Ultraviolet crosshatches vampirism with the British cop show. Indeed, Ultraviolet is more akin to a series like The Sweeney (1975-8) or The Professionals (1977-83) than it is to Blade or Vampires. It comes with a realism of presentation where one constantly has to pinch themself to make sure that it is a vampire series taking place. Accordingly, the word vampire is never mentioned once throughout instead we have casual allusions to Code V and leeches. There is a considerable conceptual audacity to the throwaway nonchalance of some of the series ideas of Vatican-funded anti-vampire SWAT teams armed with garlic tear gas grenades and carbonite bullets and the vampires, who fund haematological research centres, guarding themselves against any stakes through the heart with bulletproof vests.
The third episode Sub Judice reaches a point of positive ingenuity as we encounter a woman impregnated with genetically crossbred vampire sperm. Writer Joe Ahearne then dazzlingly compounds this by throwing in a vampiric twist on the abortion/Right to Life debate here the Catholic Church sanctions the abortion without even a second question!!! not to mention having the woman, as she flees the enforced attempts to abort her undead child, unwittingly run into the arms of a Christian group posing as an abortion counselling service. Seemingly determined to stir controversy as much as he reworks the vampire myth, Ahearne, in the subsequent episode has the team unable to decide whether a boy stabbing a priest was the result of a vampire infestation or the boy turning on a paedophiliac priest the episode comes with a pertinent lecture by Philip Quasts priest about jumping to conclusions and assuming that just because a priest likes to work with boys that his interest must be indecent. The only weak story among the six is episode five where the sickle cell anaemia plot never seems to go anywhere.
There is some exceptional writing in these episodes. In the fifth episode, Corin Redgraves vampire has a startling speech taunting Philip Quasts priest Tell me, father, have you any proof other than our existence that God exists? In the time since you believed, has God given you any other sign? Doesnt that leave you in a quandary we are evil and yet we are your only proof that God exists? and later tempting him Do you not understand? There is no afterlife. We are immortality. In fact, the vampires get to present their own side so persuasively that by the end of the series their motivations seem so sympathetic that one seriously starts to question whether the vampire hunters may not be misguided in their crusade.
Joe Ahearnes only weakness in the series is when it comes to directing action with his various car chases, SWAT team assaults and vampire attacks seeming hurried and confused. Although there is one remarkably tense scene in the fifth episode with Idris Elba locked in a warehouse with a bunch of time-locked vampire coffins about to open and contemplating shooting himself. However, Ultraviolet is a series that works on a cerebral level, not an action level, so one can easily forgive Ahearne for this. In every other way, Ultraviolet is easily one of the most original attempts to rework vampire mythology.
Subsequent to Ultraviolet, director/writer Joe Ahearne went onto a number of other productions in British television including as director of episodes of the short-lived Strange (2002) about a priest hunting demons; directing/writing Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets (2004), a half documentary, half-science-fiction work that speculates about spaceflight; directing episodes of the modern revival of Doctor Who (2005 ); writing Perfect Parents (2006), a non-genre tv play thriller that similarly digs into matters Catholic; writing/directing Apparitions (2008), a similar tv mini-series about demonic possession; directed/writing the haunted house tv mini-series The Secret of Crickley Hall (2012); and the screenplay for the mind-bending Danny Boyle hypnotism thriller Trance (2013).