EU launches TV crime series

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Europe’s broadcasting union has launched a new “cross border” TV crime series designed to help “bring together” a divided continent.

The Team is a €10m television crime series, part funded by the EU’s Creative Europe Media programme, that “crosses national borders.” 

In The Team investigators, or “Joint Intelligence Team”, are supposed to solve the murders of three young women in Belgium, Denmark and Germany.

The series also attempts to tackle the linguistic complexity of Europe: each character uses their native language when in his or her own context, for example, Flemish in Antwerp, German in Berlin and Danish in Copenhagen. This is also subtitled in English. When the characters have scenes all together, they speak to each other in English.

Based on the work of Europol, the law enforcement agency of the EU, the series is the brainchild of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the alliance of public broadcasters which produces the Eurovision Song Contest, and assisted by those who put together the hit Danish political drama Borgen

The two-hour, pre-screening took place in Brussels, “the capital of the EU”, which, according to the EBU, “is no coincidence.”

It will be shown in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden, the six broadcasters involved in the production. 

The EBU says its launch comes against a backdrop of important policy developments at EU level which will “shape the future” of Europe’s audiovisual sector.

Co-produced by eight media organizations from six member states and shot on locations across the continent, its script is “directly inspired” by Europol working methods. 

A Brussels-based EU source said: “This exciting new crime series shows that television, like the Eurovision Song Contest, can help bring Europeans together.”

The EBU says The Team is the “fruit of an historic collaboration” and a “genuine European TV series”. 

“Series like Borgen reaped global acclaim and showed that language is no barrier to the international success of ‘Made in Europe’ fiction and The Team adds something new to the mix. It is the first genuine ‘European’ series of its kind.”

With future EU funding it is hoped “that it will not remain the only ‘pan-European’ series of its kind.” 

EBU media director Annika Nyberg Frankenhaeuser added, “There is a solid history of co-production in the genre, but this is the first time European expertise has been shared to such an extent. The broadcasters started out with an audacious experiment which shows we can expect more great ‘pan-European’co-productions in the future.”

EBU director general Ingrid Deltenre said, “It is an ambitious, collaborative project and the success of a series like The Team shows that when public service media and Eurovision come together, they can produce something fantastic.”