Effigy: Poison and the City (2019) - full transcript

1828 in the German port city of Bremen: Two very different women collide in an age that has no place for either of them. One strives for a career in law, at a time when women aren't even admitted to universities. The other has lived life outside the law and may now have to pay the tab. One of them needs to get her head together - while the other would do anything not to lose hers.

The first time I traveled to Bremen,
the railway didn't even exist yet.

I will never forget those months
I spent there in the year 1828.

Driver! Stop!

What've you got there, junior?

A train, sir!

May I take a look?

Where did you get it?

From England.

My uncle sent it.

Look what I've got:

two Prussian Silver Thaler.

But that's way too much, sir! In
England, it's not even a shilling …

Well, this is not England.

Look, mommy!


Uncle Gottfried is coming for dinner soon.

But I'm hungry now!


She got sick. But it'll pass …

Let's go on up!

A farsighted idea to buy this land!

Ships will be mooring here soon.

Up to 100 at a time!


To Bremer-Haven.

If I may: to our Mayor Smidt!

Despite all the naysayers.

À propos: I have it on good authority …

… that a Hamburg
consortium is buying land …

for a railroad line
to the port of Lübeck.

Probably Jews. Out of place
in any Christian community.

Trains go up to eight miles
an hour. That's the future!

Why bother laying tracks if you've
got the river! Modern steamships …

… require dredging the river year
after year. Why are we building the port?!

Nobody has any experience with railways.

Wrong. England. May I?

The Stockton & Darlington Railway.

Has been transporting freight
and people for three years now.

Hear, hear.

Imagine such a connection
from here to Bremen.

We should be buying more land.

That's just a fad, Mr. Mayor.

No it's not!

It's a unique opportunity for
Bremen, which we need to grasp.

Only with a matching railroad
terminal does this port have a chance!

We'll take it under advisement.

I'll get the coachman.

You really want to trust the
swamp with the weight of train cars?

Argh, pardon me!

Have pity on the coffee beans.

Obviously, dams have to be built.

Use the money for deepening the waterway!

If you'd like to invest
in our shipping license …

… I can sign you up for a
discounted share package.

You can sign me up for new boots.

You kiss mine.

I had expected a certain
amount of resistance.

But only weeks later, I got
drawn into a series of events …

… that have been rattling this
ancient port city until the present day.

Excuse me.

I'll excuse you. But I can't call
you in until my law clerk arrives …

I'm afraid I am your new law clerk.

Cato Böhmer.

You are... what?

Cato Böhmer from
Göttingen. You... hired me?!

The hell I did!

But... you are... Senator Gildemeister?!

My name is Droste. My colleague
had to leave for Brazil two weeks ago.



What's he doing in Brazil?

Promoting Bremen's foreign trade.

The real question is:
What do I do with you?!

You entrust me with any task that comes up.

What comes up here I can't give
to you. This is a criminal court!

At the criminal court in
Göttingen I clerked for two years.

Shouldn't a Frãulein like
you be doing some handiwork?

Writing is handiwork, Senator.


This is my new court assessor.

I know, Senator.

Your opinion?

I … find that entirely uncommon.

It seems to be common in
Göttingen. Put her in records.

Pardon me, Senator …

Really, Frãulein Böhmer?

I entrust you with the first task
that comes up, and you refuse?

Are you coming to panhandle again?

We are not panhandling. Frau
Gottfried cooked grits for us.

You know Herr Rumpff
disapproves of feeding riffraff.

Beta is not riffraff.

Don't you have well water to fetch?

I added breadcrumbs for you.

Doesn't fit me anymore.

Are they coming back?



Thank you.

Lucky you!

On two counts.

Good evening Senator.

Herr Pastor!

Ehlers has taken to
soliciting craftspeople.

As long as there's no victim …


Dr. Luce would like to file a statement.

Assessor Böhmer's grand entrance!

We are done here.

Assessor Böhmer!

Legally, Bremen was still living
in the age of the Inquisition.


Trials were not public.

Herr Doctor …

Rather, the investigating
judge, aided by his law clerk …

… prepared a report which was
then used by the superior court …

… to determine a verdict.

Here we go.

»Actum Bremae – today's date …«

»Before the Criminal Court,
presiding Dr. and Senator Droste …«

»… appears Doctor medicinae Luce,
duly licensed physician, and reports:«

Go ahead, Doctor.

I am the family doctor...
for the wheelwright Rumpff.

