Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / Babylon Berlin

Go To

    open/close all folders 

Berlin Police

     Kommissar Gereon Rath 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bb_gereon.jpg
"Ich bin meinem Bruder hinterher an die Front...und dann allein zurückgekommen." ("I followed my brother out to the front...and then came back alone.")
Portrayed by: Volker Bruch

The show's male protagonist: a vice squad detective newly transferred to Berlin from Cologne in order to investigate a series of underground porn films involving high-level city and national officials.

He fought at the tail end of World War I, serving on the Western Front, where his older brother Anno went missing in action. This left Gereon with severe PTSD that sometimes causes debilitating attacks, which he counters with not-fully-prescribed medication. Since the end of the war, he has been involved with his brother's widow, Helga.


  • Aerith and Bob: He's named after St. Gereon of Cologne and as a result has a rare name virtually unheard of outside of his native region.
  • Anti-Hero: He is a drug fiend who willingly covers up powerful people's perverted behavior, falsifies evidence to save himself, lies in court to cover up his colleagues' violent behavior for personal gain, and as a cherry on top leaves his injured brother to die on a battlefield in France to then seduce his brother's grieving widow.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Gereon of the series is more highly strung out with his drug problem, wartime trauma and unresolved issues with his brother being missing in action. In the novels he's more ambitious about his job and definitely happier.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: While still somewhat abrasive, Gereon is much less of an ambitious and manipulative ladder-climber than in the novels. In particular, the early relationship between Charlotte and Gereon is flipped on its head — instead of Gereon seducing Charlotte to use her as a source of information on a murder investigation, Charlotte is blackmailed by Bruno to inform on Gereon's investigation.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Charlotte, for both being dedicated and noble detectives, but with troubled backgrounds, strained family lives, getting disowned by their own families and finally the fact that they both are Loser Protagonists, Failure Heroes and Heroes With Bad Publicity.
  • Cain and Abel: Gereon and Anno, respectively. Though he tries to hide it, Gereon feels spite for his late brother, in whose shadow he had endure living for most of his life. It becomes especially egregious when it's not only revealed that Gereon has started courting brother's widow, but actually left his injured brother to die on a WW1 battlefield.
  • Comforting the Widow: Gereon is revealed to be having a lengthy affair with the wife of his brother Anno, and at one point sleeps with his widowed landlady.
  • Cool Uncle: For Moritz. They grown so close that even after Moritz mother Helga turns against Gereon and disowns him as her brother-in-law (especially with her husband's and his brother Anno's death that should have severed familial ties with Gereon and his side of the family long time ago), he lets Moritz to stay with him against Helga's insistence to return her son back to her.
  • Cowboy Cop: While Bruno more overtly fits the bill, Gereon himself is one masquerading as a By-the-Book Cop, what with being tasked on destroying evidence of sex crimes and going as far as breaking & entering and starting shootouts to get it done.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Just like Charlotte and Bruno, he's adept at witty repartee.
  • Defective Detective: He's got a drug addiction, mad PTSD, and piles of guilt over what happened to his brother — not to mention his troubled personal life. He's still a damn good investigator and is responsible for solving many of the mysteries in the series.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Gereon is introduced numbing his nervous jitters by downing laudanum.
  • Failure Hero: No matter how well he does his job, the Weimar Republic he lives under will fall and the Nazis will come into power, his personal life will only get worse (the initial love of his life, Helga, leaves him and even disowns him as her relative) and he will fail in administering proper justice due to the crooked higher-ups pulling the strings.From the books... 
  • Functional Addict: He is hooked on laudanum which was prescribed to him for his PTSD, yet he remains a very good detective.
  • Hallucinations: One of the ways that Gereon's PTSD rears its ugly head.
  • Hardboiled Detective: A true Knight in Sour Armor, complete with a genre-appropriate hat and trenchcoat.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: First for his part to choose to scapegoat communists for killing two female civilians during the May Day riots, leading them attempting a Vigilante Execution in the eyes of the Communist Party and later to Helga for his faults she is unable to cope with that leads her to leave him and abort her child she had with him.
  • Hidden Depths: It's established that he's more than just a Defective Detective and Shell-Shocked Veteran in the first episode, when he displays impressive dancing skills and even attempts running up a wall. In general, he's shown to be goofier and more in tune with the current fads than his clean-cut appearance would suggest; had Gereon not gone to war, he might be a much different person.
  • Hypocrite: He gets furiously jealous when Helga leaves him and starts a dalliance with Alfred Nyssen, becoming obsessed with finding out who "A." is and attacking him in a rage when he finds out. This despite the fact that his and Helga's relationship also began with infidelity towards his brother, Anno. He's even self-aware of it, as when Helga swears she has always been faithful to him, he bitterly remarks that "Anno believed that too."
  • Iron Butt Monkey: While very determined to administer justice, nothing goes right for him, nothing, even amongst his family.
  • Loser Protagonist: He's already an unstable Defective Detective with his troubled personal life and it only gets worse for him as Season 3 comes around when the first love of his life leaves him for Alfred Nyssen and even aborted their child they had together and finally his and Charlotte's failure to save Charlotte's friend Greta from execution. For this Trauma Conga Line they had to endure in the third season followed by the stock market crash, their lives are likely over.
  • Morality Pet: Whatever his many (many, many) flaws, his feelings for Charlotte are absolutely genuine.
  • Mr. Smith: When tracking down the men who pretended to be Fritz and Otto, he introduces himself to their family members as "Schneider" (an extremely common German surname) and claims to be from the Nazi Party leadership in Munich.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: He's remarkably apolitical throughout the series. As a Catholic (and within two degrees of separation with Konrad Adenauer), him tending towards the Center Party would be most likely, but in general he doesn't really display strong preferences towards any camp: he's able to work with anyone regardless of political affiliation (whether it's the Social Democrats Bender and Zörgiebel, the decidedly anti-Social Democrat nationalist Wolter or the liberal-leaning Gennat), doesn't take too much offense with his nephew hanging out with the Hitler Youth, but also isn't too keen on throwing the communists under the bus (even though he ultimately relents in that regard). At the end of the day, his loyalty is to his work as a policeman above anything else.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: He's paired with the much older Bruno.
  • Parental Favoritism: He always played second fiddle to his elder brother Anno, who was more or less his parents' favorite child. Needless to say that, when Anno went MIA in the war, it made Gereon's life as the surviving child hardly any easier than before.
    To [my mother], the wrong son came home.
  • Parental Substitute: He's one for his nephew Moritz, as his brother has been missing since World War I.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: He's a war veteran, a competent Cowboy Cop and a devout Catholic.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: As a veteran of the Great War, he suffers severe PTSD and takes laudanum to combat the resulting nervous seizures. He hides this fact from others due to social condemnation of "tremblers."
  • Survivor Guilt: His brother died in the war, but he came back. In the season 2 finale it seems like his brother might still be alive and might in fact be his therapist. Gereon is pretty out of it at that point, though.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Gereon's sanity is cracked to begin with and only gets worse thanks to his therapist, so he's prone to hallucinations — most overtly in the final scene of season 3, when he sees the Leviathan snaking its way through the Berlin sewers.
  • Tragic Hero: For all the trouble he's going through throughout the show, this man needs a hug.
Advertisement:

    Charlotte "Lotte" Ritter 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bb_lotte.jpg
"Seid ihr bekloppt hier oben? Die Toni geht zur Schule! Und dafür gehen wir arbeiten!" ("Are you all touched in the head? Toni goes to school! That's why we go to work!")
Portrayed by: Liv Lisa Fries

The female protagonist, Charlotte is a flapper girl, waitress, typist and part-time prostitute who, largely by her own insistence, begins serving (off the record) as an assistant and informant to Rath and Wolter's investigation. Her main desire is to be the first female homicide detective in Berlin.

She hails from the poverty-stricken slum of Wedding, and largely takes care of the family's finances, since the rest of them are too useless, abusive, young, or sick to contribute.


  • 0% Approval Rating: Amongst her family only, for Ilse's blindness. Even Toni turns against her, signifying how Charlotte had definitely hit rock bottom in regards to her familial relationship.
  • Amateur Sleuth: She manages to get a job as a typist for the homicide division, promptly decides she wants to become a proper policewoman (still something of a rarity at the time), and departs on crime-solving capers that would get anyone else thrown in jail.
  • Big Sister Bully: In Toni's eyes after expressing her Anger Born of Worry of her escapades with her knowledge and permission. This would be a catalyst to Toni disowning her as a Broken Pedestal, exacerbated by Ilse's blindness that Charlotte was supposed to be responsible for.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Charlotte is very protective of her little sister Toni and insists that she should stay in school.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Gereon, for both being dedicated and noble detectives, but with troubled backgrounds, strained family lives, getting disowned by their own families and finally the fact that they both are Loser Protagonists, Failure Heroes and Heroes With Bad Publicity.
  • Black Sheep: The majority of her family sees her as such, despite the fact that she's the breadwinner of the lot. This is finally solidified after she is blamed for her older sister Ilse's blindness and everyone in her family including Toni now absolutely hates her.
  • Broken Pedestal: In Season 3, Charlotte loses the support and faith of her little sister Toni, partly due to the circumstances surrounding their older sister's blindness.
  • Cool Big Sis: She tries to be a positive role model for her youngest sister Toni.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Her grandfather is old and ailing, her mother is dying of syphilis, her brother-in-law is a mean abusive jerk; none of the other adults in the family are employed, and they all live in squalor and take out their frustrations on each other.
  • Easily Condemned: By her family for Ilse's blindness, even Toni hates her. While they were dismissive and at odds with Charlotte before, while relying on her to support them, here Ilse's blindness became the last straw for them to tolerate Charlotte any longer with Toni also turning against her which shows how very low she had sunk in their eyes.
  • Failure Heroine: No matter how well she does her job, the Weimar Republic she lives under will fall and the Nazis will come into power, enforcing the Stay in the Kitchen policy for all female citizens that will clash with Charlotte's feminist pursuits. In addition, by the end of season 3, her family disowns her for her older sister Ilse's blindness and she loses her friends Greta and Vera despite trying hard to save them.
  • Heroine With Bad Publicity: In the police department for her gender and amongst her family out of Slut-Shaming for her part-time prostitution job and later for crippling her own sister Ilse with her efforts to be responsible for the family.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She works as an unlicensed prostitute and she is one of the kindest characters on the show. She only does it to pay her family's bills (and it wasn't uncommon anyway for the time and place).
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: She has shades of this, as she's officially just a typist until the end of the 2nd season but ends up finding quite a few of the clues.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: While very determined in becoming the first female detective in history, nothing goes right for her, nothing, even amongst her family.
  • Ironic Name: Her surname means "knight," a title of nobility and wealth, which is about the furthest from her family's actual situation you could possibly get.
  • Loser Protagonist: She starts the show as a No Respect Guy both in the (sexist) police department and in her family, and has to work part-time as a prostitute to support herself. In Season 3 she loses her friends Vera and Greta, is forced back into prostitution to pay for her sister Ilse's eye surgery which then results in Ilse going blind and Lotte being disowned by her family. For all of this, Charlotte's life is basically over.
  • Morality Pet: For Gereon. His flaws are vast and myriad, but Charlotte brings out his softest, most selfless side, and it's clear he'd do just about anything for her.
  • Naughty by Night: Charlotte's "night job" is working as a prostitute.
  • Sassy Secretary: She starts the show as a typist for the police department and is rarely afraid to talk back to her superiors.
  • Slut-Shaming: She would be subjected to this for her part-time prostitution job, especially amongst her unruly deadbeat brother-in-law Erich and job colleague Bruno Wolter.
  • Tragic Heroine: For all the trouble she's going through throughout the show, this woman needs a hug.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Season 3 does not go well for her. Her two friends, Greta and Vera, are executed and murdered respectively. Charlotte has to resort to prostitution once again to pay for her sister Ilse's eye surgery, but due to only being able to afford a Back-Alley Doctor, Ilse ends up going blind, which causes a major falling out between Charlotte and her family. The only thing resembling solace she gets is the beginning of a romance with Gereon, but given how unstable he is, that might not go too well either. Overall, by the end of Season 3, Charlotte's life— with her friends gone and her entire family hating her— is pretty much over.

    Oberkommissar Bruno Wolter 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bb_bruno.jpg
"Ich hab in Belgien mitgemacht. Und Frankreich."("I was there in Belgium. And France.")
Portrayed by: Peter Kurth

Rath's senior partner and Deputy Chief Inspector of the vice squad. His jovial, boisterous personality hides a more steeled, calculating core. Like Rath, he was deeply affected by his war experiences, but seems, like many veterans, to long to return to the glory days of war with a strong Germany and firmly believes the stab-in-the-back myth. He also takes on Rath's nephew, Moritz, as a protege, teaching him how to shoot.


  • Big Bad Friend: He turns out to be one of the central planners of the Black Reichswehr's coup d'etat. He was also behind the killing of Jänicke, and eventually attempted to ruthlessly murder both Charlotte and Gereon.
  • Dirty Cop: One of the very first things we see him do is covertly pocketing a clip of cash that he finds during the raid of the pornography studio. It is later revealed taking payments from the Madam at the Moka Efti brothel.
  • Dissonant Laughter: Whenever Bruno and Gereon get into a physical fight (which happens repeatedly), it usually ends with Bruno breaking into chuckles. By the end of Season 2, it has veered off into downright Giggling Villain territory.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He might be a murderer, an anti-democratic conspirator, a textbook example of a Dirty Cop and an all-round jerk, but acts as a cool uncle to Gereon's nephew, and even a surprisingly benign blackmailer-cum-suitor to Charlotte.
  • Friend to All Children: Whenever we see him interacting with children on screen, he's genuinely friendly and encouraging towards them, despite his otherwise gruff personality. The fact that they're usually boys with a penchant for military stuff probably helps, though.
  • Karmic Death: He dies in an explosion of the leaking tanker wagon when he lights a cigarette.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: He's a caustic, crooked, sexist, lecherous and distrustful guy (with some pretty unsubtle spite for the Weimar democracy at that), but a reasonably decent partner to Gereon.
  • Old-Fashioned Copper: His violent interrogation and procedural techniques are a sharp contrast with Gereon's more level-headed approach. This is evident from the first episode, where they both interview Johann König; Wolter beats the crap out of him, but Gereon tries to reason with him.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: He gets paired with the much younger Gereon.

    Councillor August Benda 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bb_benda.jpg
"Das Ziel dieser Leute ist nichts Geringeres als die Zerschlagung unserer Demokratie." ("These people seek nothing less than the total destruction of our democracy.")
Portrayed by: Matthias Brandt

A Jewish Social Democrat, member of the Berlin city council, and head of the Political Section of the Berlin Police. One of the few people who seems to wholeheartedly believe in the Weimar Republic and is thus thoroughly disliked on all sides by Communists, Nazis, and monarchists.


  • Cowboy Cop: He fundamentally has the interests of the Weimar Republic at heart, but he's not above underhanded tricks. He agrees to ignore the brutal murders of 15 Soviet dissidents in exchange for information about the Reichswehr's covert activities, and organizes the PR sham playing off a cop shot by his two year old son as a supposed victim of Communist violence.
  • Raised Catholic: Or, in this case, Raised Jewish. He keeps a menora and other Jewish religious keepsakes in a cabinet at home, but he never indicates that he's religious in any way. He plays the organ for his wife's Catholic church and rather brazenly smuggles in a large sausage for Greta to cook once his family leaves on a weekend getaway. Not that the Nazis seem to care.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Benda is the liaison between the Weimar government and the Berlin police. He's a dogged defender of the democratic constitution against extremists of the far right and far left. He has an open ear for the protagonists and though he doesn't always agree with them, he always has reasons to do so.

    Stefan Jänicke 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bb_stefan.jpg
Portrayed by: Anton von Lucke

A young and perceptive detective who begins a flirtation with Charlotte. He lives with his two deaf parents and his keen eyes and ability to read lips often give the police an edge when it comes to sensitive operations. Additionally, he knows shorthand writing.


  • Nice Guy: He's a kindhearted, polite chap. He offers a desperate Charlotte his bed without hesitation and contrasts with his friend at being nervous when approaching women.
  • Nice Hat: When out and about, he usually wears a golf cap (or flat cap) cocked to one side.
  • Reading Lips: He can do this due to being raised by two deaf parents. Benda tasks him with spying on the Black Reichswehr because of this ability.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: He's killed in the second season to show what's at stake for the heroes.

    Reinhold Gräf 
Portrayed by: Christian Friedel

The photographer of the Berlin Police.


  • Ascended Extra: He was a background character in Seasons 1 and 2 before coming much more into the limelight in Season 3.
  • Crossdresser: Gereon meets him as a Lady in Red drag queen at the Hollaender club. He does the same thing at his 40th birthday party.
  • The Lab Rat: We see him several times developing photographs in his darkroom.
  • The Smart Guy: He's by far the most technically-minded detective with the police, quite competent in multiple areas of expertise.
  • Streetwalker: He was one before Gennat recruited him as photographer.
Advertisement:

    Karl Zörgiebel 
Portrayed by: Thomas Thieme

The Chief of Police.


    Ernst "Buddha" Gennat 
Portrayed by: Udo Samel

The director of the Berlin criminal police and Gereon's immediate superior.


  • Big Fun: Friendly, jovial (especially when off duty) and very fond of good food. These traits earned him the moniker "Buddha" within the police department.
  • Historical Domain Character: Like Zörgiebel, he's also an historical character and was one of the most gifted and successful German criminologists of his time.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • While he doesn't turn a blind eye towards disregarding protocol, he knows when to back his subordinates and also when doing everything by the book is uncalled for.
    • He was also quite excited and supportive of Charlotte getting full detective status, and berates Ullrich for pointlessly grilling her on the minute arcana of fingerprint analysis and failing to distinguish details (which are crucial) from trivialities (which are distractions).

Reichswehr

    Generalmajor Kurt Seegers 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kurt_seegers.png
Portrayed by: Ernst Stötzner

An officer serving in the Reichswehr after its downsizing by the Treaty of Versailles. He is not happy with Germany's current state and makes no secret of his desire for a return to the old system. His funding of a rearmament program in violation of the Treaty is something of an open secret.


  • Early-Bird Cameo: He appears quickly in the pilot signing for the train to pass the border. His proper introduction comes in later episodes when he learn he is part of the Black Reichswehr.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: During interrogation, Seegers expresses his contempt for the Weimar constitution, followed with open anti-Semitism against Benda. At one point he asks Benda how one of (Benda's) kind could ever hope to claim to care for Germany's future. It's very obvious that Seegers is referring to Benda's Judaism (and thus insinuating that Benda is not, in fact, a true German) rather than anything else.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The public and the government generally approve of his secretive rearmament programs. It doesn't extend to an attempt at high treason, though.

    Major Anton von Beck 
Portrayed by: Joachim Paul Assböck

Seegers' subordinate and right-hand man.


Advertisement:

    Colonel Gustav Wendt 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/babylon_berlin_wendt2.jpg
Portrayed by: Benno Fürmann

"Ein preußischer Offizier lässt sich nicht kaufen."
"A Prussian officer does not allow himself to be bought."

