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Series / Professor T.

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The modern day Hercule Poirot, although he doesn't like to be called that.

Professor T.note  was a comedic Flemish crime drama which ran from 2015 to 2018, starring Koen de Bouw as the eponymous Professor Teerlinck.

Jasper Teerlinck is a brilliant professor in the field of psychological criminology, as well as one of the more popular lecturers at Antwerp University. He's an eccentric man, however, who almost completely lacks any social skills and trades in common social conventions for telling people the (harsh) truth straight to their face, regardless of who they are. This has left him with a (very) selective group of people who can stomach his eccentricities on a daily basis. When a young female student gets raped on campus, the professor gets called in by federal inspector Annelies Donckers, one of his former students (and a secret admirer of his). She sees a connection between the current rape case and a cold case from ten years ago. While Professor Teerlinck initially isn't very keen on helping his former student, he eventually relents and becomes an advisor for federal police in Antwerp. There, he's confronted with a variety of interesting (and complicated) criminal cases, which he tends to use as (examples of) case studies in his lectures.


Besides Annelies, the professor is supported in his investigations by Daan de Winter, Annelies's partner, Paul Rabet, the DCI who's in charge of Annelies and Daan (and who initially hates the professor's guts), and Christina Flamant, the team's commissioner and an old flame of the professor. Both Daan and Annelies eventually leave the team and are (respectively) replaced by John van Humbeek, former gendarmerie, and Saskia Vogels. On the academic side, Professor Teerlinck gets help from miss Ingrid Sneyers, the faculty's head secretary, and Walter de Paepe, the faculty's dean (and a bit of a father figure to Jasper). He furthermore gets regular visits from his mother, Adelinde van Marcke, who tends to be both overprotective and under-involved with her son.note 


As the series progresses, both Professor Teerlinck and the viewer find out more about the professor's eccentricities and their root cause, which lies with the death of his father. Furthermore, the professor seems to be affected mentally by the cases that he helps solve, much to his own distress. This eventually leads to his voluntary admission in a mental institution, for awaiting (and nearly undergoing) his own murder at the hands of a psychopath. After his release from the institution, Professor Teerlinck (rather unwillingly) continues to visit his psychiatrist, dr. Helena Gijselbrecht, who tries to work with him on conquering his phobias (his germophobia in particular). This all ends when Professor Teerlinck ends up shooting a (corrupt) DCI as a means to protect Christina, with all of the unpleasant consequences. Nevertheless, Professor Teerlinck continues to solve cases, even from his jail cell, and is eventually acquitted. After his release from jail, Jasper decides to face his demons once and for all and starts an investigation into his father's death, which lead to rather astonishing developments.

The series itself is quite comparable to other crime dramas that involve academic advisors, such as Perception and NUMB3RS, but adds quite a bit of humor as well. The series shows the clearest comparison with Perception, however, as Professor Teerlinck is prone to seeing things that aren't real, similar to Daniel Pierce. It ran for a total of three seasons and was immensely popular in Flanders. Moreover, several foreign adaptations of the series have been developed under the same name. It aired on Eén in Flanders, RTL Crime in the Netherlands, Channel 4 in the UK and PBS in the US.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: The victim of the episode "Dubbel leven" was shoved by his father during an altercation and died after falling with his head on a sharp corner.
  • Action Girl: Both Annelies and Saskia would fall under this trope, as they are the more action-oriented members of their team (compared to Daan and John).
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episode "Residentie Zilverspar" was this for miss Sneyers, who becomes the professor's sidekick (or vice versa) throughout the episode.
  • Almighty Janitor: Miss Sneyers applies for this trope, as she keeps the faculty running despite the professor's antics, which allows her to get away with her Deadpan Snarker attitude as well.
    Professor Teerlinck [about miss Sneyers in the pilot episode]: Miss Sneyers is invaluable for the proper functioning of the entire faculty of law. The only problem is that she's aware of that as well.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The episode "De maskermoorden" had Peter Catrysse, a proscecutor with an interest in younger women, who committed incest to his stepdaughter.
