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Code 37 (2011)

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Credited cast:
Marc Lauwrys ...
Gilles De Schrijver ...
Geert Van Rampelberg ...
Jurgen Delnaet ...
Nathalie Meskens ...
Elise Taelman
Peter De Graef ...
Maaike Neuville ...
Roos De Vlieger
Aline Van Hulle ...
Phaedra De Vlieger
Carry Goossens ...
Ben Segers ...
Manou Kersting ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Karlijn Sonderen ...
Elke Goeman
Aagje Vanthomme ...


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Crime | Drama



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Release Date:

26 October 2011 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Code 37: De Film  »

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Follows Code 37 (2009) See more »

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Watch the series first!
7 September 2012 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Call me chauvinistic if you want, but I'm generally very proud of the fiction series that my country brings forward. Belgium particularly seems to specialize in crime/police series that are often extremely violent, but also benefit from quality scripts, terrific ensemble casts and suitable filming locations & decors. You have for example "Witse", "Zone Stad", "Aspe" and "Vermist". Each of them takes place in a famous big Belgian city (Antwerp, Bruges, Halle…) and has its own identifiable trademarks and gimmicks. "Code 37" is also such a successful series; set in Ghent and centering on a police unit that exclusively deals with sexual offenses. In order to launch the third and final season, the producers decided to surprise the audience with a long-feature motion picture released in theaters. The idea is definitely interesting, but also quite risky at the same time, since a film attracts new viewers that don't know anything about the characters' backgrounds and/or possible recurring themes from previous episodes. This is exactly what happens in "Code 37"… Throughout the first two – truly magnificent – seasons, the series loyally followed a specific pattern. Every episode revolved on one particular sex crime, but there was also the gradually unfolding mystery of lead protagonist Hannah Maes' private investigation and adolescent trauma. When she was a teenager, masked men invaded her home and brutally raped and killed her mother while she and her father were forced to watch. The crime was never solved and to this day Hannah is convinced that there's a convoluted conspiracy behind it. In the film, her investigation suddenly accelerates (to the point of nearly getting solved) but it must be completely incomprehensible for people that are new to the series. For example, I followed the series since the beginning – give or take a few episodes – but I watched the film with my girlfriend who never saw a "Code 37" episode before. I found myself providing her with additional feedback and background information on all the characters, so maybe it's not such a great idea to do a movie in the middle of a running show. Except of course if you don't want to attract viewers that weren't already familiar with it, but I can hardly imagine this is a successful marketing tactic.

That being said, I want to emphasize that I still very much like the concept of "Code 37", even though the script here is significantly weaker than most of the episodes in the previous seasons. In general, this is a truly uncompromising and often shockingly raw series with plausible character drawings (the cops as well as the villains/victims) and plentiful of graphic action and sex sequences. One of the main reasons why the series comes across as realistic is because that the players talk in their own dialect and slang, which is often crude and vulgar. The violence and nudity featuring in each and every single episode is definitely not for people with a weak stomach and the amount of it is truly copious. If this series would air on American television, for example, I doubt that the any of the footage would survive the editing/cutting room. Like in all Belgian crime/police series, the cast is stupendous and solely exists of familiar and hugely reliable names (in the Flemish part of Belgium, that is, of course). Lead actress Veerle Baetens is excellent as Hannah Maes. She's one tough and seemingly invulnerable bitch on the outside, insecure and sensitive on the inside. It's pure class how Baetens portrays these opposite emotions. Her team exists of two macho males (Michael Pas and Marc Lauwrys) and one nerdish rookie (Gilles De Schrijvere). The chemistry between the four leads is excellent. If you are interested in the format, please start from the beginning and NOT with the movie. The chronological order is: season one, season two, movie, season three.

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