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ZDF thriller "Friesland: Under the surface" – Entertaining abysses open up

Digital crime is making its way into the varied ZDF thriller “Friesland: Beneath the Surface” from the most entertaining series.

Frankfurt – The locals are guaranteed to see things differently, but at least in the TV thriller on ZDF there are some parallels between Ostfriesland and Ostholstein, and not just because of the coastal location. Undertakers, for example, seem to be a bit special in the north of the republic; at least that’s what the representatives of this honorable profession in the “Friesland” (ZDF) and “Nord bei Nordwest” (ARD) series suggest. In addition, the tranquility of the area is regularly impaired here and there, because organized crime likes to wreak havoc in the provinces of all places.

However, Süher Özlügül and Henk Cassens (Sophie Dal, Maxim Mehmet) have no idea when they are called to Anneke Schwidden’s corpse. The main suspect is, of course, the husband: when women are murdered, it was usually the husband. In fact, things are looking pretty bad for Hinnerk Schwidden (Aljoscha Stadelmann): The unfaithful Anneke has died of an overdose of his narcolepsy drug.

“Friesland: Under the surface” on ZDF: Abysses lurk behind respectable facades

Of course, the case is far from simple, otherwise the fourteenth episode of “Friesland” would be over quickly. The title “Below the Surface” indicates in any case that abysses lurk behind the respectable facades of Leer. At least that’s how a woman puts it, who is such a great addition to the ensemble that she’s allowed to get on the nerves of district manager Brockhorst (Felix Vörtler) more often. The film introduces Muriel Danneberg (Eva Meckbach) as an opaque character who could also be a killer. In fact, she turns out to be a BKA colleague who is on the trail of cybercrime on a large scale: she suspects the location for access to the Darknet, that gloomy area of the Internet in which all conceivable crimes are threaded, to be right in good-natured Leer; and she looked out for Wolfgang Habedank as the mastermind.

Now the undertaker has a few skeletons in his closet as a job, but it’s his lush hemp plantation, if anything, that violates the law. However, Habedank recently added the offer to take care of the digital estate of its clients to its service. To this end, he hired Süher’s brother Yunus (Yunus Cumartpay), who apparently took the opportunity to blackmail Habedank’s customers; Schwidden also saw him at the crime scene.

TV character Actress
Sühr Özlügül Sophie Dal
Henk Cassens Maxim Mehmet
Hinnerk Schwidden Aljoscha Stadelmann
Jan Brockhorst Felix Vortler
Muriel Danneberg Eva Meckbach
Wolfgang Habedank Holger Stockhaus
Yunus Ozlugul Yunus Cumartpay
Melanie Harms Tina Pfurr
Insa Scherzinger Teresa Underberg
Svantje Oltmann Valerie Niehaus
Lars Roeding Stefan Konarske
Julia Berger Catherine Hintzen
Bjarne Elias Krischke
Anneke Schwidden Judith Jacob
upper Justus Maier

ZDF thriller “Friesland: Under the surface”: All storylines in the service of history

The screenplay of the ZDF thriller was written by Markus B. Altmeyer, who also wrote the excellent last “Wilsberg” episode “Gene don’t lie” and most recently provided the template for the start of the ARD “Masuren thriller”, which is well worth seeing. “Below the Surface”, his first “Friesland” screenplay, pleases not only with the increasing circles that the case draws, but above all with the clever integration of the various characters. In series with a larger permanent cast, the secondary levels sometimes feel like an excuse to give all the cast their due, but here all the storylines are in the service of the story. Once again, Tina Pfurr proves to be an excellent addition in her role as a colleague of pharmacist and amateur forensic doctor Scherzinger (Theresa Underberg), and not just in terms of comedy.

The superior of the uniformed duo, affectionately called “Brocki” by Scherzinger, usually causes amusement, but here Brockhorst almost arouses sympathy, because the self-evidently arrogant BKA woman takes over the investigation and drives him out of his office. Nevertheless, the chief inspector becomes the target of ridicule this time too: he really let it rip at the police festival, which, in addition to a film tear, gives him a real hangover. The fact that he has been off track since then has another reason, which Altmeyer only reveals towards the end.

„Friesland“ im ZDF: Henk Cassens (Maxim Mehmet, l.) und Insa Scherzinger (Theresa Underberg, M.) teilen ihre Ermittlungsergebnisse Kommissar Brockhorst (Felix Vörtler, r.) mit. Der ist skeptisch, ob die beiden auf der richtigen Spur sind.


“Friesland” on ZDF: Henk Cassens (Maxim Mehmet, left) and Insa Scherzinger (Theresa Underberg, middle) share their investigation results with Commissioner Brockhorst (Felix Vörtler, right). He is skeptical whether the two are on the right track.

“Friesland: Under the surface” on ZDF: History is developing rapidly

Similar to the “Wilsberg” crime novels, the screenplay already delights with various details, with the help of which the story develops quickly. The great skill with which the author finally connects the various loose ends with each other, so that even supposed trivialities turn out to be part of the big picture, ultimately provides for some amazing aha moments. The film is also worth seeing because of the image design. At times the camera (Sebastian Bäumler) is unusually agile for a family crime thriller, and there are also some scenes that have been cut quite quickly, but both always serve the purpose of the plot. “Below the Surface” is Marc Rensing’s third “Friesland” production; his other two contributions were also worth seeing. (Tilman P. Gangloff)

ZDF, Saturday (01/22/2022), 8.15 p.m .: “Friesland: Under the surface”

Unfortunately, the episode “Friesland: Bis aufs Blut” of the Schmunzel crime series on ZDF was only moderately cheerful and completely unexciting. In the episode “Haifischbecken” of the ZDF crime series “Friesland”, Leer vied for the IT industry and reaped a dead investor.

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