June 15, 2024

Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

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Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

Have you ever been to Berghain? The legendary German techno club is a major landmark in this three-part true crime docuseries about the hunt for the man dubbed the Darkroom Killer by the press, despite the fact that none of these events actually took place there. But then Berghain is standing in for the whole of Berlin’s nightlife and its dual reputation: to some this is a terrifying Gomorrah of sin and perversion, to others it’s a paradise of pleasure and acceptance.

And do you know what a darkroom is? Those dimly lit anonymous sex spaces that are a feature of gay clubs around the world? Andreas Voges, a straight-talking officer of Berlin’s landeskriminalamt (state police agency) says he hadn’t a clue, not until a body turned up in one, at the bar Grosse Freiheit 114, in the city’s fashionable Friedrichshain district. This was 5 May 2012 or “day one” in the methodical, race-against-time investigation that followed.

Since these crimes have been little covered outside German media, Crime Scene Berlin has the advantage of being mostly new to English-language viewers. Unlike, say, the tawdry retreads of Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes or Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, two other Netflix series that American exec producer Joe Berlinger made before this, his German-language debut, in collaboration with Beetz Brothers iFilm Production.

This series seems to have been made primarily for a German audience. Certainly, Voges and his colleagues are not at all concerned with debunking any national stereotypes about dourness and efficiency. They talk us through what seems like the very model of a well-run police operation, beginning with a decisive initial determination that a crime has taken place.

With no witnesses, no visible marks on the body and no sign of a struggle, it would have been possible to assume a self-administered drug overdose, mark it up as an accidental death and move on. Indeed, two years later, when a gay man was found dead in similar circumstances in east London, the Met police did just that. It took the loss of another three young lives before the killer was brought to justice and questions were asked about “a catalogue of police failings”.

Institutional homophobia does not seem to have been a factor here. Maybe because Berlin’s world-famous nightlife brings in €1.5bn for the city every year. Or maybe this is just the squeaky-clean illusion that’s created when a series is told primarily from the police point of view. Victims’ friends and family members are also interviewed, but most profess themselves equally mystified by the dark allure of the capital’s gay scene. “Papa did say, Berlin will be his undoing,” says one relative, sadly, “and Papa is usually right.”

The documentary’s own lacklustre attempts to explain this scene amount to shots of neon signage reflected in rain-slicked streets, some showy editing in the dramatic reconstructions, and the frequent appearance of “[electronic music plays]” in the subtitles. A bit of balance in regard to the pleasures, as well as the dangers, of this world, might have made for more compelling viewing. Instead, it’s mostly left to barman Matthias to sum up not only the general tone of the queer community’s interactions with police (“They kept asking us what a darkroom is”), but also all the vitality and camaraderie of this modern-day Weimar bacchanal. If you have been to Berghain, then you know.

As for the killer, that nondescript man of average height, average build and average dress sense? For much of the series he’s represented only by a stand-in actor shot from behind, and in a blurry image on CCTV footage. Even after the investigation leads to a successful identification – revealed in episode three – that image never fully comes into focus. Why did he do it? There was no evidence of a sexual motive and he didn’t seem to need the money.

The series makes use of an occasional voiceover narration, apparently “based on original perpetrator statement”, to offer up some chilling assertions and inadequate excuses. “I had no intention of receiving financial benefit from the crime,” we’re told at one point. Or “I was torn, but couldn’t muster the courage to see a doctor or psychiatrist,” at another. It’s difficult to know how much credence to give to all this, since a murderer is often a liar too.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Netflix is also this week launching a new adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels, starring Andrew Scott as the remorseless, motiveless killer. These are tragically timeless tales of villainy and victimhood, but so much more entertaining when fictional.

Crime Scene Berlin: Nightlife Killer Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online