  • Aristocrats Are Evil: He's seemingly designed to embody the worst images of the Prussian Junker (military elite) noble class, with his hyper-conservative, militaristic, anti-democratic political views, his political cunning and ruthlessness and his willingness to partner with the Nazis and other radical nationalists.
  • Blackmail: He uses Helga's discovery of Zörgiebel's shooting order for the May 1 protests to get him to step down.
  • Big Bad: He comes forward as the main antagonist of Season 3. He's also revealed to have ordered the assassination of Benda.
  • Evil Virtues: He's pretty much immune to bribery, as his character quote indicates. When Stresemann offers him a position in the government as a compromise, he mocks it as a Comically Small Bribe (which it really isn't) and sarcastically demands more and more prestigious positions.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He sports a prominent Dueling Scar on his cheek. These were popular among Prussian nobility in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Nazi Nobleman: Downplayed, as the Nazis are not in power yet, but he's an ultra right-wing Prussian Junker who enjoys taking part in many traditional activities of German nobility, like horseback riding and hunting, and who is collaborating with the Berlin Nazi Party to sow political chaos for a right-wing takeover of the German government. Played more realistically here, as the supremely arrogant Wendt views the Nazis as little more than brutish thugs to be used as pawns for his grand design.
  • Opposites Attract: He transparently flirts with Seeger's hardcore communist daughter.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: A prim and proper antisemite he is.
  • Straight Edge Evil: Subverted. He's immune to the charms of the stock market gambling that leads to the Black Friday, but that's more because this is something for Jews and Americans.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: After Benda's death, Wendt replaces him and plans a massive reorganizing of the police force. He assigns Gereon to head up a new corruption division, but given his involvement in the Black Reichswehr's coup attempt and the fact that the sympathetic Hindenburg appointed him, his motives are by no means pure.

    Alfred Nyssen 
Portrayed by: Lars Eidinger

"Sie sind die Marionette. Einer demokratischen Verirrung, die dieses Land ergriffen hat."
"You're the puppet. Of a democratic delusion that has gripped this country."

  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's a pretty useless dolt for most of the series and seems to suffer from some undefined mental condition, but is the only character on the show who precisely foresees the Black Friday and the breakdown of the stock markets, and has an actionable plan for how to benefit from the fallout.
  • Butt-Monkey: Most of the time in the series, he's being publicly humiliated, getting beaten up, or making an ass of himself.
  • Kavorka Man: He's definitely not a conventionally attractive man, and is generally an indolent dolt, yet attracts multiple conventionally attractive women such as Sorokina and Helga. Though the former was certainly due to Sorokina's ulterior motives.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: A more innocuous example than most. While the Nyssens is a stand-in for the Thyssen family, he isn't modeled after a particular individual of that clan.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He rambles about the Jews controlling the stock markets and how terrible that is.
  • Red Right Hand: He has a prominent birthmark on his face.
  • The Unfavorite: His mother has nothing but scorn for him.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Seegers is using him as a front to import illegal weapons.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Winning the approval of his mother and greater responsibility in the family business is his driving motivation.

    Captain Rohndorff 
Portrayed by: Benedikt Kauff

Seegers' new aide-de-camp and subordinate.


Soviets

    Colonel Trokhin 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bb_trokhin.jpg
"Thank you, comrade, for your service."
Portrayed by: Denis Burgazliev

The Soviet ambassador to Germany. Stalin's government has charged him with hunting down Trotskyists and assisting German rearmament in exchange for military knowledge.


  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Even ignoring his blatantly evil acts, he's still a smug jerk to basically everyone who isn't either an informant or one of his agents.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: He's rather blatant about using his position to engage in shady business. It's especially notable when the police come to arrest him at the rail yard and he indicates a pocket in his coat before smugly saying, "My diplomatic identification."
  • Dirty Communists: A true-believer Stalinist who has no qualms about using any methods — including murder, intimidation and Cold-Blooded Torture — to pursue his leader's interests.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He's utterly baffled by Benda and Gereon's efforts to stop the rearmament of Germany, telling Rath, "I can't understand you; you're working against your own country," despite said rearmament being blatantly against both German law and the Treaty of Versailles.
  • Last-Name Basis: His given name is never mentioned; he is only ever addressed as "Colonel Trokhin."
  • Photographic Memory: He claims to recognize Charlotte at the Moka Efti due to his photographic memory. Charlotte manages to bluff her way out.

    Svetlana Sorokina / "Nikoros" 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/svetlana_sorokina.png
Portrayed by: Severija Janušauskaitė

A Russian socialite who performs as a singer named Nikoros. She is at the center of many of the series' varied crisscrossing plotlines.


  • Adaptation Deviation: She's not a cross-dresser in the novel, instead simply performing under the stage name "Lana Nikoros".
  • Alliterative Name: Svetlana Sorokina.
  • Crossdresser: She performs in drag as the singer Nikoros.
  • Fake Aristocrat: It's revealed that "Countess" Sorokina is merely posing as the heiress of a murdered noble family while she was only the daughter of the chauffeur.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: She wastes no time selling out the entire Trotskyist Cell to Soviet agents (thus killing most of them) and getting away with it. Then she visits Nyssen. Nyssen attempts to furiously reject her, but is seduced once more by her charms.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: She sports this look in her "Nikoros" persona as befitting a Bolshevik agent.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Her stage name "Nikoros" is "Sorokina" spelled backwards. Gereon realizes this after seeing her poster in the mirror, although nothing comes of it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite the major cliffhangers regarding her and Kardakov at the end of Season 2, she is never mentioned in Season 3.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: She often proves pretty good at thinking on her feet. Most notably, she covertly switches the train carts numbers so only she knows the right one, and manages to talk Kardakov down from killing her with a quick bit of improvisation, despite him being correct about her being the traitor.