This morning he showed me a piece
of bacon, bearing a white substance.

I inspected it with pharmacist Kind.


The bacon is still in its status quo ante?

Yeah … Status quo ante.


My friend Hoffschlãger needs
to inspect this. Sögestrasse.

Right away, Senator.

And please get Tonjes.

Frãulein Böhmer, for the record:

»lnvestigation continued at the
Rumpff residence, Pelzerstrasse 37.«

And... Captain Ehlers
would like to see you.

Frãulein Böhmer, you'll accompany
Kommissar Tonjes to Pelzerstrasse …

… and report back to me.

You can count on me.

Well, that's the thing with food, right?

Improper preparation, careless storage …

Contamination … and
bang! Everybody gets sick!

Well maybe, but … arsenic?

Who says it's arsenic? Last month I
had such a crumb in my own pantry.

Practically invisible without glasses.

Some critter, most likely.

Couldn't get off the can for three days.

In the old days,
everybody was used to that.

Today, people call the police.
As if we had nothing better to do!

There. Nothing!

Any more arsenic around here?

Good god, no! Of course not.

Frau Gottfried asked me
to bring the court a billet.

There, please.

My housekeeper.

Why is she not here?

She's not well. Or so she says.

Did she take arsenic, too?

When Herr Rumpff calls her on
the carpet, she likes to get unwell.

Not chargeable.

At the time I didn't know yet that
people called her the »Angel of Bremen«.

Come in!

Cato Böhmer.

You asked for us?

I asked for the court.

I represent the court.

Senator Droste is tied
up with other business.

And why does he send a woman?

I'm a court assessor with full authority.

You are not well?

A little queasiness.

Does that happen often around here?

From time to time.


So you went to university?

I participated in a reading circle for law.

My father is a professor in Göttingen.

Did you also play widow
when you were little?

You married more than once?

Your father is a wise
man, and he supports you.

Mine married me off
to an honorable citizen.

»Marrying up …«

But you know what?

Then the French came …

And those establishments …

With our money, he was
a real gentleman there.

And then suddenly I was on my own …

… with his offspring …

… three of them …

One by one, they disappeared
six feet under, too …

My condolences.

You know why we are here?

Not because of the pork side?

There may have been arsenic on it.

Senator Droste is preparing
a forensic investigation.


What do you mean?

People are bad-mouthing
this house … and me, too.

We should include that in the record.

Go ahead!

For a valid record, a second
court officer has to be present.

Then I'll follow you to the courthouse,
so the Senator can take it all down.

You are … very beautiful.


Done with the hen party?

The initial interrogation
has been completed, yes.

What did you investigate in the meantime?

That there is nothing to investigate.

But … the poison on the bacon?

… you call that nothing?

Pardon me: Steitz, master
miller. I live next door.


Do you have any hard evidence for us?

Huh? Huh? Huh?

Well there you go.

Last summer.

On the lettuce. Those white crumbs!

But who should
put poison on my food?

Was it investigated?

I threw the lettuce out.

What would your father have said...

… if his son, as a founder of
the community savings bank …

… profits from projects which
he promotes as a senator.

What do you mean?

Very simple.

Does the savings bank …

… finance your railroad consortium?

None of your business.

What miraculous increase in value …

would worthless marshlands enjoy …

… if a railway project came along.

Sounds like a lucrative investment!

Which you couldn't
participate in, of course.

You are barking up the wrong tree, Captain.

The land belongs to the Kingdom of Hanover.

Inter-governmental negotiations.

That excludes fortune hunters.

Bremen put all its money into the new port.

With a population of 42,000, where
are you going to find the tax money …

… for new-fanged machinery …

… the future of which
is totally up in the air?

Forget the trains.

Support our project …

… and I'll cut you in at 15 percent.

Herr Müller!

Herr Müller. Quick. The lady is fainting.


Herr Senator!

Could you get me a glass
of sugar water, Senator?

Of course.

Many thanks.

I've not been feeling well all day.

But now... downright like a prisoner.

I asked you for a simple report.

I know.

She insisted on coming here.

Your name for the record, please.

Much better.

Gesine Margarethe Gottfried, née Timm.

Is it common for women to do this?


Frau Gottfried.

What can you tell us about
the poison at the Rumpff house?

Nothing. But it seems strange that
two jars of mouse butter disappeared.

Do you suspect anyone?

Maybe … it was meant for me?

There are several whose
proposal I turned down.

Or maybe something was
simply put out against mice?

