The show was originally conceived as a replacement for 'Baantjer (1995)', RTL4's popular Friday night crime series. The shows share quite some similarities: both were aired at Friday night om 8:30 PM, both featured a male detective duo in a fairly formulaic, case-of-the-week format, both were based on popular crime novels which had previously been adapted into a feature film: in Baantjer's case, 'Moord in extase (1984)', in Grijpstra & de Gier's case 'Grijpstra en de Gier (1979)' and 'De ratelrat (1987)'. However, the show ended up mostly existing concurrently with Baantjer, which lasted until 2006. Grijpstra & De Gier lasted only a year longer, ending its run in fall 2007. See more »
The closing credits begin playing over the final scene; the screen shrinks so the title bar showing the credits can become visible. See more »
Admittedly, this series has nothing to do with Baantjer, but it's obvious it is supposed to be a 'spiritual successor'. It is written by the same team, is also based on popular books, also takes place in Amsterdam (What Dutch crime series doesn't? Oh, that's right: Spangen) and is also aired on RTL4's Friday evening. Hell, every episode so far featured at least one guest star who also played in Baantjer!
Grijpstra & De Gier sports a nice cast who portray their characters well. Jack Wouterse, my favorite Dutch actor at the moment (partially because of Grijpstra & De Gier), plays Grijpstra as an ill-tempered guy who can be an asshole at times, but still has his heart in the right place. Roef Ragas nails De Gier as the friendlier, sometimes wiser sidekick who occasionally keeps Grijpstra in line (basically the opposite of De Cock and Vledder from Baantjer, where the oldest one is also always the wisest). Jasper van Overbrugge is good in his role of Cardozo although he doesn't really do much besides coming across as the nerdy underdog, except for one impressive episode where he is shot and almost dies. The lovely Anniek Pfeifer is also good in her role as Hetty, but, like Cardozo, is a secondary character and has less to do. My least favorite is Lex van Delden, whose character is a bit overly philosophical and a bit unbelievable as a commissioner. He just comes across as weird and absent-minded, even though he is also wise, much smarter than Baantjer's often comically dumb Buitendam.
The dialog in the series is well-written; the conversations between Grijpstra and De Gier are always interesting to listen to (Janwillem van de Wetering, who wrote the books, also did the dialog for the series) Overall, the series is like Baantjer- most episodes form single entities with no continuity between them, except for recurring guest stars playing coroners (and the stray dog which befriends Grijpstra) and an interesting story arc in late Season 1, where we learn a lot about Hetty's past. Too bad they didn't do that in the following seasons, although there is more character development than in Baantjer. In three seasons we've learned more about G&DG's characters than about most of Baantjer's characters during that series entire run, which is about four times as long.
Some episodes deviate from the typical format. This was also not unheard of in Baantjer, but Grijpstra & De Gier tends to be a little wilder when doing so. While Baantjer, even when departing from its format, still has a corpse at the start of each episode, G&DG has also featured different cases- in Season 1 there was a teacher who was being beaten up, and in S3 there was a woman who suddenly remembered her father molested her as a child. This would be unthinkable in Baantjer.
G&DG is also more modern than Baantjer, taking place in a newer Amsterdam area, away from the old buildings and classic Red Light District. This rawer look, and the hand-held camera (as opposed to Baantjer's Steadycam), really give the series a modernized look. The nature of the cases treated in each episode doesn't differ much, though. G&DG is also a bit more sensational than Baantjer; short 'action moments' featuring guns being shot, suspects retaliating and short chases on foot are far more common, and a format-departing episode from the first season even featured a full-fledged shootout in a parking garage. It's far from being an action series (which is good), but these moments show that G&DG is a little rougher and sharp-edged than Baantjer.
Obviously, the series also has bad points. Due to the characters' bigger roles, the episode stories suffer a bit and aren't always as interesting or original as Baantjer's. There are notable exceptions of course, such as a creepy episode featuring a mysterious Native American, or an episode where Grijpstra's aunt is murdered. Other things I don't like are the annoying split-screen scenes which are luckily rarely used in newer seasons, and the completely pointless scenes where Grijpstra and De Gier are playing on musical instruments in the lost & found storage (these scenes are only there because they are in the books). Also, the scenes taking place at Fred's cafeteria are an obvious rip-off from Baantjer's café scenes, although Grijpstra never gets clever ideas here, like De Cock does. The same counts for the ferry scenes at the end (in Baantjer they're at De Cock's house), but luckily the dialog here is more interesting and funnier than in Baantjer's episode endings.
Overall, Grijpstra & De Gier is a good series with the same flaws as Baantjer, and both very similar to and very different from this older series. The cast do a great job, especially Jack Wouterse. I hope it'll go on for plenty of seasons.
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