Calling all “Freudians” and cleverest Cluedo-players: It’s a rare claim to make but you can be 100% guaranteed that when you watch the new period drama crime-solving series Vienna Blood on BBC First (119), you won’t be able to unmask the murderous perpetrators before the investigative crime-solving duo does.
Wonderfully set in 1906 in the Austrian city of Vienna during the Gilded Age – think Downton Abbey-esque clothes, architecture and mannerisms with a dollop of murder, please – the episodes revolve around a somewhat gruff but likeable police inspector who teams up with a Sherlock Holmesian-type psychologist to solve baffling murders.
Initially, Max Liebermann (Matthew Beard) asks the police detective Oskar Rheinhardt (Jürgen Maurer) if he can tag along for his studies to “observe” Oskar’s investigations of crime scenes – although Oskar quickly realises that Max is his crime-solving lucky charm. Both guys working together makes for a killer combination!
Max is actually a psychologist who attends some of Dr Sigmund Freud’s classes; he is a true modern-day profiler and an extremely adept observer of human behaviour. He’s, however, doing it in the early 20th century when their kind and their magic are simply referred to as “Freudians”. Max spots clues in the crime scenes, as well as in non-verbal behaviour that everyone else would miss. Oskar, on the other hand, is excellent at getting the search warrants, has faith in Max’s observations and deductions and he does the threatening interrogations of persons of interest.
As Max brings his remarkable talents and insights into the psychopathy of the criminal mind, the two slowly wind their way closer and closer to the killers. “You asked me to help you paint an image of the victim. I can do one better inspector. I can paint you an image of the killer,” remarks Max.
The Freudian Homes and Watson double-act deal with a magnitude of obstacles such as jealous and irritated higher-up colleagues, resulting in the duo needing to tread lightly as they try to solve crimes. Max and Oskar also have to juggle their episodic cases with their own personal issues and problems ranging from girlfriends and engagements and expectations from society, to the loss of a child.
If you’re tired of formulaic forensic crime-solving series where you quickly spot the obvious killer, give Vienna Blood a chance. This show definitely won’t disappoint as you as the viewer slowly uncover the clues in really interesting, baffling and original murder cases together with Max and Oskar.
Although you can and should try to guess who the dreadful delight in Vienna Blood is, you definitely won’t be able to work out who the real killer is until the end of each episode – although every episode’s murderer is someone who has been shown before. But like all whodunnit series, you need to prepare yourself for unexpected twists and turns – especially in the closing moments of the first season finale!
Watch Vienna Blood on Wednesdays starting 5 February on BBC First (119) at 20:00
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