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When is Traces on TV? Who is in the cast, and how can I watch it?

Laura Fraser, Molly Windsor and Martin Compston star in the forensic crime thriller.

Traces on Alibi
Published: Monday, 4th January 2021 at 2:35 pm

Crime drama Traces is coming to the BBC, having previously scored recording ratings for UKTV's Alibi channel.


The series originally aired on Alibi in December 2019, but is now launching on BBC One, with the whole series also being available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Starring Molly Windsor, Martin Compston and Laura Fraser, Traces is an emotionally-driven murder mystery that focuses on three women working together at the Scottish Institute of Forensic Science (SIFA) – boasting a top-tier cast and creative team, it's been written by Amelia Bullmore (Scott & Bailey) and is based an original story idea by best-selling crime writer Val McDermid.

Here's everything you need to know about the six-parter.

When is Traces on BBC One?

Traces will begin airing weekly on BBC One on Monday 4th January at 9pm, with the whole series also available to stream on BBC iPlayer after the first episode has aired.

The series originally aired on Alibi (Sky channels 132/826, Virgin 126/200, BT 312/382, TalkTalk 312) from in December 2019 and was also made available via On Demand service UKTV Play.

Traces cast

Traces follows three female leads – Emma Hedges (Three Girls' Molly Windsor), Prof. Sarah Gordon (Breaking Bad's Laura Fraser) and Prof. Kathy Torrance (Continuum's Jennifer Spence) – who together use the rigors of forensics to uncover the truth about an unsolved murder case.

When 23-year-old Emma (Windsor) returns to Scotland to take up a new position as a lab assistant at SIFA, she signs up to a MOOC – Massive Open 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 (Fraser) and Kathy’s (Spence) exacting minds that reward Emma’s faith in the science that has fuelled her imagination and who will ultimately bring a killer to justice.

Traces - Laura Fraser
Traces - Laura Fraser UKTV

"My character, she feels a sense of responsibility and duty towards her students, but she tries to maintain quite a strong boundary between them... it's a professional boundary that can't be crossed," Fraser told

"But at the same time she feels such maternal urges towards Molly's character because she's so vulnerable and so bright. She kind of can't help but love her a little bit, but she has to do it from a distance... but they do end up quite close towards the end of the series!"

Line of Duty star Martin Compston is also part of the Traces cast as Daniel, who forms a close connection with Emma and also finds himself caught up in a criminal investigation.

Martin Compston in Alibi's Traces

"His dad (played by Vincent Regan) passed him on one of his building companies and there's a suspicious fire which results in a couple of fatalities," Compston told

"Daniel's company did the original building work for where the fire happened and legally they're drawn into it, whether they might have possibly been culpable for the fire.

"At the same time he's met Molly's character and those two are falling for each other, but they're both in very turbulent times in their lives so it makes for some fiery encounters!"

Traces trailer

You can watch a trailer for the show's BBC broadcast below.

Where was Traces filmed?

Traces is set against the stunning Scottish landscape in and around Dundee, but much of the series was actually filmed in Manchester.

"I didn't actually get to film in Scotland for this," Fraser revealed. "It's set in Dundee but they actually only shot for a week in Dundee. It was all Manchester."


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