Tag Archives: Babylon Berlin

REVIEW: Babylon Berlin (S3 E3&4/12)

German series Babylon Berlin – the noirish tale of murder and skullduggery in Weimar-era Berlin – began its third series last week, and you have to say it simmered – as it always has done – rather than blazed a trail. Once again it looked gorgeous, and all the elements were fascinating, but I always think with this show that I should love it more.

Instead, there were a dizzying amount of characters, plenty of storylines and two main cases that our heroes were investigating.

Because of the amount of detail and the sheer heft of stuff happening, I’m going to revert to character breakdowns in my reviews.

Gereon Rath
Pity poor Gereon. He looks terrible – not only like the weight of the world is on his shoulders, but also physically; pale, slightly jaundiced, sweaty and with big, dark rings under his eyes.

Part of this bonkers series is the side-story of the shady, aggressive psychiatrist he sees. We have more of that in these two episodes as he climbs down into the sewers or subways to secretly meet the man who successfully weaned him off the morphine and is helping him with not only survivor’s guilt but also in his relationship with Helga (albeit with unconventional means).

But it doesn’t take long for he and Helga to split up, which, in terms of narrative, frees him up to concentrate on the cases. Yes, cases.

First of all, he’s hanging around the film studio to find out more about the death of silent film star Betty Winter. He’s not finding too much because the studio is abuzz with a ‘show must go on’ vibe. Things soon take a turn for the worst when another starlet – Tilly Brooks – is found with her throat slit in one of the dressing rooms. And there seems to be a slightly occult, secret society vibe to all of this, especially as the runner who was shot in Gereon’s car at the end of episode two and the frantically, overly-dramatic widow, Tristan Rot, was found to have some sort of saucy link.

And look out for his simmering rivalry with Böhm…

Charlotte Ritter
Lotte is such a great character, and there’s a sense here that even though she has left her sex-worker, club-dancer past behind, every now and then it rears its head. So far, Lotte has been – thanks to Gereon – playing an active role in the murder investigations at the film studios, and in these two episodes she has been placed at the centre of the comings and goings, trying to figure out what has been going on.

She has seen the costumes the mysterious cloaked figure has been wearing, and is on-set when Tilly has her throat slit.

But there’s more about Lotte – and her two worlds – when they begin to fall apart or at least start to unravel. In among her mother’s things, she finds a letter from who might be her real father. And, she has befriended Vera – part of the movie cast and Walter Weintraub’s ‘friend’ – who she enjoys a raucous night out at a gay bar, where much debauchery ensues.

Edgar ‘Die Armenian‘ Kasabian
He’s an interesting character, is Die Armenian. He’s a bad man, of that there is no doubt, and his association with his right-hand man, Walter Weintraub, is a classic gangster one-two punch.

But there’s another element to his character: some strange sensitivity. He knows all about Rath’s past and addiction, because he was in the same boat, and, as the banks collapse and his fortune is under threat from foreclosing banks and loan sharks, he realises that the production of the movie still has to continue.

So when Rath and Die Armenian finally meet again, there’s an uneasy understanding between the two: they both want this case solved, but for different reasons. I wonder if their bond will deepen to the extent that they might actually work together in some unofficial capacity to solve the case.

Greta Overbeck
I’m becoming increasingly concerned that Greta is doomed. How can she not be? In prison and on trial for the murder of Councillor Benda, the nefarious Wendt gets his way when he threatens her child unless she recants her testimony and blames the Communists for the murder.

Under extreme pressure, she decides to go with Wendt, but I honestly don’t think this is going to save her. Unless Rath, watching on from the sidelines can somehow spring her.

Other things…

Alfred Nyssen is impossible to read. He’s admitted he’s unstable mentally, and yet he seems calm and collected, just waiting to mop up in the chaos after the banks fold. And what is going on with him and Helga?

This week’s most touching scenes were with young Reinhold Gräf, who Gereon assigns a stealth mission to retrieve the Benda files from the archives. Unfortunately, the brute who’s guarding the archives recognises him from the red light district and forces himself on him. It’s another fascinating nuance – that of gay men and their secrecy in Weimar-era Germany – that gives this show so much depth.




REVIEW: Babylon Berlin (S3 E1&2/12)

One of the more spectacular crime dramas of recent years, Babylon Berlin – costing tens of millions per episode – is back to tell its story of corruption, political manoeuvring, underhand skullduggery in Weimar-era Berlin.

Underpinning the whole story is Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch), a tormented homicide detective from Cologne now fully integrated into the capital’s stürm und drang.

