar: Certainly Pearse Harman (who is actually a priest) and Vaughan Rice, and arguably Angie March too. Michael Colefield, the new member, is the only one who seems to have any doubts about the team's mission or methods.
- Left Hanging: The series left a lot of loose ends.
- Left Your Lifesaver Behind: Michael rushes out to meet his Unrequited Love Interest, taking his pistol but forgetting the video camera attachment used to identify vampires. This causes problems when he starts suspecting she's a vampire, but has no means of verifying it.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self
- My Beloved Smother: Angie March's remaining living daughter rankles at her mother's helicopter parenting and refusal to let her join the school basketball team as that would mean being out of doors after dark. If she knew what really happened to her father and sister she mightn't have so much of a problem with it.
- My Grandson, Myself: A vampire is revealed to be using this trick in one episode.
- Naive Newcomer: Michael.
- Not Using the Zed Word: The vampires are only ever referred to as "Code 5". Think Roman numerals and you'll get it. Vaughan prefers to call them "leeches".
- Our Vampires Are Different: So are our vampire hunters.
- Look just like humans, without even fangs.
- Don't age, have superhealing.
- Cannot be recorded/transmitted by any audio-visual means: can't even be heard over telephones and have to use computer voice synthesisers. The hunters use video-camera gunsights to distinguish between humans and vampires. Ink's just like any other medium, so you can't even take a vamp's fingerprints.
- Severely burned by sunlight, and sunlight burns never heal.
- Can be killed by the usual staking/beheading options (and in a modern twist, by carbon bullets). Allergic to garlic, though they can suppress its effects temporarily.
- When killed turn to dust with a violently explosive energy discharge that causes serious damage to anyone or anything too close.
- So violent, in fact, that in one episode a character blasts open a door by using a vamp with carbon bullets in its heart as an IED - a vamp locked in a steel coffin.
- Attempting to draw blood results in a vial of air.
- OTOH, they can open a vein in their wrist and produce blood at will, which will regenerate a dusted vampire.
- Cannot usually reproduce sexually, but are experimenting by inserting vampire DNA into human sperm cells and are inseminating living women with the results.
- Saliva has distinctive properties:
- Bites heal instantly without scarring, but can be detected with UV light.
- Unless the bite is sterilized with UV lasers, you become "suggestible". The treatment causes the bite to scar.
- If they drain you dry, you turn into a vampire.
- Paedophile Priest: In "Mea Culpa" a 12-year old boy kills a priest and the team is sent to investigate if the killing is vampire-related. The priest in charge of the team gets annoyed when Michael thinks it's child abuse-related, lampshading the paedophile Catholic priest cliché. Subverted at the end when it turns out the priest was innocent and vampires were involved, yet Harman cynically allows the public to believe the priest was a paedophile to maintain the Masquerade, and coincidentally keep the boy out of Juvie.
- Post-Modern Magik: The team focuses on trying to beat the vampires with science. The vampires return the favor.
- Redemption Quest: Vaughn is the only survivor of a military unit attacked by vampires, and carries a lot of guilt about having escaped by running away.
- Refusal of the Call: Mike, in the first episode.
- Scary Black Man: Vaughan is very scary.
- Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Vaughan, in "Terra Incognita".
- Secret Keeper: Frances.
- Staking the Loved One: Michael is faced with the prospect of having to do this to Kirsty with Jack, who was his close friend.
- The Stoic: Vaughan.
- That Poor Car: When a vampire explodes in Mike's house — long story -- in "In Nomine Patris".
- The Virus: What vampiric infection is treated as.
- The World Is Not Ready: The vampire hunters keep their mouths shut so The Fundamentalists don't get get involved.
Mike: Why all the secrecy? Why not just go public, let people protect themselves?
- Time Bomb: The set piece of a late episode is a character trapped in a warehouse surrounded by coffins containing Code 5's, each with an LED counter ticking down to sunset.
- Welcome Episode: "Habeas Corpus"
...and notably avoids:
- Immune to Bullets: The team uses a variety of high-tech weapons specifically designed to kill "leeches".
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: The possibility is played with, but in the end the consensus appears to be that there is no such thing.
- Hunter of His Own Kind: The vampires are careful to avoid creating these. They never transform someone against their will, and in fact spend decades vetting potential "recruits".