The thing about crime in Europe is, there’s almost always a border close by. You want to get up to no good then hide out in another country? There’s so many to choose from that a bad guy in a hurry could easily drive through half a dozen in a single day.
That’s where The Team comes in. As a hand-picked group of skilled crime fighters assigned to a case that spans borders – and in this series, outside Europe entirely – they’re not going to let a little thing like lines on a map stop them from bringing the bad guys to justice.
There’s a mass murder in the marshes
When a violent shoot-out breaks out at a bed and breakfast in the Danish marshes, a lot of people end up dead. But not everyone: the sole survivor is a young Syrian woman, Malu Barkiri (Sarah Perles), who disappeared into the surrounding countryside.
It’s a crime with international implications. For one thing, one of the dead is a Brussels student who’d been in contact with the terrorist organization Caliphate Union and was working as an informant for the Belgium security services. For another, the prime suspect is the German owner of the B&B, Bob Kellner (Sascha Alexander Geršak), who vanished after the attack.
It’s an all-new team
If you haven’t seen the first season of The Team, don’t worry. This is an all-new crime, with an all-new team put together to investigate it. Not that they start out working as a team: at first they’re each investigating their own side of the crime. While Danish policewoman Nelly Winther (Marie Bach) scours the Danish marshes looking for Malu, German Commissioner Gregor Weiss (Jürgen Vogel) is investigating Kellner’s background and family in Hamburg, and Belgian terrorism specialist Paula Liekens (Lynn Van Royen) follows up on the international side of things. But it’s not until their most promising lead turns up dead in an extremely suspicious fashion that the trio begin to work together as… The Team.
It’s international television at its most international
Originally the brainchild of the European Broadcasting Union (or EBU) – yes, the alliance of public broadcasters that produces the Eurovision Song Contest – The Team is a co-production between 11 media organisations from eight member states. But if you think you’re detecting a certain Scandi-noir feel to proceedings, you’re not wrong: the production team have credits on everything from crime thrillers like Modus and Spring Tide to the Norwegian alternate-history drama Occupied. This season has a wider writing team too; while the original team of Peter Thorsboe and Mai Brostrøm (The Eagle, The Protectors) are back, they’re joined by writers from Denmark, the UK and Germany.
The Team is a well-oiled machine
When you’ve got a complicated plot packs with twists and turns, it’s important to have characters that don’t require a whole lot of setting up. So here Gregor is the laid-back cop with a string of ex-wives who’s seen it all, while Nelly is the professional who finds her home life crumbling under the stress of her job. As for Paula, she gets to be ambitious, but also somewhat inexperienced; she also gets to have a partner (Joren Seldeslachts) at home who spends his time growing and promoting organically grown vegetables, which must make for a nice change from all the blood and guts of her day job. And if you were wondering if all this working together leads to any sexual tension between members of the team… all signs point to yes.
It’s terrorists versus Neo-Nazis
It soon seems clear that whoever was behind the B&B shootout is trying to cover their tracks. But the trail is already muddled, with some clues pointing towards the Caliphate Union and others towards local neo-nazi organisations. For Malu, who’s still on the run, the Nazis are the more pressing problem, as she finds herself hiding out in a small town where they have an active presence. But as the Team investigate the scene of the shoot out more closely, they start to uncover clues that lead in a very different direction…
In the end, it’s all about the money
One of the areas of international terrorism that often gets overlooked is funding. Guns and explosives aren’t cheap, and if you’re looking to set up an actual army you’re going to need a lot more than pocket money to keep them going. As this season progresses, the team finds their attention increasingly drawn to the world of smuggling and selling illegal antiquities. The history and treasure of Syria is being looted by warring factions as a way to fund their operations – and the wealthy collectors of Europe are more than happy to reap the rewards and expand their collections.
But the terrorists have their own plans too, and soon the Team’s investigation becomes a race against time to stop the body count from climbing even higher…
Seasons 1 + 2 of The Team are streaming now at SBS On Demand: