Everything to Remember Ahead of 'Professor T' Season 3

Barney White as Dan Winters, Ben Miller as Prof T and Emma Naomi as Lisa Donckers in the classroom in 'Professor T' Season 2

Barney White as Dan Winters, Ben Miller as Prof T, and Emma Naomi as Lisa Donckers in 'Professor T' Season 2

Laurence Cendrowicz/Eagle Eye Drama

Professor T began as a Belgian series in 2015. It starred Koen De Bouw as Jasper Teerlinck, aka the titular Professor T, a criminology lecturer at Antwerp. A Sherlock Holmes-type genius crime-solving figure, Professor T suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and is neuro-atypical, making him difficult to work with. However, his former student, Annelies Donckers, now an inspector of the Federal Judicial Police, decides to visit him when she hits a wall in a rape case, and his ability to solve the crime turns him into a regular consultant. 

The Flemish-language series proved so popular it was remade multiple times: in German in 2017, in French and in Czech in 2018, and finally in English in 2020. The Belgian series ran the longest, 39 episodes over three seasons, while the German one ran four seasons but only 16 installments. (The French and Czech versions were single-season miniseries.) Currently, the English version is heading into Season 3, with 12 episodes over the first two seasons.

All of the versions of Professor T start relatively the same way. The Professor is a lecturer at a high-end academic institution in his home country — the German Jasper Thalheim is at the University of Cologne, the Czech Jachym Tauber teaches at Charles University in Prague, the French Julien Tardieu is Professeur émérite à l'université de Nantes, and the British Jasper Tempest is at Cambridge. His former student, whose name ranges from Anneliese Deckert in German to Lisa Donckers in the U.K. version, is working on a rape case she cannot solve and turns to her professor for help. In each case, she is dinged by her superior, who Professor T secretly harbors a longstanding crush on, for bringing outside help on board. In all cases, her bagman stands up for her, despite not liking the Professor, and keeps him on the case long enough to see it solved and have him viewed as a valued member of the team. 

For PBS viewers, all three seasons of the Belgian version are available for members on PBS Passport and have been since 2019. However, the U.K. version is the one that airs on most local stations and debuts its Season 3 in summer 2024. Starring Ben Miller in the role of Jasper Tempest, it begins precisely like all the others in the premiere episode, with Emma Naomi as DS Lisa Donckers, Barney White as DS Dan Winters (who, like in the Belgian version, would like to date Lisa, but she is not interested), Juliet Aubrey as DCI Christina Brand (Jasper's longtime crush), Frances de la Tour as Adelaide Tempest (Jasper's mother), and Douglas Reith as The Dean (Jasper's boss).

However, though the first six mysteries in Season 1 follow the same structure as the Beligian show, they have their own flavor. For example, the premiere is much more brutal, the rape is shown on screen, the violence factor is higher, and things that are implied in the Belgian version are spelled out. The second episode has more fun with Jasper's mental state, giving him full-on musical numbers to hallucinate while investigating a poisoning. 

Episode 3 brings Jasper's mother into the picture as it does in the Belgian one, not as a one-off but as a permanent fixture. (Listen, if you have Frances de la Tour, you do not waste her.) Donckers' family is more fleshed out, with her father revealed to have dementia, and that affects her job and personal life. She and Winters take hesitant steps toward a relationship but then call it off and date other people. Perhaps the most significant change is that Jasper decides to go to therapy.

That last choice is partly why Season 2 feels so very different than the Belgian one, even though the mysteries (and the overall arc) still follow the same trajectory. The fact that there are only six episodes per season in the U.K. version versus 13 in the Belgian one asl means the series picks and chooses which mysteries to remake and which to skip over in the second season, which does it a lot of favors. Professor T spends time with Jasper suspended in Season 2 in the Belgian version; in the U.K. version, he gets an upgraded classroom and goes directly to the second episode's arson mystery instead. The series also introduces Juliet Stevenson as therapist Dr Helena Goldberg, giving Jasper another strong woman to deal with. The scenes where Jasper's mother accompanies him to therapy, and they dig into his childhood are riveting.

Lisa and Dan fully commit to a relationship in the second season, with Dan stepping up to help with Lisa's father when his dementia causes him to start wandering the streets searching for his deceased wife. Unfortunately, it doesn't last, with Lisa going for a promotion and the inequality between them winding up breaking them apart. The show also brings Jasper and Christina together much more and much quicker, allowing that unrequited relationship to build much faster and Christina to even start viewing Jasper as a person she cares for, even though she is seeing someone new herself, DI Simon Lanesborough (Alastair Mackenzie). This is essential since the show only has six episodes to get Jasper to the point where he would shoot a man to save Christina instead of 26 episodes over two seasons.

Yes, you read that correctly. Season 2 ends with Jasper discovering that Lanesborough is not what he seems—he's a dirty cop using Christina to keep his drug smuggling ring safe from being busted. When she confronts him, he pulls a gun, but then Jasper busts in with a rifle. He saves Christina's life by firing the weapon...not at Simon, but at the ceiling, before punching the guy out. Still, his use of a firearm is illegal, and he's hauled off to jail as Season 2 concludes.

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Professor T

The Professor is in jail and must find a way to get his old life and job back.
Professor T: show-poster2x3

Season 3 has already revealed that Jasper will begin the new season in jail... but how long he stays there is anyone's guess. With only six episodes, it probably won't be long before he's back out and solving cases with the newly minted DI Lisa Donckers.

Professor T Season 3 debuts at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 16, 2024, on most PBS stations, the PBS app, and the PBS Masterpiece channel, and will air and stream weekly through the end of July. All six episodes will be available as a binge for members on PBS Passport on premiere day. As always, check your local streaming service/listings. Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on PBS Passport, along with all three seasons of the Belgian version.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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