By Leo Barraclough –
Production companies ConradFilm and Bavaria Fiction are following their German ratings and international sales hit “Dark Woods” with new high-octane police drama franchise “Sonderlage,” which has been ordered by German broadcaster RTL.
Crime drama “Dark Woods” was the most-watched program on German broadcaster ARD’s streaming service in 2020, and was sold last year to numerous territories, including North America, the U.K., France, Spain, the Nordic region, Japan and India.
Filming of the first two 90-minute “Sonderlage” films has just begun in Hamburg and Berlin. Inspired by true events, “Sonderlage” (a working title whose literal translation is “special situation”) focuses on police work in exceptional situations such as terrorist attacks, hostage taking and high-scale extortion.
The film is directed by Andreas Senn (“Unbroken”) and written by Norbert Eberlein (“Beat”). Michał Grabowski (“LOMO: The Language of Many Others”) is the director of photography.
Executive producers are Marc Conrad (“Dark Woods”) from ConradFilm, and Lucia Staubach (“Tatort: Dortmund”) and Maren Knieling (“Dark Woods”) for Bavaria Fiction. The RTL editorial team is headed by Solveig Willkommen and executive producer Nico Grein, under the direction of Hauke Bartel, head of fiction at RTL Germany.
The production team is being advised by leading members of the Hamburg LKA – the State Office for Criminal Investigation.
The show stars Henny Reents (“Nord bei Nordwest”) alongside Annette Paulmann (“Brief an mein Leben”), Lasse Myhr (“Blood Red Sky”), Georg Bütow (“Der Feind meines Feindes”), Banafshe Hourmazdi (“Futur Drei”), Zoë Valks (“Dear Thomas”), Frederik Schmid (“The Queen’s Gambit”) and Sven Gerhardt (“Der Amsterdam-Krimi”).
Broadcast is planned for next year.
Bartel said: “We are bringing new crime thriller colors to RTL and are pleased to have such experienced and strong partners in ConradFilm and Bavaria Fiction, with whom we are venturing into very unusual and exciting ‘special situations’.
“Screenwriter Nobert Eberlein shows us crime fiction from a perspective that has not yet been told. Thanks to the supporting expertise of leading members of the Hamburg LKA, the material has a gripping authenticity. This unique combination convinced us immediately.”
Conrad, managing director at ConradFilm, said: “Hostage-taking, terrifying rampages, kidnappings, escaped prisoners, high-caliber extortions, theft at financial institutions and sensitive national establishments cannot be handled within the confines of routine police work. These ‘special situations’ require intensive cooperation between protective and criminal police, psychologists, topic-specific experts, special task forces, etc. This results in a high demand on forces, long deployment times, and a dramatic density of decisions in an avalanche of information. We will tell the story of this master plan with the mission ‘to save lives’ for the first time on German television at RTL.”
Bavaria Fiction’s managing director content, Marcus Ammon, and Staubach said: “Inspired by true events, ‘Sonderlage’ shows police work under extreme conditions. Under immense time pressure and under the observation of the public, decisions have to be made that determine life and death.
“We are very pleased that together with our partners RTL and ConradFilm and with a strong team in front of and behind the camera – first and foremost Henny Reents, director Andreas Senn and writer Norbert Eberlein – we are now filming and viewers will soon be able to gain an insight into unusual cases and internal police power structures.”