Saturday, February 26, 2011

Grijpstra and DeGier - The Amsterdam Cops

Imagine you're on the way to a business meeting at the other end of the USA from your home base. You've been  traveling since 6:00am to make a morning meeting in another time zone five hours away. But along the way bad weather and flight cancellations strand you halfway in an airport and now you're in line trying to book another flight.  You are trying to find a way to get there tonight for an evening dinner meeting, but find the only way to even get there late tonight  is to take two different flights and change planes somewhere closer, but not quite there. All this and you have to now wait at this airport for four hours for your first flight.

By now you've read over the meeting notes so many times you can't stand it anymore, and you've read the book you brought for the down times in between.  You roll your bag and your exhausted self to the airport bookstore, not holding out much hope of finding anything more than the current "bestseller".  Because you're tired and angry and hate the world at this point, you go to your one guaranteed escape, the Mystery section.  There you are attracted to the red and white and black, and rather surrealistic and atmospheric photos on the cover of a series of books from an author with a long name that you've never heard of: Janwillen van de Wetering.  You read the blurb on the back and see it's set in Amsterdam (love European mysteries), set in the 70's (my growing up years), and see it's a series with two cops (love the "Sherlock and Holmes" partnerings). Seems like your kind of book.  So you buy two of the novels, the first and second in the series (having checked this inside the book), and start feeling a bit better.

So there I am, having taken care of the most important business, procuring reading material. With books in hand, I call my office before everyone is gone home to tell them what's happened so they can call the meeting group and tell them what's happened to me (yes, before the days we all had cell phones attached to our ears), and go and get something to eat.  Once seated I open book #1 and instantly I'm plunged into the underground world of Amsterdam, prostitutes, drugs, murder,music, love, hate, Zen, and cats.  So started my love affair with Grijpstra and de Gier, their lives, and their world.

Now by now I've read all the novels and the short stories, and I still read my favorites off and on if I need a mental break.  I always wondered why a TV series was never made from the novels, and searching the Internet off and on finally found one day that indeed there was a TV series made for Dutch TV from 2004-2007.  I keep searching in hope that a US Public Television channel, or MHZ Networks,or cable channel, will pick it up and show it with English subtitles of course.  I have found clips of the series on YouTube,  but it would be wonderful to see the entire series.  OK, I can probably hunt down the DVD's, but I'm sure there's some cable or Public TV channel looking to fill up some time slots and keep those of us who love mysteries and international TV programs happy.

Any one out there listening?

I guess I should say a few things about the novels and the author and detectives, and I'll post a few links here for anyone that wants to know more.  I'll just say that Grijpstra is the older, middle-aged cop, the married one with family, who is burnt out and cynical about his job.  De Gier is the younger and handsome one, a beautiful man as a matter of fact, and rather Zen-like. Though legions of women fall for de Gier and we get a love affair or two or three, he is single, very much a loner, and lives with his cat. Both men are united by a love of music especially jazz. Grijpstra plays drums and de Gier the flute and often after a difficult case they get together and play. Oh, and they have a much older and mysterious boss called the commissaris.

Oh yes, I can't forget the Zen undertones of the stories. You see the author, Janwillem van de Wetering was a student of philosophy and Zen Buddhism.

Here' a clip of the opening from the Dutch TV series:

For more about the TV series click HERE
For more about the novels and the author click HERE.

I've also found there was a 1979 Dutch movie made of the Amsterdam Cops starring Rutger Hauer (playing deGier of course). I must find the film now and see it.

I'm not a fan of remakes or of remaking successful TV series, but reading the novels I often thought about who I would cast as the detectives if a movie or series was made in the UK or the US?  I know I have my choices, and they have changed through the years. Who would you cast for the two cops and their mysterious boss?


  1. Oh may have to look this one up!! If it wasn't for your random suggestions I would have missed it! AND I'm bummed I missed Rufus Sewell in an historical drama last night on Sundance!

    1. There's so much to keep track of now, so many outlets to watch. Yet there are times I have hundreds of channels and nothing to watch on a given night. I need to look up the Rutger Hauer movie one, but keep forgetting.


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