Before We Die — release date, cast, plot, trailer and everything you need to know

Before We Die: a composite shot of the key characters: Dubravka, Davor, Stefan, Christian, Hannah, Billy, Tina and Bianca
Before We Die on C4 stars Lesley Sharp, Patrick Gibson and Vincent Regan. (Image credit: C4)

Before We Die is a taut and gripping British drama that's finally making its way to the US.

about two families on polar opposite sides of the law. Based on the hit Swedish series of the same name, it follows Bristol detective Hannah Laing (Lesley Sharp) as she investigates the disappearance of her lover Sean, and finds herself up against the charismatic but deeply dangerous Mimica family.

C4's Head of Drama Caroline Hollick says: "Every episode of Before We Die is a rollercoaster of excitement — and I'm so delighted to have Lesley Sharp bring her trademark gravitas and charisma to C4. It's a privilege to be part of this truly inspiring European collaboration."

Here's everything you need to know about the series.

Before We Die: The Mimica family — and Christian — enjoy a family meal around the long table in their restaurant, with Dubravka sitting at the head of the table

The Mimicas throw a mean family dinner, but they're not to be crossed. (Image credit: C4)

Before We Die release date

Before We Die launched on C4 on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. The six-episode series has now aired in the UK and is currently available to stream as a box set on All4, where you can also stream the original Swedish version via Walter Presents.

In the US, Before We Die will premiere on, The PBS Video App and PBS Passport at 10 pm ET. New episodes will air every week.

What is the plot of Before We Die?

Before We Die is set in Bristol, and follows DI Hannah Laing when her lover — police colleague Sean Hardacre— goes missing after telling her he was going to meet an informant. After raising the alarm at work, Hannah goes in search of anyone who might have seen Sean that morning and eventually finds the mobile phone that Sean was using to communicate with his informant, "Issy", abandoned in the street. Convinced that "Issy" could be the key to finding Sean, Hannah decides to use the phone to contact "Issy" herself.

As the investigation develops, Hannah is teamed up with Billy Murdoch, a former soldier and military intelligence officer who is an expert on Eastern European drug gangs. He knows that before Sean disappeared, he was looking into the Mimicas, a powerful Croatian crime family running a drugs racket across the city, and suspects this may have something to do with Sean vanishing.

Meanwhile, Hannah's son Christian has recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for dealing drugs — an arrest that Hannah herself oversaw. Relations between Hannah and Christian are understandably strained, and although Hannah knows that Christian now has a job in a restaurant, what she doesn't know is that while in prison Christian shared a cell with Stefan Vargic, the boyfriend of Bianca Mimica, and is now working in the family's restaurant...

Before We Die: DI Hannah Laing (Lesley Sharp) and her son Christian (Patrick Gibson) standing outside a nightclub, he is glowering at her

Hannah busted her son for drug dealing — can they repair their relationship? (Image credit: C4)

Who stars in Before We Die?

Lesley Sharp (Scott & Bailey, Three Girls) stars as DI Hannah Laing. As a big fan of the original Swedish series, it's a role she was very excited to take on. "Hannah is very private, and she's quite damaged and she hasn't got the best means of dealing with that," says Lesley. "She's facing up to the fact that maybe she's failed a little bit in her career, although that has been one of the most important things to her, she's failed at her first marriage, she's failed as a mother, and she's running out of time and chances to feel like something in her life is worthwhile."

Patrick Gibson (The OA) plays her son, Christian: "For many, many reasons, Christian feels the need to prove himself," says Patrick. "He doesn't quite want to admit it to himself or to anybody else, but he feels a strong desire to prove himself as a man, and as worthy of standing amongst his own family — and his mother, who's obviously an incredibly upstanding member of society. I think he feels a need to act in a just way in order to gain her love and be deserving of that."

Vincent Regan (Poldark, Flesh And Blood, Traces) plays Billy Murdoch: "He's been seconded to Bristol to bring the police there up to speed with the sort of eastern European drug problem they may or may not have," says Vincent. "He's brought on board when Sean, the policeman who — unbeknownst to Billy — is having a relationship with Hannah, goes missing and uses his connections and insider knowledge of the drugs scene to help Hannah and her colleagues track Sean down."

Before We Die: crime boss Davor Mimica (Toni Gojanovic) stands in a black suit, black shirt and black scarf, looking brooding

Enigmatic Davor runs the Mimica family's various illegal activities. (Image credit: C4)

The cast also includes Rebecca Scroggs (EastEnders, Flack) as Hannah and Billy's boss Tina, Bill Ward (Coronation Street, Emmerdale, After Life) as Hannah's married lover Sean Hardacre, Kazia Pelka (Heartbeat, Family Affairs) as matriarch Dubravka Mimica, Toni Gojanovic as the driving force of the family business Davor Mimica, Issy Knopfler as youngest child Bianca Mimica, and Petar Cvirn (Strike Back: Vendetta) as Stefan Vargic, Christian's friend and Bianca's boyfriend.

What happened in episode one? 

The first episode of Before We Die introduced us to DI Hannah Laing, who launches an urgent manhunt into the disappearance of her married lover and fellow police officer Sean Hardacre. But it's not looking good for the officer, as this episode showed him being beaten and tortured by an unknown man. By the end of episode one, this manhunt becomes a murder investigation.

It's also revealed that Hannah's son Christian was close to Sean, as flashbacks showed the police officer supporting Christian both in prison and after his release. Christian even tips Sean off after releasing the Eastern European restaurant he currently works in might actually be a front for something else. Could Christian's employers be the ones responsible for Sean's murder?

What happened in episode two?

Hannah and her new partner, Billy, work with Hannah’s boss, Tina, to go over their leads into the Mimica family away from the murder investigation, which is being made a top priority. Meanwhile, Christian continues to work with Stefan Vargic. Together, they secure a new drug-running relationship with Albanian dealer Andri. When Hannah goes to check on her inside source "Izzy" at that meeting, she discovers her insider is her own son, Christian! 

Christian continues to work hard to earn the Mimica’s trust, and is eventually promoted to working directly for Davor Mimica after he rescues the crime lord from some kidnappers. Despite her protests, Christian insists on continuing to work undercover to help catch Sean’s killer, planting a recording device on Davor during a later meeting with Andri. Just after Christian and Hannah leave their safe house, Stefan is seen parked outside… does this mean Christian’s cover is blown?

Is there a trailer for Before We Die?

C4 released the first official trailer for Before We Die, and you can view it below! It certainly promises lots of drama ahead, including a huge explosion.

See more

Where was Before We Die filmed?

Before We Die was filmed in Bristol with the support of the city’s Film Office.

Explaining the choice to shoot in Bristol, Exec Producer Jo McGrath says: “We wanted to set it in a port city, as that is important to the drug trafficking storyline. We were looking for something a little less familiar and Bristol is one of those cities that actually has been used as a backdrop for filming a lot, but you wouldn’t know it because a lot of series are filmed there but not set there. 

“Bristol is such a visually interesting city and editorially it fitted with our storyline. Belgium also features in our drug trafficking storyline. Jan (the Director) is Belgian too and we did shoot many of the interiors in Belgium.”

Steven Perkins
Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and

Steven Perkins is a Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and, who has been writing about TV professionally since 2008. He was previously the TV Editor for Inside Soap before taking up his current role in 2020. He loves everything from gritty dramas to docusoaps about airports and thinks about the Eurovision Song Contest all year round.