A hit when it premiered in Germany, the first season of Shades of Guilt, a crime drama with a legal angle, is making its US debut this week.
Shades of Guilt (Schuld) is inspired by the true-crime collection of stories in Guilt by Ferdinand von Schirach, the Berlin-based German defense attorney and author whose book Crime was the basis for the Crime Stories television series.
Each standalone story in Shades of Guilt is linked by the theme of guilt and the character of defense attorney Friedrich Kronberg, von Schirach’s alter ego played by multiple-award winner Moritz Bleibtreu (The Experiment, In July).
In the episode “DNA,” Kronberg is the defense attorney for Nina Deggert (Alina Levshin, In the Face of Crime), accused of murder along with her co-defendant husband, Thomas (Misel Maticevic, Tatort).
The Deggert’s story, as related to Kronberg by Nina, is depicted in scenes that alternate between the present day, the late 1990s, and the time in between — from their days of living rough on the streets in 1997 Berlin, to their new life together as a married couple with a home and children, to their pre-trial hearings and ultimate fate 19 years later.
Whether or not Nina and Thomas committed an offense isn’t in question. Rather, it’s the the whys and wherefores, the contributing factors, the moral conflicts, and the murky areas of penal code interpretation that make one wonder about what justice is and what it should be in order for it to be truly just for both the accused and the victim. These shades of gray are the stuff of Shades of Guilt.
Assuming the rest of the six-episode Season 1 follows a similar narrative structure and visual style, as directed by Hannu Salonen (Tatort, Crime Stories, Bukow and König) and Maris Pfeiffer (Ein starkes Team, SOKO Leipzig), look for the imagery and pace to contribute as much to the storytelling as the dialogue and acting.
Shades of Guilt premieres in the US on Friday, 7 July 2017, on Walter Presents.
Viewers in the UK will be able to watch the series when it debuts across the pond under the Walter Presents banner in 2018. Stay tuned for updates.
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