First Look: Mafia Only Kills in Summer

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Italian comedy Mafia Only Kills in Summer premieres August 14th exclusively on MHz Choice.

Premieres August 14th

The Italians have created another gem you don’t want to miss! The pitch-perfect Mafia Only Kills in Summer brings you into the world of ten-year-old Salvatore Giammarresi (Edoardo Buscetta), a keen observer of the adults around him and the ironies of growing up in Palermo in the 1970s. He’s always asking pesky questions – and when he goes at it during the funeral service of a Mafioso, he gets in big trouble with Brother Giacinto, played by Nino Frassica (Don MatteoThe Last GodfatherThe Vanishing of Pato).

The series’ lighthearted tone (a definite palate cleanser after Camorra Connection) will leave you flashing back to your own pre-teen moments with relief that they’re over! Think The Wonder Years against a Palermo/Mafia backdrop. It’s perfectly cast – particularly the kids. Salvatore’s two buddies – the scrappy Sebastiano (Pierangelo Gullo) and laconic Fofò (Enrico Gippetto) provide a great counterpoint to his intellectual tenacity, and the three of them together make up a hilarious, unholy trinity. Their classmate Alice (Andrea Castellana) – she with the limpid blue eyes – has all three on a short leash and does her best at the futile task of civilizing them. Salvatore, of course, is hopelessly smitten.

Mafia Only Kills in Summer also tells the sad story of Palermo under the iron grip of Mafia control. None of it escapes the gaze of the astute, ever observant ten-year-old. Honest policemen and whistleblowers live in jeopardy for their lives. Ordinary citizens live in fear of Mafia reprisal, holding onto crime tips that they could be giving to the police. Each one of Salvatore’s family members is touched by the Mafia in a crippling fashion. He sees it all and the injustice rankles. Speaking of family members, you’ll recognize Salvatore’s father, Lorenzo (Claudio Gioè) from Anti-Mafia Squad.

Despite the sad elements of the story, it’s still predominated by the energy and optimism of youth. Palermo in the 1970s may be messed up, but with the new generation represented by Salvatore, one hopes that change can happen. The city itself still has ancient marvels, and the beauty of the countryside where Arturo’s grandparents live thrills the heart.

Prepare for a glorious ride – Mafia Only Kills in Summer is an exultant, feel-good way to end the summer and slip into fall. The last episode will leave you wistful for more!


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First Look: Homicide Unit Istanbul (Season 3)


Season 3 premieres August 7th!

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Season 3 of fan favorite Homicide Unit Istanbul premieres August 7th exclusively on MHz Choice.

Season 3 Now Streaming

Location, location, location! Homicide Unit Istanbul Season 3 continues to thrill because of the exotic places Inspector Mehmet Özakin (Erol Sander) and his assistant, Mustafa (Oscar Ortega Sanchez) go to in their investigations. Racing from gleaming, urban offices to bazaars to winding roads and farms in the middle of exquisite countryside… it’s all part of the job! And there’s usually a chase or a fight scene where Inspector Özakin gives the perp what for against the backdrop of beautiful, ancient Istanbul. If you’re going to chase the bad guys, why not do it in a beautiful place?

Season 3 brings a few cast changes – Özakin’s wife, Sevim (Idil Üner) is only in the first two episodes, and a new female coroner, Derya Güzel (Melanie Winiger) joins the team. Mehmet’s boss, Dr. Ergün Kaya (Defne Halman) gives administrative pushback on almost everything he wants, so there’s nothing new there… and his deputy, Mustafa (Oscar Ortega Sanchez) always pulls through when stuff needs to get done. And the main character, as always, is gorgeous, multi-cultural, enigmatic modern Turkey.


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First Look: Camorra Connection

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Camorra Connection now streaming exclusively on MHz Choice.

Now Streaming

Camorra Connection thrusts you into the brutality of the Camorra – a network of criminal clans operating in the region of Campania and its capital, Naples. It’s mafia-like but lacks the strong hierarchy or leadership at the top. Not as united as mafia families, Camorra clans act independently and are more prone to power struggles between each other. Historically, the clans’ approach has been to insert themselves as middlemen between the local community and bureaucrats and politicians in Rome.  You want to start a business, build a bridge, buy and work a cattle farm? They’re the ones to grease the skids. A 2007 study by Confesercenti, Italy’s second largest trade organization, showed that in Campania, the Camorra control the milk and fish industries, the coffee trade, and over 2,500 bakeries in Naples.