After the tumult of series two’s weaponised train excitement, Rath’s own personal meltdown fuelled by grief, guilt and morphine addiction, Communist and Right-wing plots, and the rise of the Black Reichwehr (a secret group of nationalists outraged at what they see as the humiliation of the Treaty Of Versailles and a group intent on creating a secret army in order to perform a coup d’état and bring back glory to Germany), I was interested to see where this series would go.

Initially, it looked as though we were going to get a straightforward murder mystery story.

On the set of a German silent film (lest we forget this was the golden age for German expressionism) superstar actress Betty Winter came a cropper, thanks to an enormous falling light falling from the rafter that has been tampered with by a cloaked figure.

(I loved this. I mean, not for poor old Betty whose head was bashed in, but the actual mode of death… In an age technical wizardry, this was a reassuringly old-school murder, the kind you used to see in old black-and-white movies.)

Hotshot producer Bellman wanted this to be an open-and-shut case – or accident – but with Rath and assistant detective Charlotte Ritter on the case (who had been trying to pass her forensics exam to no avail), they sensed that there was more to the incident than that.

Now, if Babylon Berlin stuck to this one case – which was fascinating and intriguing on its own – and gave us lashings of procedural, investigative shenanigans all played out beneath its canopy of sumptuous production design and faithful recreation, I would have been perfectly happy.

However, this is Babylon Berlin, and they do not do that sort of thing.

Instead, these first two episodes were crammed with other strands and stories. Why have one when you can have half a dozen?

Armenian gangster Edgar ‘Die Armenian‘ Kasabian – and his brutish brother, who had been released from prison – was keeping the pressure on film producer Bellman to carry on filming the epic going because of their investment. (Carry On Weimar, anyone?)

Elsewhere, Rath and his brother’s ex-wife Helga were having problems thanks to the continuing spectre of said dead brother, and the teenage son Arndt looked as though he was about to fall in with the Hitler Youth, or at least the precursor to that movement.

And then there was the Berlin financial crash of 1929, Charlotte’s family intrigue, and the unspoken constant in the series: the rise of the National Socialists, or the Nazi Party.

With Greta in jail for blowing up Benda in the last series – after being tricked and radicalised by right-wing extremists – the pressure was on to make her finally confess to the crime. Rath – who had promised Benda’s widow that he would find whoever Greta was in league with to justice – was being courted by Councillor Wendt, an Arian-looking chap with a scar down one side of his face (archetypal Nazi alert) who wanted to sack Benda’s replacement and, what looked like, bring Rath in as his replacement.

But it was revealed that Wendt was in league with the Nazis, and this is what the NSDAP did – they sought to control the media by manipulation, bump off moderate figures in the police force and other institutions and blame their rivals, exploit the stock market crashes to their benefit and generally cause mayhem but in a very underhand and sneaky way.

All this was happening at the same time as the investigation into the murder of Betty Winter, so you can safely say that there was a lot going on. Almost a dizzying amount. Perhaps too much.

With another 10 episodes left to go, this series delights as much as it perplexes. But I’m in for the long haul, and I’m intrigued to see where this might go and how storylines and characters criss-cross. After all, it’s not long until Hitler comes to power and his dreadful ideology becomes sacrosanct in Germany.

Paul Hirons




Sky Atlantic announces transmission date for series three of Babylon Berlin

Now here’s some news to cheer our winter hearts.

Sky Atlantic has announced the transmission date for series three of Babylon Berlin, the terrific Berlin-based noir.

Based on the bestselling detective novels of Volker Kutscher and arguably the most lavishly-produced non-English language television production ever, Babylon Berlin returns for its third chapter in the Weimer-era drama. And, as ever, Sky will be broadcasting two episodes a week.

It’s the Great Berlin Stock Market crash of 1929. As small-time shareholders and savers storm the stock exchange and the banks to attempt to empty out their accounts, detective Gereon Rath and his protégé Charlotte investigate the on-set death of German film actress Betty Winter. It soon becomes apparent the tragedy was no accident, and there were many shady parties who had invested interests in the film.

Babylone Berlin: Friday 6th March, 9pm, Sky Atlantic


First trailer for series three of Babylon Berlin released

We enjoyed series one and two of German-language series, Babylon Berlin, and now we’re waiting eagerly for the third instalment.

Based on the books by Volker Kutscher, it tells the story of Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch), a police inspector on assignment from Cologne who is on a secret mission to dismantle an extortion ring, and Charlotte Ritter (Liv Lisa Fries), a young stenotypist who is aspiring to work as a police inspector. With stories set in Weimer-era Berlin, it’s a good-looking, delicious noir.

And here’s the first trailer.

According to Deadline, series three kicks off in the autumn of 1929, during the tumultuous weeks before Black Friday’s stock market crash, the latest series sees inspector Rath and Ritter assigned to investigate the violent on-set death of an actress, only to realise that the film industry is as rotten as the underworld.

