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Series / Flikken

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Flikken was a Flemish police (drama) series, which ran from 1999 until 2009 on Eén. The series focused on a local police team working from the police station at the Belfortstraat in Ghent. The series is a spiritual successor (and an indirect spin-off) of the Flemish police procedural Heterdaad.

The series starts with Britt Michiels, a recent widow, joining the team as a DCI, after her transfer from the federal police in Brussels. She's partnered up with Tony Dierickx, a brass, tomboyish DI, who fell out with so many of her colleagues, that her partnership with Britt is her final chance. The two get off to a rough start, but quickly become best friends, after Britt covers for Tony. The remainder of the team consist of Ben Vanneste, macho motor officer and Tony's arch-rival (and former lover), Selattin "Sel" Atesh, a level-headed motor officer of Turkish descent, who forms a team with Ben, Raymond Jacobs, the most veteran officer on the team (who seems to know (nearly) everyone in Ghent) and Wilfried Pasmans, Raymond's eager and energetic rookie partner, who's often the butt of many jokes in the earlier seasons.


As the series progressed, its cast underwent (serious) changes on a regular basis, to the point that Raymond and Pasmans were the only characters who stayed on the show for the full ten seasons. In the early seasons, this was most prominently seen with the team's commissioners (who merely seemed to last one to two seasons at best). However, from season four onwards, more of the cast was rotated out, as Tony, Sel and Ben left the series in short succession. They were replaced Sofie Beeckman note , Bruno Soetaert note  and Nick Debbaut note  respectively. Around the same time, Merel Vanneste, Ben's (kind and sassy) younger sister, gained a more prominent role in the series and (eventually) became a full-time member of the team after Sofie's death in season five. This event also lead to the arrival of Commissioner John Nauwelaerts, a Transplant from Heterdaad note . Seasons six and seven introduced two more members, Lieselot Winter note  and Tina Demeester note , who both stepped in as replacements for Britt. The last major cast change happened at the start of season eight, following the tragic events of Nick's death at the end of season seven. Besides Nick, Tina, Merel and Bruno left the team. They, in turn, were replaced with Emma Boon note , Cat Reyniers note  and Michiel Dewaele note . Furthermore, from season nine onwards, the team was regularly assisted by Staf Demotte, a no-nonsense CSI, who eventually gets into a relationship with Cat.


The series was also well-known for adhering to a (rather strict) pre-defined structure, when it came to the composition of the team and the treatment of cases. For the first seven seasons, the team would consist of six police officers and detectives, under supervision of a (deputy) commissioner. Throughout this period, the team would commonly operate in three teams of two, based on the specialization of the officers: one uniformed team, one motor unit and one detective team. Most of the episodes would have two or more storylines, divided over the various teams. Often, the A-plot would be either for the detective team or for the motor unit (or both), while the B-plot would fall to the uniformed officers (Raymond and Pasmans) and would be either humoristic or heart-warming in nature. Even though the series shifted from more of an episodic nature to more of a continuous one as the seasons progressed, this aspect remained. After seven seasons, however, this set-up became (somewhat) stale and dated. After a failed attempt to mix things up with a serial killer in season six, the show tried another (more rigorous) retool in season eight, which included consolidating the teams, longer storylines and a change of theme tune. While the show could have jumped the shark at this point, it instead became a major greying-the-beard moment for the series, with season eight becoming the best-watched season of the show. This trend was continued with seasons nine and ten, which were well-watched as well.


The show was immensely popular, both in Flanders and The Netherlands, and characters from the show (such as Britt, Raymond and Pasmans) would make frequent cameos in other series. Due to its popularity, it also became somewhat of an asset for the Flemish police force, who were seen in a more favorable light because of the series (and even celebrated once per year on the series fan day, "Flikkendag"). Despite the enormous popularity, the series was cancelled after ten seasons, due to the (hefty) costs that went into making the series. Nevertheless, Flikken had two (indirect) spin-offs of it's own, Flikken Maastricht and Flikken Rotterdam. It's, furthermore, still occasionally re-run on Eén in Flanders and RTL Crime in The Netherlands

