As I remarked to someone earlier today, “13 Commandments knocked my socks off!” Yes, it was that good, so get your binge on for it this weekend.
One of the things I appreciate most about 13 Commandments (13 Geboden) is the care the writers and production team took with the series’ pacing (in addition to the great story, acting, directing, etc). It’s deliberate — delivering a slow burn of anticipation (rather than anger) over thirteen episodes that also allows you to digest details and to get to know characters on a deeper level before moving on to the next part of the story.
13 Commandments, a dark and gritty Flemish-language mystery-crime thriller, follows the investigation of a series of crimes based on the Ten Commandments. (So why thirteen in the title, then? That would be telling.) It’s reminiscent of Se7en and Messiah and just as compelling as the film and drama series, both of which are award winners.
Before going any further, let’s review what the Ten Commandments are, as written in the King James Version of the Bible.
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth…
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain…
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy…
- Honor thy father and thy mother…
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house…
Peter Devriendt (Dirk van Dijck, Salamander) is a divorced father of a twenty-something daughter and a veteran cop on the verge of retirement from Belgium’s Federal Criminal Police. Due to an unfortunate event, he gets a new partner: Vicky Degraeve (Marie Vinck, De Rodenburgs), a young and dedicated detective who transferred to the crime squad from the Special Forces unit because she’s suffering the ill effects of an unfortunate event that occurred in her life. As we come to learn, both are haunted by their pasts.
Meanwhile, a crime spree is about to begin.
Following the murder of a young woman, a man is brutally attacked — but not killed — in the East Flanders city of Aalst. Soon thereafter, another man is left speechless. (Literally.)
With each of these crimes, Devriendt receives a cryptic text message from an anonymous sender.
Then the police receive an email with photos of three people, whom the detectives believe could be the perpetrator’s next victims. One is well-known, the other two, not so much. The next day, the press get the same pictures and the media frenzy kicks into high gear.
They also learn the culprit’s self-described identity: Moses, whose mission is to restore long-gone moral standards in Belgian society by ruthlessly punishing individuals who have committed acts that are counter to the Ten Commandments. Call it his version of an eye for an eye.
What the police don’t anticipate is the public’s growing opinion of Moses and his increasing popularity, which make the investigation and finding Moses that much more difficult.
The cops’ minds are reeling following the eleventh crime, and questions abound.
And when Moses is finally unmasked, your mind will be blown.
The series features Karlijn Sileghem (Tom & Harry), Koen Van Impe (Salamander), Bert Haelvoet (New Texas), Ella Leyers (Professor T.), Line Pillet (The Team), Katelijne Verbeke (Cordon), Tom Ternest (Slot Marsepeinstein), and Jeroen Perceval (Tabula Rasa).
13 Commandments, which premiered in the US on December 13th, is streaming exclusively on Walter Presents and the Walter Presents channel on Amazon. Check it out. Seriously.
If you don’t already have a subscription to Walter Presents, then by all means take advantage of the holiday promo, which gives brand-new subscribers a full 30 days of the streaming service for free. The offer expires on December 31st, so get it while the getting’s good.
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