Traces on BBC1 - Cast, plot and everything you need to know

Traces cast
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 24/12/2020 - Programme Name: Traces - TX: n/a - Episode: Traces - Iconic (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Prof. Kathy Torrance (JENNIFER SPENCE), Prof. Sarah Gordon (LAURA FRASER), Emma (MOLLY WINDSOR), Daniel (MARTIN COMPSTON) - (C) UKTV - Photographer: Des Willie (Image credit: BBC / UKTV / Des Willie)

Traces, the forensic crime drama starring Line of Duty’s Martin Compston, is coming to BBC1

Co-created by Coronation Street actress Amelia Bullmore and legendary crime fiction author Val McDermid, Traces on BBC1 is a great drama to get your teeth into at the start of the year. 

The show’s first series originally aired on Alibi in late 2019, but the BBC has picked it up to bring it to a much wider audience this January. Here’s everything you need to know about Traces...

When is Traces on BBC1?

Traces airs at 9pm on BBC1 on the 4th January. It continues at the same time on BBC1 the following day.

You can also watch all six episodes on BBC iPlayer if you can’t wait for the rest of the show to air live.

MORE: Everything you need to know about Pooch Perfect

Who’s in Traces?

Traces stars Molly Windsor (Three Girls) as Emma Hedges, a new lab technician at the Scottish Institute of Forensic Science (SIFA).

Working alongside her at SIFA are Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad, The Missing) as Professor Sarah Gordon and Jennifer Spence (Travelers, Continuum) as Professor Kathy Torrence. 

Martin Compston (Line of Duty, The Nest) also features as Emma’s love interest and local builder, Daniel. He has previously described the series as a change to what we’d normally expect from his work as Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott in Line of Duty.

According to Compston, Traces is "a dark, twisty crime drama" that will see the SIFA team getting every piece of the puzzle "down to the minutest detail". He reckons viewers might just learn a little bit about forensic science if they tune in!

What’s the plot?

Traces is set in and around Dundee in Scotland, and follows lab assistant Emma Hedges. She returns to her childhood home of Dundee to start a new job at SIFA. Here, she gets tangled up in an old, personal cold-case.

Whilst studying an online introductory course in forensic science, Emma realises there's something striking about the fictitious case study she's working on: it bears a resemblance to her own mother’s unsolved murder! When she starts a relationship with Daniel, she doesn't know that his company might be somehow involved in the murder case her boss at SIFA has been helping the police to investigate. 

The whole show sees Emma, Kathy and Sarah working together to bring a killer to justice.

Is there a trailer for Traces?



Traces airs on BBC1 on Monday 4th January at 9pm. It continues the following day.

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at

Martin is a Staff Writer with, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.