This series contains examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The name of the team's first deputy commissioner, Daniël "DD" Deprez.
  • A Father to His Men: Commissioner John Nauwelaerts quickly became a strict version of this to his team after his introduction near the start of season five. He kept on playing this role throughout the subsequent seasons. Furthermore, one of the members of his team actually turned out to be his (biological) son, cementing this trope even more.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • In the episode hold-up, Tony manages to stall Frank long enough for the cavalry to arrive by repeatedly asking the same question.
      Tony: Are you gonna shoot me, Frank? Are you gonna shoot me with my own gun?!
    • In the season 5 episode "Sofie", Nick manages to resolve a hostage situation (and free Pasmans) through one simple question.
      Nick [to his former friend turned hostage taker]: Are you a murderer?!
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Lieselot Winter and Merel Vanneste were (respectively) Betty and Veronica to Tommy Desmit, who cheated on Lieselot (his wife) with Merel. The two end up getting past it, after they both break-up with him.
    • In the two-parter "Verloren zoon", Emma ends up having a (brief) affair with her former fiancé Mark Devreese, despite being married. In this situation, Mark becomes Emma's Veronica, while Jan is her Betty. The affair comes to an end after Emma discovers that Mark masterminded the case of the week to kill his parents.
  • Bookends: The series as a whole has one of these in the final scene of the last episode. In that scene, Pasmans (who's commissioner at that point) hands his team three cases: one involving a teenager who was knocked of his bike during a hit and run, one involving a stalker who murdered the cat of his ex and one involving a fire at a pitta shawarma joint. These three cases were (not so coincindentally) the three main cases the (old) team handled in the first three episodes of season 1. Handling them all simultaneously, furthermore, shows how much the team has grown since then.
  • Cartwright Curse: Most of the relationships members of the team enter into don't last quite long. Good examples of this are Ben Vanneste's relationship to Karlyn, most of Tony's relationships (in particular with Sam) and even Merel's relationship with Selatin. The only exception seems to be Britt's relationship with Johan, which lasts even past her departure from the team.
  • Coming-Out Story: While it's only briefly treated, Pasmans goes through one of these in season five, where he reveals to the team that he's gay, after his boyfriend, Dominique, enters the station to pick him up for a romantic weekend. This came as a surprise to many, as everyone assumed that Dominique was a girl.
  • Da Chief:
    • Daniël Deprez was this, as he was an understanding and reasonable commissioner, but also a no-nonsense boss, who wasn't above shouting at his team when they messed up.
    • John Nauwelaerts also displayed this trope in spades, as he was strict, but fair, and always had his team's back (even when they messed up). he also had a knack for giving motivational speeches, as well as for lecturing his officers when they stepped out of line.
  • Foreshadowing: Season 9 is chock-full of this:
    • Both the victim and the culprits of the two-parter "Toprendementen" are introduced in the previous two-parter, "Gratuit geweld", as friends of John. Especially John's meeting with the two-parter's victim is of notice, as it lays the foundations for the motive of the case.
    • Patrick de Graeve, the homeless man Michiel donates his lunch package to, is first introduced in the first part of the two-parter "Toprendementen" and is found dead in the second part. His death sets the events of the next two-parter, "Water en vuur", in motion and even turns out to be the motive for the murders in that two-parter.
    • Throughout the season, an elderly lady visits the police station on several occasions to file a missing persons report for her son, a journalist who's traveling abroad for a documentary. The team turns her away on several occasions, until the two-parter "Tot op de bodem", where she brings a befriended medium, who claims that she knows the location of his corpse. When a corpse matching her son's description is, in fact, found at the site the medium pointed them to, the team has to admit they were wrong and investigate the case.
    • The first two-parter of season 10, "Verloren zoon", has a blink-or-you'll-miss-it variant of this trope as well. Within the first two minutes of the episode, a man can be seen in Emma's backyard, who vanishes as quickly as he appears (leaving Emma to think she's imagining it all). Pausing at the right time shows this man to be Mark Devreese, the true culprit (and The Chessmaster) of this two-parter.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: This happens to Tom and Anne, the new recuits who meet their early demise at the start of season 2. They are remembered by the cast for about an episode or two after their death, only to never be mentioned again. The death of Anne, ironically, at least led to Merel joining the police academy (and later on becoming a member of the team in her own right).
