Commissioner Leonardo Cagliostro (Lino Guanciale) and Vanessa (Valentina Romani) return for more supernatural meanderings in this unusual Italian thriller from Walter Presents.
If you want to avoid all spoilers, stop reading now.
Leonardo is basically stuck in an earthly version of purgatory. He “died” right at the start of the first series, but chose not to pass through The Red Door to the afterlife. Leonardo wanted to find out who murdered him before he disappeared into Heaven (or wherever); and also believed his wife to be in mortal danger herself. Vanessa, a teenage girl with some dodgy friends, is a clairvoyant and is the only person who can see Leonardo.
Those of us of a certain vintage will recognise a lot of parallels with the fabulous ‘Randall And Hopkirk Deceased’, where Randall was the only one who could see his dead partner, Hopkirk. But whereas RAHD had its tongue very firmly in its ghostly cheek, ‘The Red Door’ (‘la porta rossa’ in Italian) takes itself way more seriously.
In Season 2, Leo’s wife – Gabriella (Anna Mayer) – is heavily pregnant with Leo’s child (obviously conceived before his death!). She is still in the police force, and it’s whilst she’s investigating the case of a man who was the victim of a murder attempt, she realises her baby is on its way. There are some complications, but thankfully she safely gives birth to a baby daughter.
Leo is there for the birth, of course (although no-one can see him, obviously) – but as his daughter is born, he gets a strange vision of her being kidnapped and her life being put in danger. I mean, how unlucky is this family? So, that Red Door will have to stay closed for another twelve (yes, twelve!) episodes until he can find out who is threatening his child and do what it takes to protect her, using Vanessa as his mortal touchpoint.
Meanwhile Vanessa’s boyfriend has got himself in trouble by breaking into a disused warehouse with some musician friends. Whilst they’re having a surprisingly melodious impromptu jam, a drunk man threatens them with a knife. They all run away, but Vanessa’s friend goes back to challenge the man. But when he gets there, the man has been shot. Of course, chummy gets his hands and clothes covered in blood (whilst you the viewer is screaming at the screen “don’t touch the body!!”) and Vanessa is woken in the night to come and sort it out the mess he’s gotten himself into.
Whereas many Italian shows look stunning and idyllic, with fabulous scenery, glorious sunshine and delicious food, ‘The Red Door’ is the very antithesis of this with its permanent torrential rain and graffiti-peppered urban locations. No-one smiles and it’s all very dour.
If you enjoy a dark (literally dark, most of the time) thriller with a supernatural twist, then give this a go, but I’d suggest watching S1 first to get the full backstory. It’s not really my cup of tea, but hats off to Walter Presents for giving us something different.
Walter Presents: ‘The Red Door’ Season 2 is available as a full boxset on C4 Streaming now.