    Alexei Kardakov 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/alexei_kardakov.png
Portrayed by: Ivan Shvedoff

"Lang lebe Trotsky! Nieder mit Stalin!"
"Long live Trotsky! Down with Stalin!"

A Trotskyist revolutionary attempting to overthrow Stalin as the leader of the Soviet Union. His day job is a violinist at the Armenian's Moka Efti club.


  • Determinator
  • Rebel Leader: Leader of the Berlin cell of Trotskyist revolutionaries.
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: He witnesses the brutal murder of everyone in his revolutionary group, swims through raw sewage, is stabbed by a vagrant, is chased naked through the streets of Berlin, falls onto a barge and dislocates his ankle, is betrayed and then shot at point-blank range by his former lover, has his ankle painfully set by a Morally Ambiguous Doctor, and nearly dies from inhaling phosgene gas. And he is alive and kicking at the end of Season 2 when he visits Sorokina in Paris.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the novel, he killed himself in the prologue after being captured and tortured for the location of the gold.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite the major cliffhangers regarding him and Svetlana at the end of Season 2, he is never mentioned in Season 3.

Berlin's Underworld

    Edgar Kasabian, "The Armenian" 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_armenian.png
Portrayed by: Mišel Matičević

"Ich brauch eine 'Verbindung' zur Polizei nicht. Mir gehört die Polizei."
"I don't need a 'connection' to the police. I own the police."

An organized crime boss who appears to have a monopoly on Berlin's underworld. He takes opportunities as they come and always tries to twist it to his advantage.


  • Adaptation Deviation: He's roughly equivalent to the German Ringverein boss Johann Marlow from the novels.
  • Blackmail: He keeps compromising film reels in his safe which he uses to blackmail public figures including the Lord Mayor of Cologne Dr. Konrad Adenauer.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Despite being referred to primarily as "the Armenian," he speaks German with no foreign accent, and we don't even hear him speak Armenian (or get to know his Armenian-sounding name) until Season 3. However, him being among Anno Rath's PTSD-suffering World War veterans indicates that he fought in the German army and has probably grown up in Germany.
  • The Don: The parallels to Vito Corleone are obvious.
  • Evil Virtues: He may be a crime boss who doesn't shy away from doing abhorrent things to achieve his goals, yet he genuinely loves his wife Esther and cares for Weintraub.
  • Fur and Loathing: A staple of his wardrobe is a mink collar coat.
  • Hand Signals: He gives orders predominantly via hand signals.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Walter Weintraub, who is also his partner in both legal and illegal enterprises.
  • Love Triangle: His best friend and partner in crime Weintraub is actually in love with his wife, Esther, who loves them both. After Kasabian learns of this, he wants Weintraub out of the house. However, Esther ends up convincing both men that the three of them belong together.
  • Mysterious Protector: He repeatedly protects or refuses to kill Gereon on several occasions for inscrutable reasons. It is later revealed that he is indebted to Gereon's assumed-dead brother, Anno/Dr. Schmidt, for helping to cure his crippling PTSD.
  • Race Name Basis: He's only referred to as "the Armenian" by everyone except Dr. Schmidt, who uses his given name, Edgar. His last name, Kasabian, isn't revealed until Season 3.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: He claims that he owns the Berlin Police.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: A favorite tactic of his. He cuts out a cheating mobster's tongue and feeds it to his own brother in his Establishing Character Moment, and later threatens to chop up and butcher Charlotte if she doesn't cooperate.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: He's a World War I veteran with PTSD and was only made functional again by Dr. Schmidt's treatment.

    Walter Weintraub 
'''Portrayed by: Ronald Zehrfeld

The Armenian's best friend and business partner. Introduced in Season 3.


  • Ambiguously Jewish: There's nothing stereotypically Jewish about him except his name.
  • The Dragon: To The Armenian. He is notably nastier and more prone to violence.
  • Frame-Up: He is framed for the Phantom murders.
  • Knife Nut: He carries a distinctive switchblade and likes to use it.
  • Taking the Heat: He took the blame in The Armenian's for unknown crimes a year before the series began, which was decided by a coin flip. He is introduced in Season 3 by being released from prison. Esther later reveals that the coin Weintraub used was rigged.

    Saint Josef 

The Armenian's right hand.—-

  • Sinister Minister: He is the Armenian's mob enforcer who goes by the nickname "Saint Josef" (and may or may not actually be an ordained priest). He generally struts around town in a Catholic habit and biretta clutching a rosary, delivering threatening messages in the name of his Boss and Dr. Schmidt.
  • Tattooed Crook: The fact that he is a criminal rather than a legitimate minister is revealed by the tattoos visible on his hands, and he's actually covered with tattoos.