In the meantime, the Black Reichswehr are regathering their forces for their next attempt to bring down democracy and use all the opportunities they can to provoke more clashes with the Communists.

Interestingly, looking at the trailer, a few of the characters from the first two series survive into this one.

Deadline also says that even though it will premiere in Germany at the end of this year, series three will be broadcast by Sky Atlantic in 2020.

Babylon Berlin series three confirmed, plotlines revealed

We ran a story a month or so ago saying that series three of Weimer Republic-era noir, Babylon Berlin, was to start production. Now we have more details.

Deadline reports:

Director-writer trio Tom Tykwer, Henk Handloegten and Achim von Borries are currently working on the scripts for ten new episodes, based on Volker Kutscher’s second Gereon Rath novel The Silent Death. As previously reported, the show’s writing team received German Government development funding last December and the team confirmed plans for a third season when I met them on the festival circuit late last year.

The new season will pick up in the early 1930s when the talkies start conquering the big screen, leaving many by the wayside: producers, cinema owners – and silent film stars. Inspector Gereon Rath encounters the dark side of the industry when one of the big stars is found dead. Emerging talents Volker Bruch (Generation War) and Liv Lisa Fries (The Wave) will renew their roles.

This is rather exciting. We’re wondering whether the budgets will be as lavish in series three, but the fact both Bruch and Fries are back make this one to watch.


Production begins on series three of Babylon Berlin

Last year, Babylon Berlin sashayed onto our screens with quite the fanfare – the German series based on the novels by Volker Kutscher, which told the story of Detective Gereon Rath in a pre-World War II, Weimar Republic-era Berlin. It looked like a million dollars (because it really did cost many millions of dollars) and was a good watch (if a little bit convoluted).

Two series were filmed back-to-back, which aired in the UK on Sky Atlantic last autumn (and Netflix in the US), but now we read that series three has begun production.

Variety reports:

Work on the scripts is underway, with filming expected to start in October, a production source said.

The lavish show was initially greenlit for two back-to-back seasons, which were shot concurrently and comprised 16 hours in total. The new outing will be for a single run of eight to 10 episodes. The power trio of German film director Tom Tykwer, Henk Handloegten and Achim von Borries was behind the series and is expected to return for Season 3.

All lead cast members are expected to return.




The Killing Times Top 20 Crime Dramas Of The Year 2017: Part one, 20-16


Everyone loves a list, right? It’s what we like to do at the end of the year – the internet equivalent of sitting in a pub and discussing our chosen subject; what was good, what was bad and what makes the cut. We here at The Killing Times are no different – we like to sit down at the end of the year (and we mean the end of the year) and countdown the best crime dramas we’ve seen in the past 12 months. And this year – to reflect the sheer quantity of series and one-offs this year – we’ve expanded our list to 20 selections, instead of the 15 we’ve stuck with in the past. So strap in, read on… and be prepared for a few shocks. Continue reading The Killing Times Top 20 Crime Dramas Of The Year 2017: Part one, 20-16

Review: Babylon Berlin (S1 E7&8/8), Sunday 26th November, Sky Atlantic


This week’s penultimate episode was highly expositional, but welcomely so. We still didn’t know for real who Alfred Nyssen was, which secret organisation he represented, which side Sventlana was batting for and why, and why the crowd of war veterans were gathered in front of Der Armenier at the end of the last episode. And, lest we forget, who was the man in the photograph at the heart of the blackmail scam that brought Rath to Berlin in the first place. Many questions were answered in this seventh episode, but episode eight? It was a bit of a head-scratcher. Continue reading Review: Babylon Berlin (S1 E7&8/8), Sunday 26th November, Sky Atlantic

Review: Babylon Berlin (S1 E5&6/8), Sunday 19th November, Sky Atlantic

Apologies for the delay in posting this (been busy innit), but Babylon Berlin deserves a review – its sensuous realisations of Weimer Republic-era Berlin are one thing, but there’s an interesting story bubbling away here, too. Detective Goreon Rath has been our main focus, as has his continuing investigation into a blackmail plot involving a high-ranking mayoral candidate from his hometown of Cologne, but there are other characters that have been worth keeping an eye on – the super-ambitious Lotte Ritter, who channels the period’s carefree, have-a-go attitude; and Alexei Kardakov, a Russian counter-revolutionary, who’s leading a plot to bring Trotsky back to Russia and overthrow Lenin (good luck with that one). So there’s plenty going on, and there’s still plenty to like. Continue reading Review: Babylon Berlin (S1 E5&6/8), Sunday 19th November, Sky Atlantic