Fact File: Baltic Crimes
Tania Reichert-Facilides, MD of OneGate Media, reveals six crucial details about Der Usedom Krimi (Baltic Crimes), a long-running crime series that centres on the relationship between mother-and-daughter investigators as a murder threatens to tear them apart.
Airing on Germany’s ARD since 2014 and sold into 95 countries around the world, Der Usedom Krimi (Baltic Crimes) boasts one of the more unique settings for a television series.
The show takes place on the island of Usedom, which sits in the Baltic Sea and is divided by the border between Germany and Poland. Against this backdrop, the long-running series centres on a mother-and-daughter pair of investigators who must juggle their personal relationship with their professional duties.
Karin Lossow is a former district attorney who has returned to the island after serving a prison sentence, while her daughter, Julia Thiel, is a detective chief superintendent. As the duo solve criminal cases on both sides of the border, their relationship is marred by the murder of Julia’s father – at the hands of Karin.
With 19 feature-length episodes airing so far, the series stars Katrin Sass, Max Hopp, Rikke Lyllof and Lisa Maria Potthoff. It is produced by Razor Film Production and Poyphon Film and Fernsehgesellscharft, with Hamburg-based distributor OneGate Media handling international sales.
Here, OneGate MD Tania Rechert-Facilides tells DQ six key things to know about the series.
1. The mother-daughter relationship
International hits need characters that audiences can engage with, regardless of where in the world they are from. The compelling mother-daughter investigators in Baltic Crimes are a unique team, with a turbulent past and complex family relationship. Who wouldn’t be curious to see how a daughter manages to love her mother while knowing she killed her father? Their past adds another dimension to the traditional detective genre and provides the opportunity to explore interesting areas of their relationship while they pursue justice for crimes committed on the island.
2. Putting the background in the spotlight
The series takes full advantage of its stunning setting on the island of Usedom. The picturesque landscapes and idyllic coastal scenery contrast against the dark and mysterious crimes that unfold. It’s a place that draws you in. You can almost feel the sea air blowing on your skin.
3. A strained relationship
The heart of the series lies in the strained relationship between Karin and Julia. The murder of Julia’s father has left an indelible mark on their dynamic, and their personal conflicts often intertwine with their professional collaboration. These conflicts serve as catalysts for growth and allow them to push each other to new heights. Karin and Julia’s relationship evolves through the story as they come together to navigate the intricacies of the crimes on the island.
4. Crimes of passion
Passion and what it can drive a person to do is a topic that will always capture people’s attention and stir their imaginations. From Shakespeare’s Othello to sci-fi thriller Minority Report, it’s a space we are fascinated by. The series explores the complex motivations behind crimes, while Karin’s own act of passion sets the stage for the tension and emotional depth that permeates the investigations.
5. Intricate plotlines
Baltic Crimes offers intricate and engaging plotlines, keeping viewers guessing at every turn. With each episode, new layers of the story are unveiled, bringing hidden connections and surprising revelations to the surface.
In episode 17, titled Good News, prominent TV presenter Sandra Berger is found dead, with local businesswoman Britta Hausmann discovering her beaten to death in her vacation home on Usedom. Chief inspector Ellen Norgaard is shocked when she meets the husband of the deceased, fellow well-known TV presenter Jonas Gomez, at the crime scene. Ellen and Jonas share a well-kept secret – a passionate affair.
The plot becomes increasingly complex and intriguing when Ellen confides in her friend and colleague, Karin, about her secret relationship. Although no one at the police station would suspect Ellen to have met with Jonas Gomez at the time of the murder, she is well aware that if the truth were to come out, it would mean the end of her career and likely the end of the road for her lover, who has no alibi. Layered plotlines like this make each episode appealing to a wide range of territories and audiences, while being complex enough to stand out and be memorable.
6. Emotional depth
Beyond the thrilling crime-solving aspect, Baltic Crimes delves into the emotional depth of its characters. The series explores themes of guilt, forgiveness and redemption, adding a compelling human element to the overall narrative.
The writer of Baltic Crimes, Dinah Marte Golch, says: “I really appreciate that this series is not just about crime, but also about family dramas, loyalties and relationships. The depth of the characters takes precedence over action and contrived twists.”
The series unveils the complexities of the characters through their different relationships. On Ellen Norgaard’s first day back at work after her maternity leave, any mother’s worst nightmare unfolds: her one-year-old son Jesper is abducted from his daycare provider. Commissioner Rainer Witt and former prosecutor Karin mobilise all their resources to find the child.
A crucial piece of evidence leads Karin on the right track: the kidnapper is Patrizia, Ellen’s mother, who disappeared without a trace more than 30 years ago. Karin and Patrizia were close friends during their teenage years. Given her familiarity with Patrizia from that time, Karin is deeply involved in the case. As Ellen grows increasingly desperate, the investigators race against time to uncover Patrizia’s whereabouts with the child. As the investigation unfolds, it becomes apparent that Ellen’s mother was recently in a psychiatric facility.
tagged in: ARD, Baltic Crimes, Der Usedom Krimi, Dinah Marte Golch, Katrin Sass, Lisa Maria Potthoff, Max Hopp, OneGate Media, Poyphon Film and Fernsehgesellscharft, Razor Film Production, Rikke Lyllof, Tania Reichert-Facilides