Category Archives: Belgian Crime Drama

Red Light: Carice van Houten and Maaike Neuville star in sex worker drama

The Dutch/Belgian series Red Light has debuted in Europe and has won rave reviews.

The 10-episode series starring Carice van Houten and Maaike Neuville (who may recognise from De Twaalf) portrays three women with completely different background whose lives unexpectedly intertwine.

Sylvia, a prostitute (van Houten), runs a brothel with her shady boyfriend/pimp in Antwerp’s Red Light district.

Esther (Halina Reijn) is a well-known soprano and comes from a healthy environment. Evi (Neuville) is a cop and mother trying to combine a major case with her family life. When Esther’s husband, a well-known philosophy professor suddenly goes missing, their destinies become intertwined. 

These women turn to each other in order to escape the trap they have fallen into, and liberate themselves from the control of the men in their lives.

Winning rave reviews in its native Belgium and Holland, there’s no word yet on when this series will be coming to the UK.

More news as we get it.

The Twelve (De Twaalf): Who’s who in the Belgian crime drama?

All4/Walter Presents’ next binge-worthy crime series is Belgian story, The Twelve (De Twaalf).

And it’s a good one. Our review will follow tomorrow, but until then we’ve put together a who’s who guide – there are a lot of characters, a lot of intertwining stories and some real twists and turns.

Set in the city of Ghent it follows the high-profile, tense court case, which sees a schoolteacher in the dock, accused of murdering her best friend and her daughter.


Frie Palmers (Maaike Cafmeyer)

Everything revolve around Frie Palmers – a school teacher who is accused of murdering not only her best friend in 2000, but her baby daughter. Two heinous crimes, but is this complex character who has been through deep pain and loss guilty?


Stefaan De Munck (Johan Heldenbergh)

Connected to both cases is Stefaan De Munck – a man who got together with Frie after the murder of his (pregnant) partner Brechtje, also Frie’s best friend. After Frie fell pregnant with their daughter Roos, Stefaan did the dirty on her, too, and left her for Margot.

Margot (Greet Verstraete)

Stefaan’s pregnant partner Margot worked at the same school a Frie, and soon became romantically involved. But the toll of Stefaan’s past and Frie’s manipulative ways soon get on top of her during the court case. What role does she play in the mystery?

Marc Vindevogel (Koen De Sutter)

Marc is the father of Brechtje, and is convinced that Frie did not kill his daughter. An animal rights activist, he’s locked horns with hormone dealer Guy Vanneste, one of the main suspects in Brechtje’s murder.


Holly Ceusters (Charlotte De Bruyne)

Forthright and free Holly is the foreman on the jury, but she’s hiding a past that soon comes to light. Will her past trauma endanger her position on the jury?

Noël Marinus (Piet De Praitere)

Quiet and always on the outside, Noël has his secrets, too – he’s had affairs and is battling sex addiction. Some of his actions during the trial could get him into trouble.

Arnold Briers (Peter Gorissen)

Arnold is grieving the loss of his wife, and the environment around him is starting to fall apart – his neighbours are constantly noisy, and the monkeys he looks after at a sanctuary are showing signs of anti-social behaviour. Add in the tension of being on a jury in a high-profile case, and Arnold’s life is unravelling quickly.

Delphine Spijkers (Maaike Neuville)

Mum-of-three Delphine is the reserve member of the jury but plays a major role in The Twelve. She’s married to Mike, a jealous, possessive man who does not like her being on the jury and away from the children. Can she – and her marriage – survive the trial?

Joeri Cornille (Tom Vermeir)

Joeri is the alpha-male of the jury, but soon his world comes tumbling down – co-owner of a construction business with his brother, an on-site accident forces him to reassess his life and reset his own moral compass. He also grows (very) close with one of his fellow jury members.

Carl Destoop (Zouzou Ben Chikha)

Fidgety and officious, Carl is father to Juliette – a teenager who has just been diagnosed with autism. Struggling to take in the diagnosis, he also locks horns with fellow members of the jury who see him as nervous and overly prickly.

The Twelve (De Twaalf): From Sunday 18th October, 11pm, Channel 4 (then all episodes on All4/Walter Presents)

Walter Presents confirms transmission date for The Twelve

Award-winning Belgian series The Twelve (De Twaalf) is incoming on All4/Walter Presents.

And now we know when it’s going to be broadcast.

Twelve ordinary people are called for jury duty for a murder case as traumatizing as it is controversial: the respected headmistress Frie Palmers stands accused of two murders, the latter being her own child. The members of the jury are in for a difficult task, as the testimonies constantly change their minds about Frie’s part in the murders, their own lives are not exactly a walk in the park. Gradually, as the case gains momentum, it becomes a trial not only for the accused but for the jury members themselves.

This Flemish series has been described as “unlike any courtroom drama you have seen before; it delves into the personal lives of each juror and the reasons behind the biases that they bring to the table when it comes to deciding Frie’s fate”.

