Homicide Hills: The Complete Series (DVD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Stuart Galbraith IV
  • Review Date: Mar 15, 2024
  • Format: DVD
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Homicide Hills: The Complete Series (DVD Review)



Release Date(s)

2008-2014 (November 7, 2023)


Pro TV Produktion GmbH (MHz Networks/Kino Lorber)
  • Film/Program Grade: B
  • Video Grade: B
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: F

Homicide Hills: The Complete Series (DVD)

Buy it Here!


Homicide Hills, pointlessly retitled from Mord mit Aussicht, or “Murder with a View”—isn’t that one better?—is a bemusing, lighthearted German crime series. It seems to be modeled after two long-running British shows: Midsomer Murders (1997-present) and Doc Martin (2004-2022). Like those programs, it’s set in a rural village in the countryside, populated with eccentric locals. Like Doc Martin, Sophie Haas (Caroline Peters) is a displaced urbanite, a police detective from Köln transferred to the sticks of Hengasch in western Germany, the name in German sounding like “hanging butt.”

The series, at least the first season I’ve so far watched, is unexceptional but pleasant enough. Humorous in much the same manner as Doc Martin, some of its German humor translates well, some not so much. In some ways it faintly recalls the grimly humorous krimi the Germans were so fond of during the 1960s, such as their long-running Edgar Wallace mysteries. Here, in crime-bereft Hengasch, Det. Haas’s glee when some local turns up dead is a little... odd.

Arriving in Hengasch, Det. Haas meets her two juniors, policeman Dietmar Schäffer (Bjarne Mädel) and policewoman Bärbel Schmied (Meike Droste). Also in the regular cast are Hans Peter Hallwachs as Hannes Haas, Sophie’s retired physician father (very helpful when medical questions arise); Petra Kleinert as Heike Schäffer, Dietmar’s earthy wife, forever stuffing him with rich German food; and Michael Hanemann as Hans Zielonka, Sophie’s grouchy predecessor.

The series is pleasant if not distinctive. Though quite popular in Germany its characters have little depth and, at least so far, none are particularly relatable or especially likable. The mystery aspects of the program aren’t bad; the mysteries generally play fair with the audience and, while not exactly brain-busters, show some imagination in the writing. For non-German audiences, it’s interesting to see how German writers choose to depict rural Germany, though it’s not particularly attractive in the way, say, Doc Martin’s locations are.

MHz Networks’ DVD set is entitled Homicide Hills: The Complete Series, but it’s NOT the complete series, not really. The series began in 2008, a second season followed in 2012, and a third season in 2014. Additionally, there was a TV-movie version in 2015, which is also included, though presented as if it were the last episode of the third season. However, the series was revived for a fourth season that aired in 2022, and a fifth season of 13 more episodes is schedule to air this year. None of these Homicide Hills are included in this “Complete Series” but, to be fair, the 2022 and 2024 shows, strangely, feature some of the same actors in supporting roles, while the three leads—Caroline Peters, Bjarne Mädel, and Meike Droste—along with the characters they played, have inexplicably disappeared, replaced by new actors playing new characters. Why this decision was made I have no idea. In any case, calling this “Homicide Hills: The Complete Original Series” would have been more honest.

As with other MHz titles of European shows on DVD, there are several issues. First are MHz’s intensely annoying commercials for its streaming service, found on the first disc of each season. These cannot even be fast-forwarded through, let alone skipped. Second, the 1.78:1 widescreen image (16:9 enhanced) is just okay. Though the series was shot digitally in high-def, it looks like it was down-converted to PAL before being transferred to NTSC format. This results in jerky movement when smooth motion is shown, like a car driving down a highway. The English subtitling is decent enough, though the absence of chapter stops or any extras (there’s not even an episode guide) is disappointing.

Homicide Hills is just good enough that I’ll keep watching. It’s not up to the level of older, similar shows but it’s mildly satisfying entertainment.

- Stuart Galbraith IV