  • Frame-Up: Several of these happened to members of the team throughout the series.
    • Tony gets framed for a robbery at an auction house in the season two episode "Hold-up", after an old flame of hers steals her service weapon.
    • Something similar happens to Britt at the start of season seven, when her service weapon is stolen by an old foe out for revenge and used to shoot her husband, Johan. When Britt tries to investigate the case on her own, she gets kidnapped and nearly ends up dead herself.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack:
    • Raymond has one at the Ghent Floral Exposition in the season two episode "Moordschuld", causing him to collapse in the middle of the crowd. He ends up recovering in the hospital in the subsequent episodes.
    • John has one in season eight, brought on by the stress and grief of Bruno's kidnapping. He gets better remarkably quickly.
  • Internal Affairs:
    • The team has various run-ins with the officers of internal affairs throughout season one (much to their displeasure). Furthermore, one of the affairs officers is Kris Geysen, who becomes the team's commissioner in season two (as well as Britt's boyfriend).
    • The team is also investigated by internal affairs in season three (when Ben shoots a criminal in self-defense) and season four (when Raymond is suspected of drunk driving, after (accidentally) ramming a car during a car chase.
  • Kicked Upstairs: This happens to Kris Geysen, the team's second commissioner, after he puts Merel (a rookie cop at that moment) at risk during an undercover operation at the start of season three. He gets transfered to the "Supplies and Equipment" division and, later on, returns as the chief HR officer in Ghent.
  • Long-Runners: The series barely makes the 10 year mark required for this trope.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: In full swing with this series, which replaced most of its cast on a regular basis after season 3. The only two characters to remain on the show for the entirety of the series are Raymond Jacobs and Wilfried Pasmans.
  • Mama Bear: One way to get Britt really angry is to put her daughter, Dorien, in harm's way.
  • Papa Wolf: Ben Vanneste is this with regard to his sister, Merel, who he raised as a daughter from the age of twelve. He's highly protective of her (even to the point of shadowing her) and hates even the notion of anyone dating her (let alone breaking her heart or physically harming her). This is best seen when Sel starts to date Merel (causing a rift between Ben and him) and when Merel decides to become a cop as well (which he all but forbids her to do).
  • Post-Stress Overeating: Tony tends to do this, as shown in the episode "Pickpocket", where she buys (and eats) a waffle with whipped cream out of frustration over having to wear her uniform skirt. She even states that (besides resorting to violence) it's the only way she knows how to deal with her frustration.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Kris Geysen, who was transfered to the "Supplies and Equipment" department after endangering a rookie officer (Merel) during an undercover operation (which he kept out of the books). This is even discussed in the series, when Britt mentions to Tony that he's miserable at his new function several episodes later. furthermore, the events at the start of season eight show that life hasn't been good for commissioner Geysen after his "mistake" in season three.
  • Rank Up: Most of the team went through this after the season eight retool (in order to make all of them detectives). Most notably, Raymond finally became a plain-clothes cop, while Pasmans became DCI.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: Season eight did away with the iconic Flikken theme tune, in favor of a somewhat darker, yet equally catchy, brand-new theme tune.
  • Revolving Door Casting: The series has gone through a lot of (main) cast members over the course of its ten seasons, with only Raymond and Pasmans being present for the entirety of the series. This was, in particular, true for the commissioner of the team, who got replaced thrice in the first five seasons.
  • Retool: The series underwent a major one at the start of season eight, which led to the departure of more than half of the team, a change in narrative set-up (all of the storylines from that point were either season-spanning or two-parters) and a change in theme tune. The series also became notably darker (although this shift had started before the retool).
  • Straight Gay: Pasmans was this to such a degree that most of the team (and most of Flanders with them) never even suspected that he was gay, until he came out in season five.
  • Strictly Formula:
