Seasons 1-5 now streaming!

SPOILER ALERT!
Reading this article reveals key points of this program! How about watching it first?

SPOILER ALERT! Reading this article reveals key points of this program! How about watching it first?

The Big Case
Gone are the days when Luc had time to flash back to the loss of his old partner. That was a tough time, but now he must rally around Anna-Maria as she and Dörig juggle local crimes with a very serious, extremely sinister international situation: human organ trafficking. It seems this horrible practice has reached even quaint Aarau, as Moldovans and other Eastern Europeans living in poverty are paid pittance for their kidneys to save the lives of rich people. It’s a nightmare, and apparently the federal police believe the local canton can’t handle it because they send Pedro Lambert, smooth-talking big shot, down to investigate. He seems to care more about getting a win than the actual lives (and organs) of the victims in question, and his ambition and ego lead to the loss of at least one innocent person. Still, his considerable smarm almost turns Anna-Maria’s head. Almost.

Other Notable Diversions
Between trying to unravel the organ trade case, Anna-Maria, with the increasingly more on-point help of Dörig, must solve the murders of a vintner, a butcher and a minstrel – written out, they sound downright charming, until you remember that the butcher case involved a man being boiled in a vat of sausage renderings. Will I ever eat again?

Of particular note is the death, first thought to be accidental, of a local cook. The parade of her Filipino relatives in to see her and perform the traditional death watch, and the peace her son must make with her death, lead Luc to an epiphany, of sorts. Luc openly forgives Erika for her relationship with his father after his mother’s death, and thanks her for being there for him throughout the years. Perhaps this last step to bridge the divide between them will mean Erika can spend less time at the local shooting club, blasting out her frustrations. Actually, I hope not! I appreciate this woman of a certain age and her efficient handling of a side piece. Plus, she has not exactly warmed up to the new, modernized office space, and needs a place to go and drink beer and… shoot a gun.

Luc and Fabio on the lookout for dead

Still Fabio-lous
Fabio remains an integral part of the Conrad Institute team, and if we thought Season 2 would see a toning down of his vampiresque, goth-tinged greatness, we were, thank God, mistaken. He remains sensitive to, well, basically everything: the needs of others, Luc’s moods, Erika’s innate goodness, the rules of the road, the spirit world. Oh, yeah, Fabio finds his soulmate – a dead girl. And Reto Stalder’s tender sweetness is so real as he holds her hand and gathers ancient herbs from a castle garden for her coffin, it’s easy to see they were made for each other. I suppose he has only to wait until the afterlife to see her again, enrobed in his finest romantic Transylvanian fashions, and tell her all about his driver’s license, finally obtained under the stalwart instruction of Erika. Hey, it’s not easy to parallel park a hearse.

Progress
Finally, finally, the pieces of the organ trafficking mystery begin lining up. Stopping these baddies, though, requires not just the federal and canton police, not just Luc and Fabio and Erika, not just Moldovan widows willing to risk it all, but actual patients in the hospital where everything is going down! When Luc runs into one of his childhood friends, he conscripts the dude into service, giving the dying man the thrill of his final days (until he also meets an untimely fate) as they close in on the boss of the operation. All of this is teeth-crackingly stressful for our faves, whose personal revelations are coming in fast and hot as the chase mounts. Anna-Maria and Luc are realizing that their old flame still burns, but… it’s complicated, and made more so by the presence of dumb Lambert, who incites Luc to a level of jealousy that is not a good look on him. Anna-Maria struggles to decide what’s really best for her, and it takes Luc getting shot to make her wise up.

It’s Not Over
This happy ending is not exactly secure. Both Luc and Anna-Maria were injured in the fight, but the final victim in the organ thing was none other than our beloved Viennese curmudgeon, Semmelweis! I screamed when he opened his morgue doors to two assassins who nonchalantly shot him in the chest in an agonizing season cliffhanger. Is this lights out for TV’s greatest medical examiner? We can but wait and see.


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About the author:
Allison Lowe Huff is a freelance writer and editor with an overly concentrated interest in mystery stories from anywhere and everywhere. Follow her on Twitter @lowehuff.