Charité (TV series)

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Charité
Charité poster Netflix.jpg
GenreDrama
Created byDorothee Schön
Written byDorothee Schön
Sabine Thor-Wiedemann
Directed bySönke Wortmann (Season 1)
Anno Saul (Season 2)
StarringAlicia von Rittberg
Maximilian Meyer-Bretschneider
Justus von Dohnányi
Matthias Koeberlin
Christoph Bach
Ernst Stötzner (Season 1)
Mala Emde
Ulrich Noethen
Jannik Schümann
Luise Wolfram
Artjom Gilz
Jacob Matschenz (Season 2)
Theme music composerMartin Lingnau
Ingmar Süberkrüb (Season 1)
John Gürtler
Hannah von Hübbenet (Season 2)
Country of originGermany
Original language(s)German
No. of series2
No. of episodes12
Production
Executive producer(s)Benjamin Benedict
Markus Brunnemann
Nico Hofmann
Sebastian Werninger
Producer(s)Henriette Lippold
Michal Pokorný
CinematographyHolly Fink
Editor(s)Boris Gromatzki
Julia Karg
Dirk Grau
Running time45 minutes
Production company(s)MIA Film
UFA Fiction
Release
Original networkDas Erste
Original release21 March 2017 (2017-03-21) –
present (present)
External links
Website

Charité is a German television drama. The first season was directed by Sönke Wortmann, and was written by Grimme-Preis winner Dorothee Schön and Sabine Thor-Wiedemann. The season is set during 1888 and the years following at Berlin's Charité hospital. The series premiered on 21 March 2017 on the German channel Das Erste, and has been distributed in the USA on Netflix since April 2018.

A second series went into production in November 2017, and first aired in Germany in February 2019. This season is directed by Anno Saul and was also written by Schön and Thor-Wiedemann. It is set in the years from 1943 to 1945. The cast was replaced with an entirely new set of actors because of the great time lapse between the seasons.[1] This second series began streaming on Netflix in North America in mid 2019 as Charité at War.[2]

Cast[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Season 2[edit]

Episodes[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1621 March 2017 (2017-03-21)18 April 2017 (2017-04-18)
2612 February 2019 (2019-02-12)19 March 2019 (2019-03-19)

Series 1 (2017)[edit]

Between breakthroughs in medical research and enormous social upheavals in 1888, the Charité is well on its way to becoming the most famous hospital in the world. It is a city within the city, following its own laws and rules. At the beginning of the Wilhelmine Period, up to 4,000 patients are treated annually. Along with the expected injuries caused by the booming Industrialization, patients suffer from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, typhoid and cholera, as well as from sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, there are many medical students, taught at the Berlin University, who are being trained in this famous hospital by the future Nobel Prize winners and most prestigious doctors of the time: Rudolf Virchow, the founder of the modern health care systems, Robert Koch, the discoverer of the tuberculosis bacillus, Emil von Behring, whose work contributed greatly to the healing of diphtheria, and Paul Ehrlich, who developed the first drug against syphilis.

Series
No.
Season
No.
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Reference
11"Barmherzigkeit"Sönke WortmannDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann21 March 2017 (2017-03-21)TBA
With her last strength, poor orphan Ida Lenze drags herself to the Berlin Charité with acute appendicitis, where young staff doctor Emil Behring saves her life with an emergency operation. He's one of the few surgeons who can do the tricky new procedure. Behring applies to work for famed institute director Robert Koch. The eyes of the world are on Koch, who is working on a remedy for tuberculosis, the most deadly disease at the time. However, the job goes to Behring's rival Paul Ehrlich, the Jewish doctor to whom Koch is like a father. Koch needs Ehrlich, who is famous for his work on colorizing cells, more than ever right now because he's at a dead end in his research, and in his marriage as well. When vivacious debutante actress Hedwig Freiberg comes on to the shy scientist, he falls head over heels in love with her. A prominent patient is keeping not only the Charité on edge, but the whole German Empire: Crown Prince Friedrich may have cancer of the larynx. Rudolf Virchow, the Charité's world-famous pathologist, examines him and is relieved: He can find no sign of cancer. Virchow tries to uphold his liberal values in a time of upcoming nationalism. Ida is well again, thanks in large part to the care of med student Georg Tischendorf - but she lost her job as a nanny. To pay for her treatment in the Charité, she has to go to work as nursing assistant.
22"Kaiserwetter"Sönke WortmannDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann21 March 2017 (2017-03-21)TBA

