On Sunday evening, Czech Television will start broadcasting a new ten-part series Crimes of Greater Prague. It takes place in 1922, when rural districts such as Dejvice, Smíchov or Žižkov were connected to the metropolis. Nostalgia mixes with the “murders of the First Republic” and the sold work of the filmmakers.
How is it possible that in a television series a police officer introduces colleagues to the son of a murdered landowner with the words: “This is the son of a survivor”? Did the screenwriter fail to make a mistake and none of the actors or members of the crew noticed it in a hurry?
The fact that such a replica passed through the editing room is a manifestation of creative routines. It seems that the inattentive creators didn’t care a bit.
The example comes from the third part of the Crimes of Greater Prague series and is far from the only one. Directed by Jaroslav Brabec and led by creative producer Jan Lekeš, a work was created that relies on not very bright viewers, well-known television faces, nostalgia for old times and the popular criminal genre.
The main role of Chief Inspector Hynek Budík was played by Jaroslav Plesl. He plays him as an urban man, the husband of the former countess, played by Lenka Vlasáková, who was deprived of the title of nobleman.
The alarm clock hoped to become the chief inspector of inner Prague. Instead, you have to stain your shoes with country mud. He begins to investigate his first cases with the words: “Perhaps it works for me on purpose.”
His partner is Jiří Langmajer, whose inspector Havlík, in accordance with the actor’s film idea, investigates mainly “across the bed”, because he has an acquaintance in almost every pub. The third to the party is a young police agent with the name nomen Nováček.
A new episode of Crimes of Greater Prague is broadcast by ČT1 every Sunday from 8.10 pm. | Video: Czech Television
With nostalgia for waxed mustaches, old ways and village chests, it is regularly complicated in the series Crimes of Greater Prague. Right in the first part, someone murders a landowner whose brother is an MP. In the second part, a German boy can reach an unknown homosexual pedophile. In the third part, after the brutal killing of the exchanger, there are splashes of blood on the ceiling.
So these are not thefts of matches and small gendarme humor, but repulsive crimes with a political and ethnic context. The creators probably had a higher ambition than creating an First Republic idyll.
However, the alarm clock and his colleagues soften the crimes with a stereotypical sigh: “People are everything today.” Careful shots show nothing really disturbing.
The explosive political context disappears completely during the investigation. There is no concern about the dark sins of the past and the crimes surrounding the beginnings of the new republic.
The series about the writer Božena Němcová, who preceded the Crimes of Greater Prague in Sunday’s broadcasts, seems to be a bold and controversial interpretation of specific historical figures.
Denis Šafařík as police agent Martin Nováček, Jiří Langmajer as district inspector Rudolf Havlík, Lukáš Borik and Jaroslav Plesl in the role of inspector Budík. | Photo: Pavla Černá
Crimes of directing and language
The crimes of Greater Prague are protracted. Frequently used camera tilts do not add much to the drama of the whole. Director Jaroslav Brabec also stages the situation. The character emerges from the bushes by the pond on call – as if waiting behind the scenes there when she says, “Entangled!”, So that she could be surprised by the murder.
The personal lives of the protagonists are in many cases grafted onto criminal cases. The arrival of unhappy girls in a tuberculosis sanatorium is intertwined with the sex of young lovers. The creators combine the body of a dead boy in water with a date at Vyšehrad.
The language is also unmanaged. Screenwriters are all too happy to operate with period patinated expressions such as kvelb, šamstr, mord, sichr and the like. The Jew is questioning during the interrogation.
At the same time, however, the Crimes of Greater Prague, for example, make a replica in which a little boy tells inspectors that his friend “spoke funny”. At the same time, the word funny in conversations with adult authorities decades later sounded covert, illicit.
They cannot look at the Crimes of Greater Prague more leniently as a nostalgic criminal filling of Sunday evening. It will satisfy viewers eager to take a break from the most frequently similar procedural tendencies of contemporary DNA-based detectives, mobile phone surveillance or security cameras. On closer inspection, however, the series disintegrates under the weight of objections.
Crimes of Greater Prague
Directed by: Jaroslav Brabec
Czech Television 2020, every Sunday from 20.10 on ČT1.