    • "De zaak Seynaeve" revolved around the murder of Victor Vermaelen, a wealthy man who raped his cleaning lady for being a kleptomaniac. This act directly caused his death, as the cleaning lady took revenge.
    • "De jaartalmoorden" revolved around a series of killings committed by a psychopath. All of these killings were instigated by the victims years ago, in some cases through extremely depraved acts. The first two victims, in particular, sexually abused and publicly humiliated the victim respectively.
    • All of the victims in the episode "Hartstocht" were murdered for concealing a medical error, which caused the death of a young girl.
    • The victim of the episode "Het congres" was killed, because he used a heriditary disease of one his colleagues against her to become the dean of the faculty.
    • DCI Serge Lauwers from the episode "Zwanenzang" was a dirty cop, who pretended to be in love with Flamant to gather information from her computer. He was eventually shot dead by the professor.
    • Ludo Govaerts from the episode "Het geluk van anderen" was a corrupt prison guard, who was universally hated in the prison he worked at. When professor Teerlinck interviewed his fellow cell mates for their motive, the line spanned the entire cell block. In the end, another guard did him in for selling drugs to his son.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: John van Humbeek, who was part of the (former) gendarmerie, before joining the federal police. One of professor Teerlinck's imagine spots, when John is introduced to him, even points this out.
  • Beleaguered Assistant:
    • Nearly everyone who works with Professor Teerlinck falls victim to this from time to time: miss Sneyers, Annelies, Daan, John, the dean, etcetera. Even people who don't usually follow his, like DCI Rabet and Christina Flamant, occasionally give into the professor's demands, when the plot requires it.
    • One of miss Sneyers colleagues, Connie, is this to miss Sneyers.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Throughout most of the first season, professor Teerlinck's mere presence was one for DCI Rabet.
    • More specifically, talking (badly) about his deceased daughter or his alcohol addiction tends to tick Rabet off.
    • You also shouldn't come between Rabet and his wife/granddaughter, as DCI Fouchet learned.
    • For Walter de Paepe, treating Adelinde with disrespect is a sure-fire way to make him lose his temper.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Walter de Paepe might be the kindest dean in the history of Flemish television, but he went as far as staging a suicide to cover up a murder, in order to protect his loved ones.
  • Brutal Honesty: This is professor Teerlinck's trademark. He always speaks his mind, even to the judges who are preciding over his murder case in court.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Professor Teerlinck is one of the most brilliant minds in his area of expertise. He, nevertheless, lacks any urge to conform to any social conventions, which makes it hard to work with him. Moreover, He's severely traumatized (mentally), which causes him to behave quirky (and, occasionally, erratic).
  • By-the-Book Cop: John van Humbeek, to the point that he reported a corrupt colleague at the gendarmerie (which got him transfered). He does the same thing when he finds out DCI Lauwers is corrupt as well.
  • Cain and Abel: Several cases had this as a theme
    • The episode "De nalatenschap" revolved around a bussiness mogul faking his own death to re-unite his two sons. One of the two stayed loyal to his father after his mother's death, the other turned away from him. Professor Teerlinck even mentions the trope:
      Professor T.: It's like Cain & Abel and Hamlet all turned into one.
    • The two-parter "De troonopvolger" had two criminal brothers who ran a cocaine traficking ring in Antwerp. As per trope, the bad brother betrays the good one and tries to get him (falsely) convicted for murder, while he takes over the lead for the drug traficking ring. The episode even contains a scene where the passages of the bible about Cain and Abel were read aloud by one of the professor's fellow prisoners.
  • Catchphrase: The professor tends to say "Da's interessant" ("That's interesting") nearly once every episode, usually to deflect an unpleasant conversation (or as an "Eureka!" Moment).