    Dr. Schmidt 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dr_schmidt.png
Portrayed by: Jens Harzer

  • Ambiguously Evil: He has connections to the underworld, but doesn't actively commits crimes himself and makes an effort to help Gereon to overcome his PTSD with his therapy.
  • Big Good: The closest thing the series has to one as he has patients from both sides of the law and his therapy helps to stabilize the systems in both the crime world and the police through the crime lord Edgar Kasabian and the show's protagonist Gereon.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Half of his face is covered in heavy scars which look like he was burned or seared.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: It's unknown whose side he's on due to being acquainted with the underworld who recruit him for his assistance on several occasions, but if he's on Gereon's side, at least he's the glue to keep the key characters under his care regardless if from either opposite sides of the law from completely falling apart and having their occupations jeopardized by their personal trauma.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Depending on the viewer's perspective due to his connections with the criminal underworld. But falls in line of Ambiguously Evil as his malice is currently unconfirmed.
  • Herr Doktor: A German doctor with a common German name wearing metal rim glasses while using suggestive therapy on people.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: He's been known to employ the services of "Saint Josef" and conduct his shellshock treatment experiments on a drugged and kidnapped Gereon. Then again, he later reveals himself to be Gereon's long-lost brother Anno, so Gereon might have just been an exception.
  • One Degree of Separation: To a rather suspicious degree, Dr. Schmidt is the shared connection between a variety of characters and subplots.
  • Science Wizard: A rare case in a reality-grounded show. Initially, we get to know Schmidt as a psychologist or psychotherapist who works with World War I veterans suffering from PTSD, but we later discover that he's also a hypnotist (which is entering a grey area) and holds seances (which are completely bogus). Justified Trope however, since these sciences were fairly novel at the time, and someone enterting such an ill-reputed field would also have been more willing to try dabbling in occultism.

    Franz Krajewski 
Portrayed by: Henning Peker

"Die machen mich platt, Mann!"
"They'll ice me, man!"

  • Addled Addict: Gereon finds him in a drug den brewing some drug from the scrapings of the wall plaster.

Other

    Samuel Katelbach 
Portrayed by: Karl Markovics

Gereon's temporary co-tenant. An Austrian reporter who emigrated to Berlin and works on exposés about right-wing conspiracies.


  • Adaptational Name Change: He's named Weinert in the novels.
  • Adaptational Nationality: He's a German national in the novels.
  • Intrepid Reporter: He's been investigating the police cover story for the May Day riots involving the officer who was shot in the leg. He discovered that the officer's son was responsible for shooting him, accidentally. Later on the trolley, Gereon reads an alarmingly accurate story regarding the Black Reichswehr written by Katelbach. In the third season, he publishes a major expose on German defense cartels actively aiding illegal rearmament, and becomes a top target of the Secret Police.
  • Funny Foreigner: He's an erudite, yet undeniably eccentric Austrian academic.
  • Mr. Exposition: He explains the communist infighting to Gereon.

    Elisabeth Behnke 
Portrayed by: Fritzi Haberland

Gereon's land lady.


  • Amateur Sleuth: She begins actively participating in Gereon's and Katelbach's investigations into the Black Reichswehr conspiracy in the third season.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She initially pursues Gereon in the first season before Helga arrives, and seemingly begins pursuing Katelbach in the third season, encouraging him to settle down.
  • Widow Woman: She reveals that she's a war widow, and often wears black dresses.

    Anno Rath 

Gereon's long lost brother.


  • Aloof Big Brother: He was this to Gereon. When Anno went MIA in the war while Gereon was the one who made it back home, their parents were supposedly very disappointed.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: We are told that he was injured and captured by the French in World War I, but nobody has heard from him since. In the last episode of Season 2, Dr. Schmidt reveals himself to Gereon as Anno and both embrace.
  • Legally Dead: After he went MIA in WWI, he was officially declared dead in 1929, which meant that his wife Helga and Gereon could finally pursue an open relationship.

    Dr. Völcker 
Portrayed by: Jördis Triebel

"Unser Blut KOCHT, Herr Zörgiebel!"
"Our blood is BOILING, Mr. Zörgiebel!"

A welfare doctor and district councilwoman for the Communist Party.