So, it’s a very real thing.

This eight-part series begins with the imprisoned Franceso Russo (O’ Malese) doing a favor for the local Camorra boss, thus earning him the right to ask for some measure of favoritism when he gets out of prison. In this First Look, the newly-released O’ Malese (Giuseppe Zeno) reunites with his two buddies Ciccio Capuano (Francesco Di Leva) and Vincenzo De Marchi (Salvatore Striano), who immediately come up with plans for resuming their lives together as petty thieves. O’Malese, however, has a much grander vision.

Dramatically compelling, Camorra Connection is not for the faint of heart – its violence isn’t necessarily graphic, but always wrenching. The series is loosely based on real events and chronicles the work of Judge Andrea Esposito and his team to battle the oppression imposed on citizens in the fictional town of Castello d’Aversa.

The real town where this story happened is San Cipriano d’Aversa, in case you’re planning a pilgrimage.


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Tatort: Borowski Season 3 - What Makes a Killer?


Season 3 now premiering!

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Tatort: Borowski Season 3 has an episode showing a “normal” person slowly becoming a monster. Now streaming on MHz Choice.

What Makes a Killer?

There’s a word in the study of drama – catharsis – that describes the mixed emotions of pity and fear felt by an audience watching the main character’s freefall in a tragedy. Experiencing dramatic catharsis is supposed to be cleansing or therapeutic, since you leave the tragedy wiser and feeling better about your own life. Tatort: Borowski Season 3 has an episode worthy of this description. It’s about a character’s descent into criminality so shocking, so appalling, that you cannot turn away. It’s like watching a slow-motion car wreck. And like the audience of a Greek tragedy, you find yourself feeling cathartic relief that the disaster you’re watching isn’t yours.

Borowski and the Angel (Episode 6 in this season) shows a normal person – someone involved in one of the helping professions – who starts to make increasingly crazy, criminal decisions. How does that happen? Borowski’s question, posed to students in a class lecture, frames it all: “What makes criminals different from normal people?”

Sabrina Dobisch is an elder-care nurse who longs for excitement and attention. She watches old movies like a voyeur, envying the glamour and relational connection they represent. She observes a woman weeping over her dead cat in public and notes the attention she gets. The wheels start to turn… hey, she’s got a cat! She could get the same kind of attention over the death of her cat! So the descent begins.

To avoid spoilers, let’s just say the story takes you methodically into the mind of a sociopath. As Borowski says in his lecture, these folks seem perfectly normal. Most people cannot see the sociopaths around them because they blend in. The mystery is how they can rationalize the unthinkable and justify committing terrible acts. But good old Borowski does have eyes for sociopaths and smells something fishy about Sabrina’s story right away. He goes after her with unceasing, entertaining tenacity.

Kudos to the actress Lavinia Wilson playing Sabrina – she’s pitch perfect in portraying a woman with the face of an angel and the heart of a murderer. To me, this is one of the most gripping Tatort: Borowski episodes ever. Perhaps because it is so low-key, so understandable, so menacing. When you finish it, you’re relieved that you’re not Sabrina – you’re not a sociopath who goes around killing people, either accidentally or out of twisted thinking.

You hope.


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First Look: Flemming (Season 3)


All Seasons Now Streaming!

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Like a fine wine, police drama Flemming just keeps getting better. 

All Seasons Now Streaming

Flemming is one of those series that grows on you – with characters and relationships that continue to morph and deepen with each new season. In Flemming Season 3, the character of police psychologist Vince Flemming (Samuel Finzi) continues his personal journey of growing awareness of his own foibles and his clarity about wanting to make it work with Ann. And he’s still an investigative wunderkind, applying intuition and brilliance about people to each episode’s case.

Season 3 begins with Ann’s return from maternity leave – a miserable day for any mother.  The case before her is super creepy and involves genital mutilation of a female victim. Also on the scene is an addition to the team – crime photographer Robert Anda (Götz Schubert). Keep an eye on that one.

Sadly, Season 3 is the final season of Flemming – because Claudia Michelsen left to play investigator Doreen Brasch in the East German version of Tatort, which MHz Choice viewers know as Bukow and Konig. So, the 22 episodes across three seasons were all they made. It’s a topnotch lightweight crime drama – with a great ensemble cast, snappy writing and a delightful rom-com story arc. Another MHz Choice binge-worthy classic!


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 MHz Choice is available in the U.S. & Canada. Free 30-day trial then $7.99/mo. Subscribe at mhzchoice.com.