  • Celeb Crush: When Annelies moves back in with her father (to take care of him), it's revealed to Daan (and the viewers) that she used to have a major crush on (one of) the Backstreet Boys. Daan teases her with this crush for the remainder of the episode. It was already hinted at that she liked the Backstreet Boys earlier on, as her ringtone was "Everybody".
  • Clear My Name:
    • The professor himself is briefly a murder suspect in the episode "Tamara". He gets cleared rather quickly and eventually helps solving the murder.
    • DCI Rabet becomes the prime suspect in a double homocide case in the episode "Katvanger"
    • The second part of the two-parter "De troonopvolging" revolves around professor Teerlinck's attempt to clear one of his fellow prisoners of a murder charge.
  • Clueless Mystery: Most of the episodes only reveal the crucial bits of information at the end of the episode, with very few hints throughout the episode. The professor usually knows who the killer is long before the ending, but keeps quiet (to the frustration of the inspectors at the federal police).
  • Cool Teacher: Professor Teerlinck is absolutely adored by his students, even if he brings one or two of them to tears from time to time.
  • Cop and Scientist: Annelies and Professor Teerlinck initially, but he becomes closest to John after Annelies leaves the force.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Miss Sneyers provides her commentary on Professor Teerlinck and the dean in this manner.
  • Defective Detective:
    • Jasper Teerlinck himself, who has several psychological issues due to an unresolved childhood trauma.
    • DCI Rabet, who became an alcoholic after the death of his daughter.
  • Detective Mole:
    • DCI Serge Lauwers, who's in league with drugslord Mark Desmedt.
    • DCI Rabet pretended to be one to infiltrate Mark Desmedt's drugs network.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • DCI Serge Lauwers definitely applies, as he worked together with the people he was supposed to put in jail.
    • Ludo Govaerts, a dirty prison guard, was responsible for most of the drugs deals within his prison.
  • Dramedy: This show falls into this category, as it strikes a fine balance between humoristic moments and intense drama.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • DCI Serge Lauwers was introduced as Christina's new boyfriend, before becoming a key character in the two-parter "Zwanenzang"
    • Several culprits from season 1, such as Dany Vangenechten and Johan Vermarcke, return as supporting characters in season 3.
  • Extreme Doormat:
    • Walter de Paepe, the dean of the faculty of law, falls within this category, as he's far too kind and patient to be professor Teerlinck's boss. This only becomes worse when he's around the professor, as he always tends to be overruled by him.
    • Daan de Winter also fits the trope, as he follows Annelies's lead most of the time and gets bossed around by her often. One of the episodes even addresses this.
    • Connie, miss Sneyer's colleague, fits the trope as well, as she gets bossed around by miss Sneyers constantly without giving a peep.
  • Faking the Dead: The victim of the episode "De nalatenschap" attempted to fake his own death to unite his two sons as his successors. Unfortunately, his accomplice decided to kill him off for real after faking his death.
  • Fake Fabric Fashion Faux Pas: In the episode "Diamant", professor Teerlinck ends up at the hospital after slipping and breaking his leg at a local (indoor) swimming pool. He leaves the hospital shortly after, but has to leave behind his clothes in favor of an incredibly tacky (90's) tracksuit. He spends the remainder of the episode solving the case in that track suit.
    Commissioner Mus: I have to admit, you're problem solving capabilities are far superior to my own.
    Commissioner Mus: But that has to be the ugliest tracksuit I've ever seen.
  • Former Teen Rebel: While they were in college at the time, (most of) the members of "the footsies" from the episode "Onvoltooid verleden" became this as they grew older. During their college, "the footsies" were an (anarchistic) hippie movement, who protested against the man. As they became older, most members became wealthy bussiness men (or influential citizens) themselves. The only exception was Max Reynders, who ended up stuck in his hippie ways. The trope is even lampshaded by the professor during the episode.
    • This trope furthermore applies to professor Teerlinck and Christina Flamand, as they were both members of "the footsies" as well.
