The return of Vienna Blood to the mystery pantheon of PBS is another chance at making the Frank Tallis-penned series a hit in the states. The show has a lot of things going for it, despite the Sherlock Holmes-esque nature of its leading man and the very stereotypical "odd couple solves crimes" trope it follows. First of all, it's the most explicitly Jewish mystery series on TV anywhere, with causal scenes of Jewish life that are rarely ever seen on TV anywhere. It also focuses on the historical implications of anti-Semitism at a time when it is on the rise again.
But the actual setting is also different. The series isn't set in the typical Victorian London, a time and place that gets featured in so many period dramas. It's not Edwardian London either, or post-Great War Yorkshire. Even though everyone in the series speaks English, this is a show set in a culture and a country gone from the map a decade later, the capital of the Austrian Hungarian empire. Though Vienna still stands, this particular era of its existence ended only a few scant years after this show is set, making it a worthy and exciting choice for a period piece.
The trailer for the new series also looks promising, as Max Liebermann (Matthew Beard) and Oskar Rheinhardt (Juergen Maurer) settle into their unusual relationship and find a solid friendship despite being from very different backgrounds, class systems, and religions.
Season 2 will pick up with The Liebermann Papers Books 4-5 after Season 1 covered the first three books. For those who have read the series, this season will do The Melancholy Countess, The Devil's Kiss, and Darkness Rising. (Book 5 is two mysteries in one.) Here's the new season's synopsis:
1900s Vienna, a hotbed of philosophy, science, and art, where a clash of cultures and ideas collide in the city's grand cafes and opera houses. Max Liebermann is a brilliant young English doctor and student of famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Together with tenacious Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt, they investigate a series of unusual and disturbing murders.
Beard and Maurer will be joined in Season 2 by returning actors Conleth Hill and Amelia Bullmore as Max's parents Mendel and Rachel, and Charlene McKenna as his older sister Leah. Luise von Finckh will also be back as Max's now-ex-fiancee, Clara. Season 1's Jessica De Gouw will not be back; her role of Amelia Lydgate, Max's love interest, will be taken over by Lucy Griffiths of True Blood fame. Meanwhile, in the police world, Raphael von Bargen is expected to return as the hapless Inspector von Bulow and Simon Hatzl as the toadying Police Commissioner Strasser.
Vienna Blood Season 2 will once again split the 90-minute episodes that aired in the U.K. into a six-episode series with 45-minute installments. The new season debuts on a weekly release schedule beginning Sunday, Jan. 9, at 10 p.m. ET on most PBS stations. It will also be available as a binge-drop on PBS Passport starting the same day for those who wish to watch it as intended. As always, check your local listings.