Ida suffers under the strict thumb of Deaconess Matron Martha, making friends with shy young nurse Therese. Therese is attracted to Ida, as is medical student Georg Tischendorf. While Ida's job at the clinic gets her interested in medicine, artistically talented Georg is just studying for his father's sake. Behring tells Ida that women can study medicine in Switzerland - but not in the German Reich - and gives her books to read. Koch has struck up an affair with Hedwig, 30 years his junior, trying to keep his affair a secret. Liberal reformers in the Reich like Virchow hope for a political thaw now that Kaiser Friedrich III has ascended to the throne. But Friedrich is diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. But both the diagnosis and treatment by the surgeons of the Charité cannot save him and he dies after a mere 99 days of reign, leaving his nationalist firebrand son Wilhelm II as the next Kaiser.

When the niece of clinic director Spinola comes down with diphtheria, Dr. Behring saves her life with a tracheotomy, thereby becoming one of Spinola's favorites. Behring convinces Spinola of his revolutionary idea for a diphtheria remedy. Mrs. Spinola and their daughter Else enjoy the young doctor's frequent private calls, as well. Only Ida knows he has to use opiates to keep his manic-depressive mood swings in check. The Charité staff is working around the clock, meanwhile: The new Kaiser Wilhelm II is coming to visit in person! While the Empress embarrasses the scientists with her wisdom gleaned from illustrated magazines, the Kaiser is only interested in Koch's lab and TBC research. The Kaiser promises Koch his own research institute if he can find a remedy by the time of the next World Medical Convention. Koch is speechless, so Bergmann saves the day by announcing that German science will gain "victory" over the French at the upcoming international conference.
33"Das Licht der Welt"Sönke WortmannDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann28 March 2017 (2017-03-28)TBA

Dr. Paul Ehrlich's wife Hedda is ready to give birth, but the midwife can't get the fetus turned the right way. When the child's pulse starts to fade and the situation gets critical, there's only one surgeon left at the clinic who can help: Emil Behring. Dr. Behring saves Hedda's life, but not her son. Meanwhile, thousands of physicians from around the world arrive in Berlin for the World Medical Convention to hear Koch speak: His careful announcement of a possible remedy for TBC causes waves of excitement in the international medical community. But the drug has never even been tested on humans.

Georg Tischendorf wants to marry Ida, even though she may not be socially acceptable for someone of his standing. In order to get his conservative father's approval, he joins a student fencing fraternity. Ida is taken aback by his efforts to do what Wilhelmine society expects of him to become a "real man". When Georg unexpectedly proposes to her, she asks for time to think about it. She confides her feelings for Dr. Behring to Nurse Therese, especially since he encourages her to pursue her medical ambitions even though women aren't allowed to go to medical school in Germany.
44"Wundermittel"Sönke WortmannDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann4 April 2017 (2017-04-04)TBA

Treating contagious cases carries its dangers: Nurse Therese comes down with tuberculosis, and is told to leave the Charité - as is usual - to die in a women's house. But with Virchow's help, Ida convinces matron Martha to allow Therese to remain at the Charité.

Meanwhile, Robert Koch tests his new TBC remedy on himself and his lover, Hedwig. His tuberculine has serious side effects, so Ida is recruited to secretly tend to feverish Koch. She makes friends with Hedwig, who has become a scandal in Berlin as Koch's mistress. Ida can finally talk about her inner conflict with Hedwig: Should she really study medicine in Switzerland rather than get married? Or should she marry Georg and become a doctor's wife? And then there are her confusing feelings for Behring, who is achieving his first successes with his diphtheria serum: He manages to heal infected rabbits. But when he tries to repeat the sensational experiment for his colleagues at the Charité, the demonstration fails. Behring falls into despair. On Ida's urgent encouragement, Koch dares to take the next step with his tuberculine, injecting Nurse Therese as first human patient.
55"Götterdämmerung"Sönke WortmannDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann11 April 2017 (2017-04-11)TBA

News of Robert Koch's "miracle drug" tuberculine travels the world. Berlin is overrun by consumption patients and doctors, who lay siege to the Charité night and day. Koch hopes his breakthrough will finally get him the finances he needs to get a divorce, and marry Hedwig. But the tuberculine fails to heal more and more patients. Therese dies. People start to doubt Koch. Ida blames herself for insisting her friend be treated with tuberculine.

