It’s the unofficial start of summer this weekend, so along with pool openings, barbecues, and trips out of town, there’s Lord & Master, a fun mystery series from the Netherlands.
Lord & Master (Heer & Meester) is a bit of a throwback to 1960s and ’70s TV, with theme music reminiscent of The Avengers, an opening credit montage akin to the one in The Professionals, and a lead character with certain biographical details similar to those of Simon Templar, aka The Saint (played on telly by the late, great Roger Moore).
Our modern day hero, though, isn’t a secret agent, a member of law enforcement, or a Robin Hood-type thief. Rather, he’s a charismatic, independently wealthy amateur sleuth with a motto: “Every day is Valentine’s Day.”
Played by (the delicious) Daan Schuurmans (Framed, The Swingers, Bernhard: Scoundrel of Orange), Valentijn Rixtus Bentinck is a man blessed with good looks, a top-notch education, and a healthy trust-funded bank account. The one thing he does not possess is inner peace. Valentijn is haunted by his past. More precisely, he’s troubled because he doesn’t know where he came from, who gave him his name, or why he was abandoned as a baby at Thaddeus Monastery and Boarding School, where Father Bentinck (Jules Croiset, John Adams) raised him as if he were the priest’s own child.
Adding to the heaviness on Valentijn’s mind and soul is a vague and distant memory of a mysterious woman who used to visit him at Thaddeus. Father Bentinck has been maintaining there was no such person, but Valentijn can’t let it go. He’s obsessed by his need to find out about her and her knowledge of his origins.
We meet the dashing Valentijn as he is hot-ballooning his way onto an estate for a masquerade party — one he hasn’t been invited to, mind you — with his trusted right-hand man, Leo Coops (Hubert Fermin, Black Widow, The Swingers), an ex-criminal turned concierge at the luxury hotel in The Hague where Valentijn lives.
Valentijn definitely has a way with the ladies (well, many of them, anyway), but his charm doesn’t prevent him from being arrested for murder and a multi-million-dollar theft during the soirée. Thus he comes to meet the young, straight-laced, and hard-working District Attorney, Suze Geleijnse (Sytske van der Ster, Crossing Lines, De co-assistant), at the police station from which he escapes in short order with her unwitting help. And so begins their rather unorthodox public-prosecutor-amateur-private-eye partnership.
The two investigate a wide range of crimes that at some point involve murder, from art forgeries and drug smuggling, to theft and conspiracy. Regardless of the scheme Valentijn concocts to help Suze get to the truth, the truth he searches for eludes him.
In desperation, Valentijn pulls an unbelievable stunt to try to force the truth of his origins to be revealed. Others are shocked when they realize what he’s done, but he’s the one left gobsmacked after learning of what happened to Suze soon thereafter.
Enter Floor van Nijevelt Guljé (Sophie van Winden, Dokter Deen, Overspel), an ambitious, no-nonsense public prosecutor assigned to investigate the murder. She later joins the late Suze’s professional nemesis, the smarmy DA Richard Frensdorf (Ferdi Stofmeel, The Prey), on the staff of Attorney General Harald de Vries (Mark Rietman, Baantjer Mysteries).
Meanwhile, the stunt Valentijn pulled wasn’t completely fruitless, and the information Father Bentinck fesses up puts him one step closer to learning the truth of his past. It also puts Valentijn in grave danger.
For folks who are into watching light crime dramas/mysteries infused with humor, then check out Lord & Master, if you haven’t already.
I have several episodes to go to finish the show’s two seasons; that’s what this weekend is for. 🙂
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