  • For Science!: The culprit of the episode "Dakloos" performed medical experiments on the homeless in his care, which led to the death of two of them.
  • Functional Addict: DCI Rabet was this at the start of the show, due to his alcoholism. He sobers up halfway through the season and becomes fully functional as a team leader again
  • Frameup:
    • The killer of the episode "De hotelmoord" wanted to frame his old high school teacher for the murder of his wife's lover. He might have succeeded without the professor's involvement.
    • The episode "Katvanger" had a murderer who committed a double murder after falsifying his alibi. He then tried to pin the blame on DCI Rabet.
    • The two-parter "De troonopvolger" had the murderer frame his brother for the murder, to take over his drugs imperium.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Dr. Gijselbrecht had two puppets represent these in an Imagine Spot professor Teerlinck had in the episode "Dode meisjes zingen niet".
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Refered to word-by-word by miss Sneyers in the episode "De zaak Seynaeve"
    Miss Sneyers [to Professor Teerlinck]: This is the part of every police series where the good cop and the bad cop grill the suspect
    [looks at professor Teerlinck]
    Miss Sneyers: You can be the good cop, I will play the bad cop.
  • Guys Are Slobs: Inverted with Annelies and her partner Daan/John. At the station, Annelies is the one with the messy desk, while Daan and John are well organized.
    John [to DCI Rabet, after Annelies cleared out her desk]: Did you know there was an entire desk in this corner.
    Rabet [Jokingly]: No, I always thought we only gave her half a desk.
  • Handshake Refusal: Due to his germaphobia, the professor refuses to shake hands with anyone, even when he's wearing latex gloves.
  • Hates Being Touched: Professor Teerlinck, to the point that he refuses to shake hands even with latex gloves on. He loses this trait bit by bit as the series progresses.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: How Johan Vermarcke sees his friendship with professor Teerlinck. It's not entirely certain that the professor regards him in the same way, but the two definitely became good friends in prison.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold:
    • Tamara Vriendts, the callgirl who saw the professor on a platonic basis, would count as this.
    • Femke Lesage, Tamara's friend, would count as well, as she genuinly cared about both Tamara and Stefaan Daneels.
  • Imagine Spot: Used as a plot device in nearly every episode to convey either humor (Miss Sneyers playing a didgeridoo to bring a tired professor Teerlinck to sleep (and failing)) or drama (All of the heart-broken suspects in a case singing together to mourn the loss of a child).
  • In Prison with the Rogues: Happens to Jasper Teerlinck after he shoots DCI Lauwers. Several perps from previous seasons make their comeback in prison.
  • Insanity Defense: This is what gets professor Teerlinck exonerated for the murder of DCI Lauwers throughout his trial. Both his defense attorney and Gijselbrechts claim that the professor was reliving a traumatic moment from his childhood and, therefore, had an irresistible impulse to kill DCI Lauwers.
  • Insufferable Genius: Professor Teerlinck fits this trope perfectly, as he usually manages to piss someone off by merely speaking his mind
  • Internal Affairs: The team gets a run in with internal affairs after DCI Rabet slugs DCI Fouchet for trying to (forcefully) separate him from his wife.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals / It's Always Sunny at Funerals: A strange combination of these two tropes occurs in the series finale. During the funeral of Adelinde, it's initially raining cats and dogs, to emphasize the sadness of the situation. However, right as the (official part of the) funeral ends, the rain stops and the sun breaks through, which not only shows contrast, but also emphasizes Jasper's new outlook on life.
  • Lesbian Jock: Saskia Vogels fits this trope perfectly, as she's a lesbian, who spends a considerable amount of time practicing martial arts at the gym.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Professor Teerlinck does this to commissioner Mus in the episode Diamant, calling him every species of bird, except for the one he's named after.note  This seems to particularly bother Christina, who sees it as a way for the professor to get back at her.
