In the UK Channel 4 series ULTRAVIOLET (1998), Michael, a police detective, discovers an ancient war between vampires and a secret government organization supported by the Vatican.
This is a brilliant series. The first episode has a 90s British TV quality that took this North American a little getting used to, but by the second episode I was thoroughly hooked, and by the third, blown away. Get ready for intense and original plots, moody and dark atmosphere (with a terrific score), and excellent acting by a cast including Jack Davenport and Idris Elba.
The series treats vampires as people who chose to become infected and thereby immortal, and thereby have conflicting interests with the rest of humanity, blending in science and politics. Michael’s addition brings an investigative eye to the vampire hunting team, which includes a priest, former soldier and scientist. ULTRAVIOLET plays with your sympathies, as the vampires appear at times to be the underdog, and the vampire hunters to be a ruthless death squad. It also focuses heavily on the psychological toll of being a vampire hunter, as the vampires excel at finding your weakness and exploiting it to try to get you to do what they want. That means endless killing, virtually disappearing from normal society, and no meaningful human contact outside the team.
By the end of the first season (six episodes), the clandestine human-vampire war approaches its climax, resulting in a thrilling finish that left me wanting more. Unfortunately, the writer-director apparently was so busy with the first season he never outlined a second, and he also apparently had a belief that TV series shouldn’t play out too long and thereby go soft. As a result, prepare to be thoroughly entertained, then addicted, then go through withdrawal. I’d followed the news way back when that an American network was trying to remake it for the US market–and starring Idris Elba reprising his role–but the project flopped after the unaired pilot, they just couldn’t pull it off.
The first season is hard to get, and I had to buy it used on DVD through Amazon. If you’re a hardcore vampire fan, though, you may find it worth the effort.