  • Back-Alley Doctor: Subverted. She spends her time providing free or discounted medical services and consultation for Berlin's slum districts, but is competent at her job. When she is imprisoned in the third season, it is implied to be a significant setback to Berlin's poor, as Charlotte is forced to seek out much sketcher doctors to treat her sister's eye condition.
  • Chummy Commies: She's a die-hard communist, but is nonetheless a sympathetic Jerkass Has a Point Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Dr. Jerk: She's a welfare doctor and can be extreme when it comes to her communist cause.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With her cellmate Greta after having her tortured once first meeting her in the mess hall.
  • Gender Flip: She's male in the novel.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Being a hardline communist, one's classification of her as "good" may vary, but she is consistently portrayed as having certain principles and several correct or sympathetic opinions. Nevertheless, she is more than willing to resort to violence if she believes it justified, being willing to assassinate Gereon and have Greta beaten in prison in retaliation for committing perjury framing the communists.
  • Hero Antagonist: Towards Gereon and Greta for scapegoating the communists for crimes they did not commit, though after the latter confessed to her in private, she forgives her.
  • Iron Lady: Especially when it comes to her Communist cause for her fellow Germans' best interests and condemning the corruption of the country's unhelpful system that she's both deeply passionate about.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While a Dr. Jerk, she does care for her fellow Germans and became Fire-Forged Friends with Greta, forgiving her for reluctantly scapegoating the Communist Party for Benda's death due to her baby's life being threatened.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: When Gereon perjures himself by blaming the communists for killing two female civilians during the May Day riots, Völcker and several toughs attempt a vigilante execution against him. He is only saved by the timely intervention of The Armenian.
  • Rabble Rouser: She returns (in the wake of the police gunning down two unarmed women) to rile up a demonstration right in front of the police headquarters.
  • Secret Keeper: Greta ultimately confesses to Völcker the real reasons she recanted her testimony to finger the communists instead of the Nazis for Benda's assassination on the eve of her execution.

    Toni Ritter 
Portrayed by: Irene Böhm

Charlotte's little sister.


  • Blame Game: Blames Charlotte for what happened to Ilse in Season 3, prompting her to spitefully disown the former as her sister for failing to properly commit to the familial responsibilities.
  • Death Glare: Started to give these to her Broken Pedestal of a sister Charlotte following their disagreements on how she makes a living that Charlotte disapproves and finally Ilse's blindness which earns Toni's spiteful hatred.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Toni is foremost a male name. Possibly it's short for "Antonia".
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Sure Toni disowning Charlotte as her sister after viewing her as a Broken Pedestal just for a mistake against their other sister that Charlotte did not mean to cause can be somewhat unfair, unjust and cruel, especially during when Charlotte was suffering herself like going to back to prostitution in a much more degrading and humiliating job then before by engaging in a explicit sex show in a back alley brothel for a High-Class Glass-wearing Dirty Old Man of an Old Soldier and how she lost her friends Greta and Vera, but given before it came to that, a couple episodes earlier Charlotte one night started to act like a Big Sister Bully who slapped Toni (after being found sleeping outside of their apartment without no-one to let her inside until Charlotte came back) just for disobeying her, haranguing her and ordered her to return the pet birds she bought out of saving their financial budget they have to live on without caring for her own reasons. Also, Toni discovers how Charlotte had been keeping secrets from her, including the letter written by her mother, it is any wonder Toni would start to question her trust in Charlotte and doubt her Big Sister Worship after finding this out? While on Charlotte's side was out of her Big Sister Instinct and Adult Fear for Toni leaving her in the dark and finding out how Toni was about to undergo a career to support herself similar to Charlotte's life in prostitution, it was still inexcusable to reacted by exploding in Anger Born of Worry at Toni for not following the rules she laid out instead of trying to be understanding and patient with Toni when expressing her Adult Fear for her. For Charlotte's Jerkass Ball that is only exacerbated by Ilse's blindness that makes her look like a Hypocrite in contrast to being a responsible breadwinner that she tried to make out to be, Toni has every social-wise right to become bitter and hostile to Charlotte and makes her disowning of her understandable.
  • I Have No Son!: Or rather sister, as she storms out of Charlotte's life after blaming her for what happened to their older sister Ilse's blindness not to mentioned her own dishonesties towards the latter earlier, absolutely hating her and spitefully disowning Charlotte as her sibling.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season 3, when she goes from a supportive Children Are Innocent-type character with a Big Sister Worship to a self-righteous and spiteful Bratty Teenage Daughter who sees one of her sisters whom she once looked up to as a Broken Pedestal.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: In the first two seasons, she was a sweetheart of a little sister with a Big Sister Worship for Charlotte, that's before she sunk to the level of a Bratty Teenage Daughter who lost all faith and respect for the same sister in Season 3.

    Marie-Luise Seegers 
Portrayed by: Saskia Rosendahl

—-

  • Rebellious Princess: Despite being the daughter of a high-ranking general from the Junker aristocracy, she is a hardline communist.
  • Spirited Young Lady: She's proficient in several musical instruments and will reluctantly participate in high society events with her father, but prefers to spend her spare time working at Red Aid with Hans Litten to help provide legal defense for the poor.

    Greta Overbeck 
Portrayed by: Leonie Benesch

Charlotte's childhood friend, who's fallen on hard times and starts the show homeless and begging for work.


  • Acquitted Too Late: Despite a court order that her execution is to be stopped, she is executed in the women's prison.
  • Butt-Monkey: Nothing ever goes right for her. This woman needs a hug.
  • Childhood Friends: With Charlotte.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: She had a son in 1929 that she put up for adoption after her child's father left her.
  • Meido: She ends up getting a job as a maid for the family of Councilor August Benda .

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report