When Paul Paulitz falls from the Paulsdamm into the Paulstal and dies, nobody in Zollberg, the richest fictional community in the country, seems to regret his death. It was suicide, one is sure, the Paulitz file will be closed. Until three years later the case is reopened. Suddenly, a charmingly disparate duo of investigators ask themselves: Was it perhaps murder after all?
There would be enough motives anyway. Writer Christiane Boj (Franziska Hackl), for example, would have one thing: The cold-hearted headmaster of the elite school Sophianum Paul Paulitz (Harald Krassnitzer) bullied his students, and especially Christiane’s son Balthasar, with sadistic severity. The harassment went so far that the boy took his own life. He jumped out of the window – two days before director Paulitz fell from Paulsdamm.
The four friends know something about the death of the headmaster
The focus of the eight-part miniseries days that didn’t exist from ARD and ORF, next to Christiane are her three best friends: the tough public prosecutor Miriam Hintz (Franziska Weisz) divorces her hypothermic husband and fights for custody of their three children. Doris Hauke (Diana Amft) manages the business of her freight forwarding company while fighting power struggles with her bossy mother Berta (Jutta Speidel) and her seven-year-old teenage daughter. And Inès (Jasmin Gerat), who has insisted on the French pronunciation of her name since emigrating to Paris, had to move back to the hated Zollberg because of her son’s drug problems.
The friends have known each other since childhood and went to the Sophianum together. Presumably they too suffered under the tyrannical headmaster. As a spectator, you are there when the four of them swear as youngsters not to send their own children to high school. The insights into the women’s past suggest that the friends have more in common than their time together in the authoritarian elite school.
Dark secrets and a surprising amount of humor
The unconventional investigative duo, consisting of the bone dry Elfriede Grünberger (Sissy Höfferer) and the ambitious but clumsy Lukas Leodolter (Tobias Resch), gets to the bottom of these dark secrets. Although the series would have done less well with some rhetorical dialogues, it shines with its ensemble. Above all, Sissy Höfferer as the hilarious Commissioner Grünberger and Harald Krassnitzer, who spreads fear and terror as Paul Paulitz.
The Austrian series, directed by Anna-Katharina Maier and Mirjam Unger, is a finely narrated drama with optimally dosed tension, bizarre comedy and cleverly intertwined relationships. After the first four episodes there is still a lot that is unclear in Zollberg, the community with the chic villas and the wealthy lifestyle. The world of the rich and beautiful once again offers a good breeding ground for lies and dark secrets. The atmospheric staging is reminiscent – intentionally or unintentionally – of the American hit series Big Little Lies. They also lie in Zollberg, only with Austrian wit and charm.
days that didn’t exist. From February 14th at 8.15 p.m. in the first and in the ARD media library.
You can find more series recommendations here.