Almost two weeks ago, Netflix released their first Dutch spoken series: “Undercover”. I absolutely loved it and binged the first season in one weekend. If there is one genre that the Dutch and Belgians (and Germans for that) excel in, it’s crime series.
“Undercover” is a new addition to the list of excellent Dutch spoken crime series, like: the “Flikken” franchise, “Baantjer”, “Penoza”, “Witse” and many more. Following the immense success of the Spanish spoken shows like “La Casa de Papel” and Scandinavian shows like “The Bridge”, Netflix brings you the Dutch/Belgian co- production “Undercover”.
In the South of the Netherlands, the Dutch provinces of Limburg and Noord-Brabant border the northern provinces of Belgium. Mostly because of the beautiful landscape, the great cities and the lovely people, this area can be regarded as one of the most beautiful parts of Western Europe. The shadow side to all of this, however, is that this it can also be seen as the world's Ecstasy capitol. The story for "Undercover" is loosely based on the exploits of the Dutch drug lord Janus van W. and revolves around Ferry Bouman (played by Frank Lammers). Ferry is smoothly running his drug empire from a camping site, where he, his wife Danielle (Elise Schaap) and his crew spend most of their time. He has managed to stay under the radar for a long time, but now the Belgian and Dutch police departments join forces to take him down. They send in the undercover police duo Bob (Tom Waes) and Kim (Anna Drijver), to get close to Ferry and gain his trust in order to catch him red handed. To do this they move into a wonky chalet close to Ferry and Danielle. This is the beginning of an operation that will change their lives forever.
Tom Waes as Bob Lemmens
Waes is a Belgian TV presenter, broadcaster and actor. He is mostly known for his travel series "Reizen Waes" and the amusement show "Tomtesterom". I love his television work, but I had never seen him act. Apparently the guy is a real all-rounder in the entertainment field, because he is very convincing in his role as Bob, whose undercover work is a way of life. He is married and has two children, but the marriage suffers under Bob's urge to always choose his work above his family.
Frank Lammers as Ferry Bouman
You might know Lammers for his roles in "Zwartboek" ("Black Book", 2006) or "Michiel de Ruyter" ("Admiral", 2015). Lammers is one of the most familiar faces on Dutch TV and cinema screens. One of the reasons for this is that he has been appearing in the commercials for "Jumbo" (one of the biggest supermarket chains in the Netherlands) for many years now. Besides this he has appeared in numerous other movies and TV shows. The role of Ferry Bouman seems to be perfect for Lammers. My anticipations for him were high and he delivers with an amazing performance.
Raymond Thiry as John Zwart
Thiry is another familiar face on Dutch television and I was so happy to see him turn up in "Undercover". Thiry is best in the role of the shady right hand, a role he also played in the critically acclaimed Dutch TV show "Penoza" (he played Luther).
In "Undercover" Thiry does what he does best as John, Ferry's right hand man. There is a huge amount of trust and loyalty between the two men, but things begin to change from the moment Bob begins to earn Ferry's respect.
Anna Drijver as Kim de Rooij
Where Bob lives for the job and is very reserved in the way to approach the Bouman family, Kim is the exact opposite. She is very impulsive and immediately makes her move. Bob has to get close to Ferry, whereas Kim makes her move to gain the trust of Daniëlle (Ferry's wife). I really like the tension this difference in approach brings in the scenes between Bob and Kim. Anna Drijver has established herself as one of the leading ladies in the Dutch entertainment world over the last couple of years and she does an outstanding job in portraying the impulsive Kim.
Elise Schaap as Daniëlle Bouman
For me Elise Schaap is the absolute star of the show. She is very convincing as the lovable Daniëlle Bouman (Ferry's wife). She is very naive, which makes her very gullible for Ferry's sometimes fishy explanations. Sure she knows that the business Ferry runs is illegal, but because of her naivity she doesn't see any evil in what he is doing. Daniëlle only wants to have a best friend and enjoy the simple life at the campground. Cue: Kim de Rooij. Whereas Daniëlle seemed to be very unhappy and lonely at the start of the show (her so called friends are laughing about her behind her back), she starts to blossom when Kim shows up. And that's not all that starts to blossom...
I really liked "Undercover" and I binged it over the weekend. Although the story is not very original and it's filled with clichés, it managed to capture me from the very start. The acting in "Undercover" is solid and as I already mentioned especially Elise Schaap is at the top of her game. I am certainly looking forward to the second season. The cast and crew are currently shooting the new season, which is planned for a release early 2020.