    Christina [after the professor misnames him for the tenth time]: It's Mus! Commissioner Mus!
  • Murder by Mistake:
    • The killer of the episode "Een fatale vergissing" poisons the wrong person with cyanide by mistake. The remainder of the episode shows the fallout of the failed poisoning, as the intended suspect gets his revenge.
    • The killer from the episode "Katvanger" wants to make one of the murders look like collateral damage. In fact, it was his full intention to kill this person, in addition to the other victim in the car.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse:
    • The victim of the episode "Tamara" was killed by the wife of one of her clients, because she was afraid to lose her husband to her.
    • The undercover agent in the two-parter "Zwanenzang" was killed by his wife, becuase she was suspecting him of having and affair with a prostitute. It turns out that he ended the affair to stay true to her.
  • One-Letter Title: Throughout season one, the series was called T. It only changed its name to Professor T. from season 2 onwards.
  • My Beloved Smother: Adelinde van Marcke is one towards her son, professor Teerlinck
  • Puppet Permutation: One of the imagine spots in the episode "Dode meisjes zingen niet" turns dr. Gijselbrecht's husband, Rudy, into one of these. The professor eventually shuts him up by cutting his (invisible) strings with a pair of scissors.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Herman Donckers, Annelies's father, turns into one throughout the first two seasons, due to Alzheimer's Disease. It (eventually) leads to his euthanasia near the end of season two.
  • Sick Episode: The episode "De maskermoorden" takes place while professor Teerlinck is in the hospital with a burst appendix. He initially hates it there (since he's extremely germophobic), but starts to feel at home there towards the end of the episode, thanks to miss Sneyers and one of the nurses.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Between DCI Rabet and professor Teerlinck near the start of the show. Occasionally, this would apply to his cooperation with Annelies as well.
  • Terrified of Germs: Professor Teerlinck, who never shakes hands and disinfects everything he touches with disinfectant spray, even though he's wearing latex gloves.
  • The Alcoholic: DCI Rabet was this at the start of the series. He gave up the booze after the professor openly confronted him (and his team) about it.
  • The Professor: Professor Teerlinck, ofcourse. He's bright, eloquent, reveals the outcome of every crime he helps solving and plays chess to boot.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Professor Teerlinck considers his sessions with his psychiatrist, dr. Gijselbrecht, a waste of time and frequently planned on ditching them altogether. He's, however, forced by the dean to follow therapy at dr. Gijselbrecht for his reinstatement in season 2.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Part of the series' appeal is that we get to see what the professor sees, even though it isn't real. Most of the time, it's absolutely hilarious (or tearjerking, when it isn't).
  • Wham Episode: Every season finale counts as this.
    • During the season 1 finale, professor Teerlinck awaits his own killer and does nothing when he (eventually) tries to murder him. This lapse of judgement drives the professor to his decision to willingly administer himself to a mental institution for six months.
    • The second season finale reveals that DCI Lauwers is a Detective Mole. Moreover, his girlfriend, commissioner Flamant finds out about his betrayal as well and plans to kill him in cold blood, which would end her career. Professor Teerlinck, who distrusted Lauwers from the start, bites the bullet and shoots Lauwers himself, which gets him imprisoned for murder.
    • The series finale reveals that the suicide of the professor's father was, in fact, murder. This radically alters the professor's world view, as he felt guilt for his father's death ever since he was a child. Figuring out who killed his father finally allows the professor to give his trauma a place, causing him to (slowly) revert to a somewhat ordinary, sociable person.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Said by miss Sneyers in the series finale, in response to dean de Paepe's worries about Jasper's investigation into his father's suicide. Things eventually almost do go awry, but as the series is more on the lighthearted side, miss Sneyers turns out to be correct after all.
    de Paepe: I have a bad feeling about Jasper's latest investigation.
    miss Sneyers: Everything will turn out fine. The man has spent time in a mental institution, as well as in prison. What could possibly happen that's worse than that?

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