The Twelve (De Twaalf): Friday 16th October, All4

More4 confirms transmission date for series three of Code 37: Sex Crimes

More4’s Friday-night, 9pm slot has become one worth tuning in recently. Thanks to the channel’s links with Channel 4 and Walter Presents, a host of quality foreign-language dramas have made their way onto the channel.

Now, we know that Belgian series, Code 37: Sex Crimes, is on its way back for its third series.

After an explosive cliffhanger final episode series two, the new, 13-episode third series returns to see how Hannah Maes, the kick-ass cop heading up a specialised sex crime unit, is going to continue after discovering disturbing family secrets.

Hannah has been through the mill. Charged with cleaning up some of Belgium’s most abhorrent, mysterious, and violent crimes, she had to earn the begrudging respect of her chauvinistic team before battling against the red tape bureaucracy of the force itself. Never one to play by the rules, she’s always been determined to get results at any price.

Now, Hannah’s personal life is becoming as complex as one of her cases, and she turns to her neighbour Koen for help. Having survived the car crash, awarded a medal of honour and celebrated by her colleagues in the force, she privately continues her quest to avenge her mother’s death.

Not put off by the near fatal consequences she’s already faced, could Hannah be pushing herself further and further towards the point of no return?

Code 37: Sex Crimes (Series 3): Friday 12th June, 9pm, More4 (all episodes on All4 after the first linear episode)

Sky developing English-language version of Beau Séjour

Sky has a history of English-language versions of foreign-language shows. The network did it with The Bridge (The Tunnel) and Valkyrien (Temple), and now it’s doing it with Belgian series Beau Séjour.

The original series – which recently aired in the UK on All4/Walter Presents – tells the story of Belgian teenager Kato Hoeven. In the small village of Lanklaar, in Limburg, Maasland, near Belgium’s Dutch border, Hoeven wakes up at the Hotel Beau Séjour to find a bloody corpse in the bathtub – her own. She has no memory of the day before her death or why she was there. She soon discovers that five people are able to see her and communicate with her as she desperately tries to find out who was responsible for her murder and why they killed her.

We’ll be carrying a review of the Belgian series before the year is out.

Professor T series three set for January

Professor T became a bit of a cult favourite when it hit All4/Walter Presents, furthering Belgium’s reputation as a hub for crime drama.

Now it’s back for a third series in January.

The show’s namesake is a prodigal criminologist at Antwerp University who has inspired scores of students with his punchy teaching techniques. However, the heart-breaking ending to series two takes the world’s most germophobic man to his own personal hell: a filthy men’s prison, where the control over his routine and spotless surroundings he depends are taken from him.

After killing the crooked chief-inspector Serge Lauwers to protect Christine, Jasper Teerlinck is immediately incarcerated. For the mysophobic and autistic professor, he could not be thrown into a more challenging situation. However, against all odds he finds a way to embrace his new life and thrive: when a fellow prisoner claims to be wrongly accused of murder, Professor T dusts off his gloves and sets to proving his innocence. They say old habits die hard…

His reputation may have been saved within prison and guaranteed him a steady stream of wrongly accused defendants to save, but on the outside the Antwerp police department strongly sense his absence. Despite new talent on the team, they desperately lack his interfering genius to solve the constant supply of complicated crimes that come their way.

Professor T (Series 3): From Friday 4th January, All4/Walter Presents

More4 confirms transmission date for Belgian crime drama Code 37: Sex Crimes

Walter Presents has been busy recently. The Channel 4-affiliated online brand has announced it has an Israeli crime drama (read about that here) and two new Nordic crime dramas (read about that here) waiting in the wings.

Now the brand has announced that it has snapped up Belgian crime drama Code 37: Sex Crimes and has named a transmission date – the Friday-night slot on More4 to soon be vacated by Dicte.

Hannah Maes (Veerle Baetens, who we recently saw in Tabula Rasa on All4) is a sharp and prodigious detective who leads an all-male police sex crimes unit and, at times, must battle the men in her squad as they challenge her ability to lead. However, they all have one common goal: find those responsible for these abhorrent crimes.

 When the body of a 35-year-old headhunter – who was also a mother and wife – is found dead in a hotel in Ghent, the immediate assumption is that she is killed during erotic asphyxiation. For Hannah, this is a good enough reason to take the case from her colleagues in homicide – it needs specialist analysis. Her team have reservations about this move but have no choice but to follow their boss. During the investigation, it soon becomes clear that the victim was a nymphomaniac who led a double life. Who did she have a one-night stand with that proved fatal for her?

Here’s a Belgian-language trailer to give you a flavour:

Code 37: Sex Crimes: Friday 17th August, 9pm, More4

REVIEW: Salamander: Blood Diamonds (S2 E9&10/10)

This second series of Salamander (subtitled Blood Diamonds) has been an uneven ride, with so many strange inconsistencies, almost laugh-out-loud moments thanks to some unintentional comedy and a plot that at times has felt lazy and one that left you scratching your head.