Nevertheless, when nursing assistant Stine comes down with diphtheria, Ida begs Behring to try his untested serum. Hospital administrator Spinola and his daughter Else are witnesses when Behring's remedy actually heals a patient. Admiringly, they realize he's truly a rising star in the medical world. Ida is fascinated by Behring's success, too. She reaches a decision: She will study medicine, even if it seems above her place and unrealistic to her fellow orderly nurses. It's not only her colleagues who are taken aback at Ida's plans. When Georg finally introduces Ida to his father to get his blessing in marriage, Ida tells them she's planning to study to be a doctor. But a wife who "doesn't know her place" is out of the question for Georg and his father.
66"Zeitenwende"Sönke WortmannDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann18 April 2017 (2017-04-18)TBA

Hagenbeck's "Peoples of the World Show" at the Berlin Zoo brings an exotic patient to the Charité: An Indian woman has come down with measles, a disease which has been wiped out in Germany thanks to inoculation. Virchow, the unchallenged star at the Charité again after his triumph over his colleague Koch, is fascinated by anthropology and accepts the patient as an object of demonstration. Nursing assistant Stine keeps her distance from the "cannibal", but the Indian woman's fate doesn't leave her cold as Stine has to care for her. Koch becomes an outcast. Only his closest friends come to his wedding, including Ida and Dr. Ehrlich. Koch's scientific failure also unjustly discredits Ehrlich and Behring's work. No one at the Charité wants to try their diphtheria serum on human patients. It plunges Behring into a deep depression. Ida suspects the brilliant but sensitive man needs a strong woman at his side - and is willing to give up on her dream of studying medicine for his sake.

But when Virchow gives a ringing public endorsement to Behring's remedy, it throws Behring into a manic euphoria, inconsiderate of anyone around him. He takes advantage of his colleague Ehrlich, who is suffering from increasing antisemitic repression, as they negotiate with pharmaceuticals company Hoechst over a deal for the drug. His relationship with Ida also no longer seems useful as he dreams of social climbing, and he becomes engaged to Else Spinola. Ida has worked off her debt to the Charité and is accepted to study medicine in Switzerland.

Series 2 (2019)[edit]

In 1943, more and more patients are admitted into the Berlin Charité due to World War II. The hospital is still considered a focal point for medicine, but the staff is divided since some members do not support the regime while others are staunch followers of the government. One of the most known doctors at the Charité is Ferdinand Sauerbruch, a surgeon practicing there since 1928. He became world-famous in the 1930s by developing innovative surgical techniques which greatly decreased the risks of operations at the time. He was also responsible for inventing new types of prostheses which improved the mobility of the patient's remaining muscle. He seems to become more and more critical of the Nazi regime as World War II progresses which makes him clash with several of his colleagues. One of them is Max de Crinis, a psychiatrist. He is a high-ranking member of the SS who greatly supports the government. Unlike Sauerbruch, De Crinis is also an avid proponent of the country's euthanasia programmes, some of which are carried out at the Charité.

Series
No.
Season
No.
Title Directed by Written by Original air date Reference
71"Heimatschuss"Anno SaulDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann12 February 2019 (2019-02-12)TBA

Anni Waldhausen, a pregnant medicine student, takes her exams. Her professor is Ferdinand Sauerbruch, a surgeon who grew to fame at the Berlin Charité for inventing a surgical technique that prevents amputation of a patient's damaged thigh. Anni does not want to practice medicine before her child is born and focuses on writing a thesis about self-mutilation. Her mentor, Max de Crinis, is head of the psychiatry ward at the hospital and a Nazi official. Anni's husband Artur is chief resident of the children's ward. He tests newly-developed medication on disabled children, something which Anni doesn't know about. Her brother Otto has recently returned from his frontline duty to continue his study of medicine. He gets a job as a clinic clerk and makes friends with Martin, an orderly and former soldier who quickly realizes that Otto's easygoing personality is just an act to hide his severe PTSD.

