“Ferdinand von Schirach – Faith”
A judicial drama that has it all
Writer Ferdinand von Schirach (57) is making his debut as a screenwriter with a crime series. “Ferdinand von Schirach – Faith” is a captivating drama that is inspired by real events. The seven-part series deals with the Worms abuse trials of the 1990s – one of the biggest judicial scandals in Germany – and relocates them to the present day. Peter Kurth (64) slips into the role of defense attorney Schlesinger, who is the focus of the story. In a child abuse trial, he is supposed to defend one of the accused men and is attacked for it. Kurth proves his ability as a brilliant character actor and captivates the viewer with his performance on the screen. However, it takes a while before the actual trial begins …
In the small town of Ottern, a doctor examines a girl and finds evidence of rape – the start of a major abuse process. The over-motivated public prosecutor Cordelis (Sebastian Urzendowsky, 36) finally brings charges against 26 small town residents who are accused of belonging to a child pornography ring. The indictment is supported by child protection activist Ina Reuth (Katharina Marie Schubert, 44), who previously questioned all affected children.
This is what “Faith” is all about
The first episodes of the miniseries mainly deal with the life-scarred lawyer Dr. Introducing Schlesinger and sketching his character. Schlesinger’s wife died a few years ago. He then began to drink regularly and took refuge in gambling, where he amassed large sums of money over the years. One day Azra (Narges Rashidi, 41) visits him. The Chinese mafia collector beats him up and demands money. As a lawyer, Schlesinger only appears as a public defender. When he is supposed to defend a woman, he initially seems listless in the courtroom, but the passion to ensure law and order does not let go of him. In the end, he wins the case for his client.
When Azra visits again, she asks Schlesinger to defend one of the 26 defendants in the child abuse trial. Reluctantly, he accepts the case and travels to Ottern, where the mood against the alleged child molesters is already heated. Residents of the small town have formed their opinion and are even calling for the death penalty to be introduced. Schlesinger has to deal with hostility towards himself. However, these do not receive any greater attention in “Faith”. Much more illuminates the series, Schlesinger’s commitment to show that the German judiciary has its raison d’etre. The majority of heated people are not allowed to decide the fate of the accused. That is why the lawyer does not allow himself to be influenced by the raging mob and the public prosecutor, who is hoping for a high-altitude flight in his career, and develops a defense strategy. Money collector Azra always provides him with information that she does not always obtain legally.
The miniseries takes a while to get to the actual process
It takes a total of six episodes before the actual process begins. But that doesn’t mean that the path to get there isn’t compelling. Rather, it becomes clear with what passion Schlesinger uncovered the case. He encounters contradictions in the files. He speaks to Chief Detective Laubach (Désirée Nosbusch, 56) and tries to find out why the investigation into the case was withdrawn from her.
During the defense in the courtroom, Schlesinger then mainly focuses on doubting the credibility of child protectionist Ina Reuth. He also presents the inconsistencies he noticed while studying all the files.
“Ferdinand von Schirach – Faith” transports the Worms abuse scandal of the 90s to the present day. At that time, after 300 days of trial, pre-trial detention and preliminary convictions, all 25 defendants were acquitted. The series examines how the anger of bystanders affects a high-profile case.
Above all, it becomes clear what such a process looks like in the times of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Belief focuses on showing that online prejudice can do enormous harm, influence courts, lawyers and the police, and lead to terrifying errors. In contrast to the angry mob is defense lawyer Schlesinger. As a representative of the law, he always tries with his persistence to insist on upholding the German Basic Law and not being influenced by previous convictions.
With “Faith” viewers get a different view of an abuse process that does not focus on the victims or the perpetrators. It is concerned with proving the importance of the presumption of innocence and the subsequent establishment of the truth for a final judgment. Until the final process, the miniseries will remain exciting and will more than do justice to fans of crime documentaries and podcasts.