    • The series often had the same build-up throughout the first seven seasons. The team would usually have to deal with two cases simultaneously: one main case and another (often light-hearted and humorous) side case. Ocassionally there would be overlap between the cases or a third (separate) case. This changed after the retool in season 8.
    • The same could be said about the build-up of the team. For the first seven seasons, the team would, without fail, be composed of a detective duo, a motor unit duo and a uniformed duo. Whenever someone left (or got killed), a replacement would show up the very next episode to even things out. this set-up was (also) abandoned from season 8 onwards.
  • The Bus Came Back: Happens several times throughout the series.
    • Tony briefly returns for one episode in season four to say her final goodbyes
    • Ben returns for one episode in season five, after his girlfriend, commissioner Vanbruane, gets beaten into the hospital by a group of teens.
    • Commissioner Geysen returns several times throughout the show: once to promote Merel to DCI in season six and several times more throughout season eight, where he swears revenge on John, after he busts him for a (near-fatal) hit-and-run.
    • Commissioner Nadine Vanbruane returns once more in the two-parter "Ondergravers", as the handler of a federal undercover agent.
    • Britt returns in the series finale for the retirement party of John.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Tony's friend (and short-term lover) Frank turned out to be this, as he was only getting close to Tony to steal her weapon, which he used in a robbery.
    • Emma's ex-fiancé, Mark Devreese, plays this role (almost) perfectly in the episode "Verloren zoon", setting up the events of the episode to frame the people he's in debt to for the murder of his parents, which he commited out of spite (and for the money). If it weren't for Pasmans tying together some lose ends, he would have gotten away with it as well.
  • Tomboy:
    • Tony Dierickx is this to such a degree that she doesn't own a single dress and doesn't want to be seen outside in a standard police skirt. Furthermore, she's physically strong and (relatively) masculine in her demeanor.
    • Sofie Beeckman was this as well, as she was athletic, reckless and an excellent marksman. She, furthermore, could stand her own against most of the guys at the precinct and isn't afraid to engage anyone in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: While Britt is definitely not a standard Girly Girl, she fulfilled this role in both her partnership with Tony as in her partnership with Sofie, where she was the kind and understanding girly girl to Tony and Sofie's tomboy.
  • Tomboyish Name: Tony Dierickx has one, which is (most likely) short for Anthonia.
  • Transplant: Commissioner John Nauwelaerts was the deputy chief of the police team in Heterdaad, before joining the Flikken team in Ghent.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting:
    • This was the standard structure of most episodes throughout the first seven seasons. The team would usually take on a "main case", which commonly went to the detectives (and occasionally to the motor unit). Meanwhile, the uniformed officers (Raymond and Pasmans) would work on the "B-case" of the week, which (often) was a more minor (yet humorous) crime.
    • Most of season six became this by default, due to the serial killer case. Britt would be working on the serial killer case with Robert Nieuwman, while Merel and Lieselot (or occasionally Raymond and Pasmans) would work on the week's "main case". There would often be a third (minor) case as well, either involving the uniformed officers or the motor unit.
  • Up Through the Ranks
    • The first example of this was Merel Vanneste, who was best known as Ben's little sister throughout the first two seasons. She started as a rookie officer at the start of season three, only to end up getting promoted several times, eventually becoming a DCI by the start of season six.
    • Wilfried Pasmans as well, who went from rookie cop in season one to the team's commissioner by the end of season ten.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Happens to Tom and Anne, two new recruits of the team, at the start of season 2. They get introduced properly at the start of the episode (Anne even as a high school friend of Merel), only to be killed within the first ten minutes of the episode. The remainder of the episode revolves around dealing with the fall out of their death (as well as introducing Kris Geysen as the new commissioner).
  • Wham Line: The first two minutes of the two-parter "Tot op de bodem" has one of the best wham lines of the series delivered seconds before the intro theme.
    [The team and the victim's mother quarrel over whether or not the victim is actually missing. The argument gets pretty heated.]
    The befriended medium [at the top of her lungs]: I know where his corpse is!
    [The room goes quiet for several seconds, after which the intro theme plays. The next scene shows the team looking for (and finding) the corpse on location.]

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