You know, the house was
previously owned by my husband.

But I was always loyal to Frau Rumpff.

Even on her deathbed I promised
to take care of her husband.

… and the child.

What a tragedy.

I assume you know that pain, too?

What became of the promise
you made to Frau Rumpff?

Well, I keep his household together.

He'd probably be lost without me.

When I sold him the house, though...

… he talked me into leaving
1,000 Thaler, against interest.

I'm without kin, so he'd
keep that money if I died.

What are you trying to suggest?

I'm not going back to Pelzerstrasse.

You're fearing for your life?

I'm going to find another room.

I could offer you spend the
night in our cell for civil arrest.

If it doesn't seem too embarrassing.

I'd really appreciate that.

Frãulein Böhmer, let's make
that as convenient as possible.

Yes, sir.

I'm freezing.

I'll see to it that the stove is heated up.

No! It's overheated already.

Could you help me?

Should I order something to eat?

No thanks. Some tea. And two cups, please.

Well... you do know how to keep records.

I don't know what to make of her.

First she's cold, then so hot that
she opens one bodice after the other.

She's wearing quite a few, by the way.

You were there?!

I saw it through the crack in the door.

Frau Gottfried is a respected citizen.

My wife sees her at church all the time.

Yes. She's acting quite
pious and goody-goody.

She knows her place.

She's well-known for caring
for the poor and the sick.

Regarding the Pelzerstrasse
estate, Senator –

Last year, a clan of Jews is
said to have poisoned a well …

… to swindle someone out of a house.

I thought Bremen was such a liberal city!

I wanted to go to university, too.

Oops, sorry.

When I was twelve, my
father took me out of school.

At 21, he forced me to marry Miltenberg …

who was already a widower.

A Plattner case …

Plattner's Blowpipe Analysis.

A pyro-chemical process …

So what exactly is »mouse butter«?


Mixed with lard usually.

And that's freely available
in grocery stores …

No, no! Only at the pharmacy.

And only with a permit.

Oh really?

»Back in stock: delicious Harzer Cheese …«

»… as well as our popular mouse
butter, at Lankenau on the market.«

At Lankenau! Among cheese and sausages?!

I can't believe you Hanseatics …

Not always easy, being a good daughter.

That depends on the father.

But you are lucky.

OK, now …


Let's see then.

So arsenic is also used
as medication, right?

For asthma, for example.

But also popular as a recreational drug.

Sounds scary.

No, has a stimulating effect.

But not in this kind of amount, of course.


Step aside, please.

My husband was careless in his antics …

… so God punished him.

You understand?

The French Disease.

That's how he died?

He had all kinds of horrible diseases.

It was quite disgusting.

But I attended to him until he died.

Pardon me.

What is that?

Et voilà!


In a lethal dose.

Does the victim die immediately?

That depends on the amount.

First esophagus and stomach
are chemically burned …

… at great pain.

As if …

… as if you swallowed this.

Must be the cream …

Oops …

… just wanted to check on you.

Senator Droste!

Thank you for saving me from Pelzerstrasse.


Here you are safe with me.

With you … I do feel safe.

I think she's playing a role.

I think you are lacking experience.

Frau Gottfried is frightened.

That's why she buys
two jars of mouse butter?

People are generally
too careless with poison.

But once your home is infested …

Someone claims noticing such
a substance before, on lettuce.

One … Herr Steitz …

We need to take another
look at Pelzerstrasse.

Did any deaths occur in recent years?

Two years ago, my wife
died. After giving birth.

How would you characterize your
relationship with Frau Gottfried?

Sometimes she's a little
… direct. Flirtatious …

Frau Gottfried still has a stake
of 1,000 Thaler in the property?


So if she dies, that
amount defaults to you.

You're welcome to inspect my
books. I don't need her money.

Did … mouse butter disappear around here?


Excuse me. How does Frau
Gottfried get along with the neighbors?

Any disagreements?

No. She is actually quite popular.

Occasionally she seems to be
feeding half the neighborhood.

One of my apprentices though,
he seemed to have issues with her.

How come?

If only I knew.

He disappeared two weeks ago.


I even owe him wages.

Could be the same substance.

Faintly of …



Who smears that on zwieback …

… and places it in Frau
Gottfried's pantry cabinet?

Say … Gottfried has finally been arrested?

Criminal Court. Senator Droste.

What kind of rumors are
you spreading there, Herr …

Steitz, master miller.

