Mark your calendars, Euro TV fans. The Schouwendam 12, the eagerly-awaited sequel series to The Oldenheim 12, premieres in the US next Monday.
A bit like True Detective, whose seasons feature stories and casts that are distinct from each other, The Schouwendam 12 (De 12 van Schouwendam) is a sequel to The Oldenheim 12, but the only things they have in common are the shows’ writers and various members of the crew and the theme of twelve.
The new series is set in the Dutch village of Schouwendam, where locals share years-old secrets that hold some of them hostage to each other. It is also the place where teenagers Alice Drost and Olaf Witte seemed to have vanished into thin air in the summer of 1995.
Twenty-five years later, a man (Gijs Naber, Black Widow, Framed, The Godless) shows up in Schouwendam, claiming to be Olaf. That is, he believes he is Olaf, but he isn’t completely sure because he is still suffering from amnesia. He certainly looks like he could be the adult Olaf, and he possesses something that makes it likely that he is Olaf. And given how longtime villagers react to him, he must be Olaf — and this is not a good thing to several of them.
If they were unsettled by the man’s arrival in town, they are positively freaking out the next day when one of the villagers disappears… and is later found dead. (One guess as to who becomes the primary suspect.)
Meanwhile, Detective Karlijn van Andel (Carine Crutzen, The Body Collector, Baantjer Mysteries) has come to Schouwendam at the request of local police officer Pim Nijboer (Matthijs van de Sande Bakhuyzen, Amsterdam Undercover, Suspects). He needs her help to look into the 25-year-old missing persons case and the man’s claim of being Olaf. With the discovery of the dead body, Karlijn must investigate a murder, too.
It isn’t the only homicide case for Karlijn and Pim, either.
As the man continues his search for proof that he is (or isn’t) Olaf, and as the police continue their inquiries, long-held secrets come to light while life goes on (mostly) as usual in Schouwendam — from one local trying to save the family business from a ruthless real estate developer, to a resident suffering in silence from a debilitating depression.
Karlijn, too, is carrying on as best she can, after having endured a traumatic and intense eighteen months, by focusing on her work… which gets complicated when the dead body count of people who had made Olaf’s life miserable keeps going up.
Is the man Olaf or isn’t he? Is he the killer or isn’t he? What happened to Olaf and Alice all those years ago? We’re spoiler-free here, so you’ll have to watch The Schouwendam 12 to find out the answers.
What I will say is that the series is a gripping, slow-burn mystery — one that uses flashbacks and red herrings to good effect in moving the story forward to its what-the-what! conclusion.
The ten-part drama features Eva Laurenssen (Force, The Godless), Benja Bruijning (Framed), Fockeline Ouwerkerk (The Neighbors), Annelies Appelhof (Flight HS13), Simone Milsdochter (The Swell), Joop Keesmaat (The Prey), Mads Wittermans (Black Widow), Maarten Heijmans (The Blood Pact), Hajo Bruins (Black Widow), Angelika Kurowska (Ultraviolet), Bas Keizer (Ares), and Huub Stapel (Framed).
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