PBS's 'Vienna Blood' set in early 20th century Austria is the perfect show to fill void left by 'Sherlock'

The series will debut on January 19th on CBS and will air over the course of six weeks, with each investigation divided up into two episodes each.


                            PBS's 'Vienna Blood' set in early 20th century Austria is the perfect show to fill void left by 'Sherlock'
Jürgen Maurer and Matthew Beard (BBC/PBS)

The first thing that might strike you about 'Vienna Blood' is how similar it is to Steven Moffat's 'Sherlock', albeit set in early 20th-century Austria. That may not be a coincidence, as series creator Stephen Thompson has written three episodes for 'Sherlock' and he has also worked with Moffat on 'Doctor Who'.

Based on clinical psychologist Frank Tallis's series of books titled 'Liebermann Papers', the show follows Dr. Max Liebermann (Matthew Beard), a student of Sigmund Freud who works with the gruff Viennese detective Oskar Reinhardt (Jürgen Maurer) to solve murders. The show first aired on BBC in November 2019.

Max, who is eager to establish a link between psychology and criminal behavior, uses his upper-class father's connections to be able to shadow Oskar, a bearish detective who barely tolerates Max's presence. The series will debut on January 19th on CBS and will air over the course of six weeks, with each investigation divided up into two episodes each. In the first episode, we see Max -- an English-born Jewish physician who is brought in to help Oskar when a woman is murdered, seemingly by an invisible weapon.

'Vienna Blood's' Max is as cocky as 'Sherlock's eponymous character, at one point cracking a significant clue in the case and telling Oskar, "Welcome to the case, inspector." However, Oskar is no John Watson. Though formidable and seemingly the polar opposite of Max -- in that he openly shows his emotions -- Oskar and Max share quite the bromance.

The show is beautifully detailed and Beard excels in his portrayal of the impassive Max Liebermann. Max is not just focused on his job, we do see a little bit of romance brewing for the man as he breaks off his engagement with a woman named Claire after he starts getting interested in Amelia Lydgate, a woman he met when she was having a psychotic break after looking at a Klimt painting.

While the show might be a little absurd, it's certainly the right show to fill the void that 'Sherlock' has left. Over the six episodes, viewers will also get to see various subplots, such as the advent of better treatment of mental health patients, the rising antisemitism in Austria, and (like on many other shows) the untouchability of powerful men who can seemingly get away with anything.

'Vienna Blood' will air on PBS starting January 19th, 2020.

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