Four Compelling Reasons to Watch Code of a Killer

Title Screen - Code of a Killer

The old saying “truth is stranger than fiction” should be supplemented with another phrase: “and often truth is just as fascinating as fiction.” I recently was able to watch Code of a Killer, which is the dramatization of a true story. Code of a Killer premiered in the US on February 27, 2017 and is available at, a streaming service, and on a variety of devices.

There is so much about modern life that we take for granted. Because of that, it is important to be reminded of the amount of hard work that goes into the advances that are beneficial to society. A good case in point is the development of DNA matching to help solve crimes. Did you know that this tool for law enforcement was only developed a little over 30 years ago?

If you watch crime shows and even dramas in general, DNA profiling is the go to test to confirm the identity of a criminal and to establish parentage. We watch with satisfaction as the killer leaves behind some kind of DNA sample – hair, skin, body fluids, etc. – which then lead to his or her undoing.

Based on a True Story

Baker and Jeffreys - Code of a Killer

Dr. Alec Jeffreys, a research scientist at Leicester University in the UK, discovered a method for biological identification in 1984. First used for establishing parentage, it was the brutal murder of a school girl in 1986 in Leicestershire while resulted in Detective David Baker contacting Prof. Jeffreys and initiated the use of DNA fingerprinting in crime investigations. Three years earlier another school girl from a neighboring village had also been brutally murdered, and Baker was convinced it was the same murderer and was desperate to bring the perpetrator to justice.

Of course, scientific discovery does not occur in a straight line. There are fits and starts, and of course failures. It can be an incredibly frustrating line of work, but the rewards when a discovery is made are quite gratifying, and sometimes lucrative! The story of the hard work and determination in finding the killer is compelling and at the same time illustrative of scientific inquiry and methodology. The dogged determination of both Jeffreys and Baker in overcoming obstacles as they worked to solve the crimes had me fully engaged with the story.

It’s All About the Journey

Baker and team  - Code of a Killer

Since this is a historical event, we all know how it turns out – or at least if you are familiar with the actual events you do. Certainly it is a dramatization, but the basic story line is true to the actual events.

However, knowing the outcome does not diminish the tension because the journey is a circuitous affair, and has unexpected events along the way. This keeps you on the edge of your seat and wondering just who the guilty party is and if anyone else will die while he is still on the loose.

Location, Location, Location

Baker and Jeffreys - Code of a Killer

Being in the right place at the right time is one of the life sayings you hear all the time when something good happens to someone. But, it is not a cliché – it is a fact that opportunities present themselves and swift actions often result in positive outcomes.

The fact that the murders occurred not far from the University where Prof. Jeffreys worked was very helpful because it allowed a close collaboration between Baker and Jeffreys as they worked together to solve the crimes.

Unknown First Time Questions

Baker - Code of a Killer

One of the downsides to being a pioneer in any scientific breakthrough is that frequently there are many more questions than answers associated with the breakthrough. For instance, in the early days of DNA profiling, it was not known how long body samples remained viable for testing and if results from samples that were years old would actually be able to produce accurate results.

This was critical for the two cases under investigation because one of the victims had been killed three years earlier. Would evidence from her murder still be able to yield condemning results that would stand up in court?


Do you enjoy dramatizations of historical events? Are you familiar with the early development of DNA profiling? Do you think you would enjoy watching Code of a Killer? Please let me know in the comments section if you have seen Code of a Killer or if you intend to watch it! I would love to hear what you think about it.