“Babylon Berlin” is finally back. After the fourth season of the series was released on Sky in autumn 2022, it is now celebrating its free TV premiere. At the start of the season on Sunday, October 1st, Erste will present the first four episodes in a continuous series at prime time from 8:15 p.m. If you haven’t had enough after that, you can watch a recording of “Babylon Berlin in Concert” from the Berlin Theater des Westens from 11:35 p.m., a live production of the series’ soundtrack with guest appearances by Meret Becker (54) and Max Raabe (60), Natalia Mateo (40), Madame Le Pustra (46) and other guests.

The first broadcasts four more episodes on the following Monday (October 2nd) from 8:15 p.m. Two more episodes will be shown on October 3rd and 4th at 10:10 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. respectively.

“Babylon Berlin” is the most expensive and successful German series production to date. It is based on the “Gereon Rath” book series by author Volker Kutscher (60), whose protagonist works as a murder squad investigator in Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s.

The direction is in the hands of the German star directors Tom Tykwer (58), Achim von Borries (54) and Henk Handloegten (55), who have a top-class cast in the production that brings together the most renowned German character actors. In addition to Volker Bruch (43) as Inspector Gereon Rath and Liv Lisa Fries (32) as detective assistant Charlotte Ritter, there are actors such as Benno Fürmann (51), Lars Eidinger (47), Hannah Herzsprung (42), Meret Becker and Martin Wuttke (61) or Fritzi Haberlandt (48) appear.

“Babylon Berlin” is set in Berlin in the “Golden Twenties” and early 1930s, the turbulent interwar years of the Weimar Republic, which came to an abrupt end with the Nazis’ seizure of power. The Cologne inspector Gereon Rath comes to Berlin as part of an investigation into a blackmail case and stays there, fascinated by the pulsating and mysterious metropolis. After a quick switch from customs to the murder squad, he is engulfed in a whirlpool of crimes, political upheavals and Babylonian complications that cut across all of the city’s social milieus.

Always at his side in the first seasons: detective assistant and second main character Charlotte Ritter, who fights her way up from miserable circumstances and dreams of a future as an inspector.

Around their investigations, the entire social spectrum of the global metropolis opens up: They have to deal with the gangs of the Berlin underworld, who maintain contacts in the highest political and economic circles, with Trotskyists smuggling poison gas and right-wing extremist agents of the Black Reichswehr even found within our own police ranks.

At the same time, there was a lot of celebration, especially in the dance temple Moka Efti on Friedrichstrasse, which was still bustling with life at the time. The series devotes a lot of space to the ecstatic dance that takes place on the volcano, thus offering numerous opportunities for opulent staging of the outstanding soundtrack.

The third season ends with the stock market crash in October 1929, which was followed by the devastating global economic crisis.

The dance on the volcano continues in the new episodes, but this time the dancing is even closer to the abyss than before. The fourth season jumps back in time by around a year and starts again at the turn of the year 1930/1931.

Already in the first episode, the fronts of the season are clarified in a turbulent panorama: On New Year’s Eve, the SA fights battles with the police and communists on the streets of Berlin, and Jewish shops are demolished. An obscure group of guests from business, politics, the military and the underworld gather at the party of the eccentric industrialist Alfred Nyssen (Lars Eidinger). After a failed department store burglary, the homeless sister of detective assistant Ritter is hunted by unscrupulous police officers who make the loot seized during their operation disappear and brutally get rid of unpleasant witnesses.

Charlotte Ritter is on duty that night and goes to the scene of her crimes. To her dismay, on the way there she meets her uniformed boss Gereon Rath, who has apparently joined the marauding SA mob. What she doesn’t know: Rath is only active as an undercover investigator in the SA command and in his role he has to present himself to her as a newly awakened National Socialist…

The arrival in Berlin of the American-Jewish gangster boss Abraham “Abe Gold” Goldstein, who still has a few outstanding scores to settle in his father’s name and wants to get back the “Blue Rothschild” diamond, also causes new upheaval in season four is in the hands of, of all people, the ardent admirer of Hitler, Alfred Nyssen. Last but not least, his appearance ensures that the already hard-fought gang wars finally escalate.

The global economic crisis, which is hitting with full force, is causing hardship for everyone. The massive impoverishment of the unemployed masses is visible on the streets, even police officers are making a point of doing so as soon as the opportunity arises. The rule of law and lawlessness go hand in hand, and the presence of the National Socialists becomes increasingly dominant.

The dance on the abyss takes place in the fourth season to much more upbeat music than in previous seasons. Instead of the previous dark, melancholic leitmotif “To ashes, to dust” (sung by actress Severija Janušauskaitė, 41), the new title song “A day like gold”, interpreted by Max Raabe in the role of pop star Emil Engels, sets one new tone for the entire season.

He combines snappy nonchalance and elegant gallows humor in lines like “Why do I care about balance sheets? Let’s dance!” or “Be careful, because it’s very easy to forget / Nothing stays the same” the inscrutability of the historical situation with the lust for life of the city dwellers, which despite everything is breaking through.

The hit is used in different versions on various occasions throughout the season. While Raabe performs it in the classic palace orchestra style, Meret Becker brings it to the stage in the role of the singer and gangster wife Esther Kasabian as a driving, almost technoid dance number. Her version is used particularly impressively in a three-day “women’s dance marathon” at Moka Efti, which offers participants prize money of 1,000 Reichsmarks. Driven by existential needs, Charlotte Ritter also takes part in the event – and literally dances for her life to the song.

The new storyline surrounding the “Blue Rothschild” diamond opens up the perspective of the Jewish world in Berlin in the early 1930s. It also brings new characters into the game: Abraham “Abe” Goldstein, an American-Jewish crime boss, comes to the city to get back the “Blue Rothschild” diamond that was stolen from his emigrated family. In order to achieve his goal, he does not shy away from kidnapping the wife and mother of the industrialist Nyssen.

In the series he is portrayed – with a dark face and a heavy accent – by the Israeli actor Mark Ivanir (55). Ivanir has been an international actor for decades. He had his big breakthrough in 1993 with his role as Marcel Goldberg in Steven Spielberg’s (76) film “Schindler’s List”. Afterwards he was repeatedly seen in major Hollywood productions, such as Robert De Niro’s (80) “The Good Shepherd” or “Mr.

Another new addition to the cast of the series is Moisej Bazijan (74) in the role of Goldstein’s uncle Jakob Grün, who informs him about the whereabouts of the “Blue Rothschild” and thus opens the new storyline. The actor and director became known to a larger audience through the film drama “Masel Tov Cocktail”, among other things.

Even though Sky has now said goodbye to production of the series, there will be at least one more season of “Babylon Berlin”. In July 2023, ARD Degeto managing director Thomas Schreiber confirmed: “ARD Degeto, X Films and Beta Film have commissioned the development of the fifth season of ‘Babylon Berlin’. Given the great success of the previous seasons, another sequel is not surprising .”

However, director Achim von Borries also made it clear when the series will end: at the point at which the dancers on the volcano finally slip over the edge and fall into the abyss – in 1933.