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Thursday, September 19, 2019

PROFESSOR T.


 PROFESSOR T.
Currently airing in America on many PBS channels, Professor T is a Sherlock Holmes/Monk mash-up. I was skeptical at first, but Professor T has rapidly become my favorite foreign language series alongside HBO Asia’s Miss Sherlock.

The version of Professor T being shown in America is the original series made in Belgium, which has so far run for 39 episodes over three seasons beginning in 2015. This original proved so popular with viewers it has spawned versions in France, Germany, and the Czech Republic. There are also rumors of an American version coming soon.

While the character of a brilliant, eccentric, germaphobic, police consultant with no social skills has become a well-worn cliché, there is something inherent in the setup that continues to appeal to us through its many and various incarnations. Professor T is but one more notch on the Sherlockian calabash, however, after two episodes it does become addictive, binge worthy viewing.

If you watch the series in any of its manifestations be aware it takes a while to get used to the scenes where Professor T's imaginations flow briefly into reality before returning to the here and now.

BELGIUM
In the original series, eccentric professor and criminologist Jasper Teerlinck (Koen De Bouw) known to his students and colleagues as Professor T, has a brilliant mind and more than a few neurological disorders. Rude and insulting, he appears to delight in targeting an individual’s weak spots. Often, he gives the impression he doesn’t understand how or why people get upset with him, nor does he care. But there are other instances when he consciously uses his anti-social traits to his advantage. In his role as a police consultant, he is—of course—always right, which frustrates those individuals who would much prefer to see him banished from the squad room.

Working with Professor T are Inspectors Annelies Donckers (Ella Leyers) and Daan De Winter (Bart Hollanders). She is the explosive one. He is the quiet behind-the-scenes operator. Having once been Professor T’s students at the university, they know how to ignore his shortcomings and how best to handle him. 
Commissioner Paul Rabe (Herwig Ilegems) disapproves of Professor T and feels left out. Head of the criminal investigation department, Christina Flamant (Tanja Oostvogels) considers Professor T's collaboration with mixed feelings because they were once a couple.

FRANCE
Known as Prof T, the French remake of the original Belgium series curiously didn’t air in France until a year after it premiered in Belgium. Despite the slight name change, Prof T (Mathieu Bisson) is the same brilliant neurological mess. 

Inspectors Lise Doumère (Fleur Geffrier) and Dan Levasseur (Amir El Kacem) work with Prof T, trying to keep his anti-social tendencies from getting completely out of hand. Commissioner Paul Rabet (Pierre Berriau) still disapproves, and Commissaire Flamand (Zoé Félix) still alternately aches for the professor while despising his treatment of those around him. While the first of the remakes, the French version of Professor T has only aired six episodes.

GERMANY
For the German remake, Professor T became Jasper Thalheim (Matthias Matschkean), an eccentric professor of psychological criminology at Cologne University. His expertise leads him to become an advisor to the police. Like the original Professor T, his German alter ego suffers from an assortment of neurological fetishes, which cause him to were blue medical gloves most of the time. 

His former student Anneliese Deckert (Lucie Heinze) and her colleague Daniel Winter (Andreas Helgi Schmid) work for the criminal investigation department in Cologne. Together the trio seek to solve almost irresolvable crimes. The German version of Professor T began airing in February 2017. It has currently run for three season, each consisting of four episodes, with a fourth season filmed and ready to debut.

CZECH REPUBLIC
The success of Professor T continued with a third remake set in Prague, the City of a Hundred Spires, known for its historical atmosphere and unique charm. Despite the many sights and tourist attractions, major crimes still require solving. 

Professor T is now Jáchym Tauber (Pavel Reznícek). Inspectors Amálie Drápalová (Sarah Havácová) and Dan Winter (Aleš Petráš) dog his steps and catch his flack as they chase murderers and other assorted felons. 
The newest version of Professor T, the Czech version has run for eight episodes over two seasons. 

With the continuing success of the franchise, there is no doubt some version of Professor T will soon be available on a streaming service near you. 


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