Paul Lohmann, a soldier and former comrade of Otto who gets treated with Sauerbruch's new form of surgery, is suspected to have shot himself in the leg. Anni wants to interview him for her thesis, but this is prevented by Sauerbruch's wife Margot who wants to protect Lohmann. Otto helps Lohmann by giving a false testimony, but de Crinis creates a psychological profile of Lohmann who ultimately gets accused of Wehrkraftzersetzung, an offense that is punishable by death. Otto gets into a fight with Anni who defends her mentor's behaviour. Anni soon goes into labour and suffers a heavy hemorrhage.
82"Schwere Geburt"Anno SaulDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann12 February 2019 (2019-02-12)TBA

Anni nearly dies due to severe blood loss, but is saved by Sauerbruch. Her daughter doesn't show any life signs, but is successfully revived by the doctors. Anni shares a room with Magda Goebbels who is suicidal because of a recent miscarriage. Artur tenderly cares for Anni while Goebbels' husband is nowhere to be seen. She admits to Anni that her marriage has become nothing more than a façade. In the meantime, Sauerbruch has gotten a new colleague. Adolphe Jung is a surgeon from Strasbourg and has been transferred to Berlin. Together they save a young boy who is seriously hurt. Christel, a nurse and avid Nazi supporter, finds a leaflet of the White Rose that belongs to the patient. She wants to report this, but is convinced otherwise by Otto. Martin witnesses this and realizes that Otto rejects the regime, just like him. Otto finds out that Martin regularly has to report himself to the police, but he doesn't want to tell Otto any details.

All patients have to be brought to the basement due to an air raid. The boy is deemed not suitable for transport, but Martin and Otto carry him down with a makeshift stretcher. Sauerbruch has to perform a second surgery on him because one of his stitches has ripped. Afterwards, Jung tells Sauerbruch about a speech Thomas Mann has delivered in the British radio about the deliberate killings of patients in the Charité. Sauerbruch doubts something like this could happen in the hospital and also denies any rumors about human experiments on disabled people and Nazi prisoners. His son Peter gets taken to the clinic shortly afterwards, Claus von Stauffenberg pays him a visit. At the end of the episode, both Anni and her daughter Karin are allowed to return home. There, Anni is shocked to discover that her child has an increased intracranial pressure that will likely result in a hydrocephalus.
93"Letzte Hoffnung"Anno SaulDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann26 February 2019 (2019-02-26)TBA

Artur punctures Karin's head to decrease the pressure on her brain, a procedure which seems to work fine at first since her head develops normally. Sauerbruch is visited by Karl Bonhoeffer who was de Crinis' predecessor. Bonhoeffer tells him that Hans von Dohnanyi, his son-in-law, was arrested, had a stroke in prison and is now paralyzed from the waist down. He asks Sauerbruch to take him in and protect him to which Sauerbruch agrees. De Crinis wonders whether von Dohanyi is just a malingerer and orders Nurse Christel to watch him at all times. Karin's brain pressure increases again. A desperate Anni and Artur plead with Sauerbruch to perform a potentially life-threatening surgery on their child. Sauerbruch operates on her secretly, but is overwhelmed by the complexity of the surgery. Jung saves Karin by successfully finishing the operation. Artur asks Sauerbruch to keep Karin in the surgical ward since she wouldn't be safe in the children's ward because of his superior Professor Bessau who supports the euthanasia program. Otto is angered by his sister's naiveté and bluntly tells her that children like Karin are usually killed. Anni doesn't believe him, but realizes the truth when she looks at documents about her husband's experiments and discovers that all test subjects are disabled.

