Traces: Female-led forensic crime thriller to return for a second season

Martin Compston and Molly Windsor lead the cast of the forensic drama, written by Amelia Bullmore based on an original idea by best-selling crime writer Val McDermid.

By Sophia Moir Published: 29 January 2021 - 3.20pm
BBC/UKTV Molly Windsor and Martin Compston

Traces is a female-led dark crime thriller that originally aired on Alibi in December 2019 - and now it's getting a prime-time run on the BBC.

Starring Martin Compston (Line of Duty) and Molly Windsor (Cheat), Traces is a suspense-filled drama told from a fresh point of view - where forensic science takes centre stage. 

Set in Scotland, Traces follows three female forensic professionals - Emma Hedges, Sarah Gordon and Kathy Torrance - as they uncover the truth of a murder case and bring a killer to justice.

Described as Happy Valley meets Silent Witness, the show’s been written by Amelia Bullmore (Scott and Bailey, This Life), based on an original idea by best-selling crime writer Val McDermid. 

It’s made by Red Production Company - masters at drama having created Years and Years, Trust Me, and Happy Valley - with an all-female production team

When TV channel is Traces on?

Traces aired on BBC One - and the whole series is available on iPlayer.

How many episodes of Traces are there?

There are six episodes in the series, all available on iPlayer.

Is there a trailer?

Yes there is. A first look trailer for Traces was released in September 2019.

Who's in the cast of Traces?

Traces stars Martin Compston, who Line of Duty fans will immediately recognise as anti-corruption cop DS Steve Arnott. Compston has also appeared in Mary Queen of Scots, Victoria and Ripper Street. Unlike Line of Duty, Compston speaks in his natural Scottish accent in Traces. His character information is not yet known. She plays lab assistant Emma Hedges.

He's joined by Molly Windsor, who won a Bafta for playing Holly Winshaw in Three Girls, about the Rochdale grooming scandal, and who more recently starred as Rose alongside Katherine Kelly in TV drama Cheat.

Traces Molly Windsor Alibi

Traces also stars Laura Fraser (The Missing, Breaking Bad) as Prof. Sarah Gordon, Jennifer Spence (Travelers, You Me Her) as Prof. Kathy Torrance, Laurie Brett (best known for playing Jane Beale in EastEnders), and Michael Nardone (Line of Duty, The Night Manager).

What is Traces about?

The synopsis for the series reads: “Set in Scotland and exploring the world of SIFA, the Scottish Institute of Forensic Science, Traces introduces us to three compelling and very different female characters - Emma Hedges (Windsor), Prof. Sarah Gordon (Fraser) and Prof. Kathy Torrance (Spence) - who together will use the rigors of forensics to uncover the truth about an unsolved murder case.

Traces Martin Molly Alibi

"When 23-year-old Emma Hedges returns to Scotland to take up a new position as a lab assistant at SIFA, she signs up to an online course which teaches the principles of forensic science. 

"But she soon discovers that the fictitious case study has a strikingly similar and shocking link to her past. As Emma’s sleuthing takes her into darker corners and unpicks more and more secrets, it becomes clear that she should trust no-one. It will be Sarah and Kathy’s exacting minds that reward Emma’s faith in the science that has fuelled her imagination and who will ultimately bring a killer to justice.

"Running alongside Emma’s central story, other cases and different forensic disciplines will shine a spotlight on science’s contribution to solving the mysteries of human existence."

Is there a second series of Traces?

Yes, there will be. It was confirmed in September 2020 that another series is in the pipeline.

Season two will again focus on the SIFA forensic science team in Dundee. This time, they will be investigating a series of bombings in the city.


Watch Traces season 1 now on BBC iPlayer.