As Our Andy pointed out last week, series one of Salamander at least featured some genuinely shocking moments, involving a shadowy, omnipresent cabal whose tentacles spread far and wide. This second series, however, featured a bunch of villains who ran a bank. That’s it. They ran a bank. Yes, there were some ex-Salamander members within it, but essentially they were a bunch of bankers. I’ve found it hard to be interested or scared by that.

And as for retreading old ground, yep, Salamander did plenty of that, which was a shame. In many ways, I wish Salamander had come back.

But first, we had to get to the end of the tiresome Jamie/Sofie love story, which formed part of the old retreading business. Jamie came clean about his Salamander past, and – because he loved Sofie – agreed to hand the film over to her dad. They arranged to meet at a location only he and her would know. Except P-9 was listening in so they eventually found out where that was, got there before them and set up its ambush. Except they were told to stand down at the last minute by bent Roppe, and Minnebach stepped in to take over.

It felt like the most part of episode nine featured men in cars driving slowly around Brussels. I’m sure the producers were aiming for some kind of tension here, but there was no urgency – which would have suited the situation – and even with the music simmering away it was about as tense as a bowl of Cornflakes. It was like watching Bullit on Tramadol.

And when Gerardi and Jamie finally met it was a faintly ridiculous scene. Instead of driving up to one another, Gerardi and Jamie’s cars stood off, as if they were in some vehicular duel, with at least 50 yards between the two. And, of course, you knew what was coming – Jamie was shot dead by a sniper, Gerardi was shot for being stupid (who stands up and shout “POLICE!” when they know there’s a sniper training his eye on you?), and Minnebach had the film.

So all was lost. Or was it?

As I suspected last week, Adams – who was suspicious at the way Roppe was handling things – become more suspicious of the way Roppe was handling things and smelled a rat. He hooked up with Gerardi (who had recovered miraculously for a man shot in the right lung) for lots of whispered conversations in hospital cupboards and he looked as though he was on his side. They went back to the scene of the shooting and to Jamie’s car – which was still there because, unlike any other half-decent police force, P-9 don’t clear up after its mess – and found the young man’s laptop in his boot. And yes, he had copied the film onto there.

Episode 10 featured a lot of talking. A lot of talking.

I’d always wondered why Prime Minister Marc de Coutere was so happy to go along with Jonatan Bury’s plan of getting General Bombé into power. And now we found out: it was all to do with Orkana Bank, a bank for the people, where ordinary folk invested their money; it struck the perfect balance between socialism and capitalism, de Coutere explained to a wincing Gerardi, his every move hurting his shoulder (yes, his shoulder not his lung). The bank had lost €2.3billion inexplicably – the crash – and Bury’s dealings with Bombé was to ensure that the bank, and its 8000,000 ordinary-folk customers, would get their money back.

So de Coutere was willing to gobble up blood diamonds for the good of the people.

For the people!

Oh, come on.

Except. Wait. But surely Minnebach were behind this whole scam, right? Anthony, Martine, Sabine and their gang who liked to sit around tables in modern offices were behind it. Right? And de Coutere was the Prime Minister of Belgium and he didn’t know this?

Sorry, I didn’t buy it.

The talking continued. In a last-ditch effort, Gerardi went to de Coutere’s private residence one night (because policemen can just bowl up to a PM’s private residence and get through security in a series like Salamander) and made an impassioned plea. Yes, there would be political chaos and instability, but look at all the people who have died. Look at his half-sister, Jacky Lanciers. This shocked de Coutere, and he obviously didn’t know his half-sister had been taken out.

And so, as the Minnebach gang celebrated in Kitangi on a jolly (including René, who had survived), de Coutere made statement to his people – he explained the Orkana situation, withdrew his support for Bombé and resigned.

Paul, meanwhile, had handed in his badge and was driving (more driving) out into the countryside with Sofie.

And that was it.

So yes, things were tied up and the Minnebach gang looked as though they were going to feel the full force of Bombé’s wrath. But really?

Although Salamander had its moments – series always do – and I do like series set in Belgium and I like the Flemish language, I just found this too inconsistent, too ridiculous at times and too lazy. And I’m not just talking about Gerardi napping on the job – the stereotypes were laughable, Gerardi himself – while emotional, likeable and headstrong – was just too incompetent to be taken seriously. His break-in into Martine’s place – where he was knocking things over left, right and centre – in episode eight really did take the biscuit and it seemed that everything he touched turned to well, you-know-what.

I’m kind of happy Gerardi hung up his badge at the end of it all, but remnants of Salamander remain. Who’s to say Gerardi and Salamander won’t face off in the future?

Paul Hirons





Orkana bank

800,000 people