On Christmas Eve, Sauerbruch delivers a speech about the humanity and love in medicine. As the beginning tune of Silent Night is played, several staff members such as de Crinis and Nurse Christel change the lyrics and praise the Führer while others sing the traditional song. Otto tells Martin that he fell in love with him. He replies that he loves him, too, but they have to be careful since Martin has already been reprimanded for his homosexuality.
104"Verschüttet"Anno SaulDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann5 March 2019 (2019-03-05)TBA

Karin can return home in January 1944 after her recovery. Käthe, a children's nurse, suspects the true reasons for her hospitalization, but Artur and Anni assert that she fell from her changing table. Artur tells Anni that he got new test subjects, but avoids her when she wants to know more about his experiments. De Crinis keeps trying to prove that von Dohnanyi is not really sick, but Sauerbruch urges him to still wait with creating a profile to which de Crinis grudgingly agrees. Both Dr. Jung and Margot Sauerbruch fear that Fritz Kolbe, the lover of Sauerbruch's secretary Maria Fritsch, is a Wehrmacht spy who gives clinic intel to his superiors. When they catch him taking photographs of documents, he admits that he is actually a member of the resistance and provides the Allies with information. Dr. Jung and Margot offer their support. Margot takes the information and accompanies her husband to Switzerland where he wants to give a lecture and gives the information to a contact person. De Crinis exploits Sauerbruch's absence to declare von Dohanyi a malingerer and gets him arrested again. A woman who had been buried under debris gets admitted. She becomes apathetic when she learns that her missing son probably died. De Crinis say that she suffers from hysteria and orders Otto to prepare her for a euthanasia program. Otto tells Anni about this, but she doesn't seem to care and says that euthanasia programs were just made up by the Allies. A short time later she realizes that an admitted orphan is the woman's son and reunites them.

Karin's brain pressure increases again and she has to be hospitalized. Margot, a children's nurse, tells Professor Bessau about her case who wants to put Karin in a Kinderfachabteilung (which means 'specialty children's department, but is actually a euphemism for a Child Euthanasia program). Anni and Artur can narrowly prevent this when they tell Bessau they will try one final therapy, to which he agrees.
115"Im Untergrund"Anno SaulDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann12 March 2019 (2019-03-12)TBA

There are more and more air raids on Berlin with every day. Because of this, a surgery bunker has been built on the Charité's yard which becomes crowded soon and isn't stocked very well. Von Stauffenberg has returned from his military service in North Africa and got his hand amputated. Sauerbruch wants to provide him with an innovative prosthesis called Sauerbruch-Arm. His injuries are also the subject of Otto's exam questions. He struggles at first, but ultimately passes his test. Karin's therapy is useless which is why Artur wants to put her in the Kinderfachabteilung without Anni's knowledge. Anni can prevent this and tells him she will bring her child to the specialist hospital, but secretly hides Karin in the attic of their house. Artur questions his wife when he learns that Karin never arrived at the clinic, but Anni doesn't tell him anything.

Sauerbruch gets arrested and interrogated after a failed attempt on Hitler's life. Otto gets drafted. Nurse Christel confesses her love to him, but he rejects her. This is why she reveals his relationship with Martin to the police who arrest both. Martin might get sent to a concentration camp while Otto will be released when he says that Martin seduced him.
126"Stunde Null"Anno SaulDorothee Schön, Sabine Thor-Wiedemann19 March 2019 (2019-03-19)TBA

In May 1945, Sauerbruch and his staff have to operate on wounded soldiers and civilians with only a very limited amount of medicine, water and electricity available. Anni and Artur evade each other; Artur wants to save their relationship nonetheless. He notices that an admitted boy is Jewish, but doesn't give him away. The boy's father gives him a Yellow badge which will protect Artur from the approaching Russians as he will come off as an anti-fascist. Artur also helps Anni as she goes off to find food for Karin and Otto who she both hides which improves their bond. Karin is brought to the hospital while Otto stays in his hideout because deserters are still being executed even though the war is almost over. De Crinis is approached by Magda Goebbels who asks him to give her potassium cyanide because she wants to kill herself and her children. De Crinis says he has only two pills, for himself and his wife, and recommend Frau Goebbels to give anestetics to her children to avoid the seing their spasms; shortly afterwards De Crinis and the wife commit suicide upon being blocked by Russian soldiers.

The Russians reach the bunker and hold the medical staff at gunpoint, but don't harm anyone since they know about Sauerbruchs medical abilities which might be useful for them. Otto is shot during one of the last shoot-outs in the streets and bleeding out, but Martin saves him by getting him to the bunker.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "„Charité" Staffel 2 kommt erst 2019 mit neuer Regie – Medizin in Zeiten des NS" (in German).
  2. ^ "Netflix Canada in June 2019: What's coming and going".

External links[edit]