Frau Gottfried is
definitely not under arrest.

Mind your words, Herr Steitz!

Do you have any facts
to report to the court?

Of course.

Gottfried's breath reeks of the Plague!

Sure. Will be thoroughly investigated.

I see.

But I can put two and two together.

Good luck with that.


That Steitz!

Frau Gottfried turned him down,
now he's talking behind her back.

Accusing her of buying rancid supplies.

Frau Gottfried seems to be
very popular with the gentlemen?

The tailor from across
the street for example.

Nine kids.

But he's constantly in
and out of Gottfried's attic.

He even wanted to foster
out his boys with her …

… so he could visit her more often.

What do I have to hear
from Ehlers? Poisonings?

We are just starting to investigate …

We can't afford any unrest.

I'm doing my very best.

I certainly hope so.

Mayor Smidt.

I'll check out the plans when
things have settled, Senator.

The jar I got at Lankenau,
no questions asked.

Right among the food.

Looks perfectly unremarkable.

Better be careful.

Of course.

Perish the thought.

I'll walk you home.


Tomorrow, you need to take a
look at this, and report to me.

Do you have any plans for the future?

My situation is … complicated.


Strenuous pastime for a Frãulein.

Tell me one reason why I
shouldn't be an attorney.

A missing law degree.

In America, there are
supposedly academies for women.

Emigrate as soon as possible then.

A Mademoiselle Beta
Schmidt from Pelzerstrasse.

Asking to be admitted
to the Gottfried widow.

I can visit her?

You sure can.

She's been providing me with a lot of food.

Now I wanted to return the favor.

And cooked something really delicious.

No objections.


Get your mitts off that!

You know what that is?

A train.

Totally new invention.


In this boiler, there is steam.

It drives two pistons,
which set the train in motion.

Then you hook up carriages
– and people can ride on it!

Can I ride on it, too?

I certainly hope so.

By the time you grow up,
we'll have this in Bremen.

Let the Senator work now.

No problem.

Frãulein Böhmer!

Why don't you accompany
Frau Schmidt to Frau Gottfried.

I'll show you the train station.

This is it.

What do you think, where do we put it?



That's a good spot.

At such a large house, the train will stop.

Then people can get on and off …


Miller Steitz with a
Mademoiselle Heckendorff.

Frau Heckendorff has an important statement
to make about the Gottfried widow.

Well who have we got here! Little Hans!

What are you doing here?

When you came in, it gave me a turn.

Thought it was Frau Rumpff.

But she's dead.

I saw her in the cemetery.

That was a dream.

No, it wasn't a dream.

I was in bed, and saw
her between the graves.

You saw her?

She was staring at me.

Ah! I'll be right back.

Why don't you take the particulars.

Which one would you like?

Why are you staring at me?

What is your relation to Frau Gottfried?

Well we've been friends for years!

So what would you like to report?

Last fall I …

… took my foster son, Wilhelm …

… to visit Frau Gottfried.

And … that same night …

… he got dizzy …

… and a bloated belly.

For 30 Groten?

Yes, good.

Oh, I also need two jars of mouse butter.


Then she called him
over again, to fetch a message for me.


As soon as
he got home, he got diarrhea.

But no message for me!

I was … even the day before
yesterday, she invited me over for tea.

But on top of it were white, fatty crumbs!

The boy!!

We need a doctor.

She gave them mouse butter.


Where are you?

Where is she?



Thought she was here!?

You didn't see her run out?

I wasn't at my desk.

I need all available troops!


If you need money for
supplies, let me know.

By the way, Frau Gottfried is back.


Not again!

Should I call Dr. Luce?

Should I call Dr. Luce!

Where's Gottfried?

Did she prepare that?

Did she prepare that!


Yes! Yes!

Get a doctor! Right now! Herr
Rumpff has been poisoned!



She took one of her widow's veils.

I know where she is.


As it happened, it was Gesche Gottfried's
birthday when she finally got arrested.

Tickets, please.

It was not common for poor
people to get buried in a coffin.

But thanks to a generous
donation from a certain senator …

… Beta Schmidt and her son
received a first-class funeral.

She's not saying a word.

What seems to be the problem?

First, we don't have a confession.

Second, it will be difficult to
prove poison on the bodies …

…according to Dr. Hoffschlãger.

Who's asking for that?

With respect, Mr. Mayor:
the rules of procedure.

It seems impossible to
make out a clear motive.

No rhyme or reason.

As if in some kind of frenzy.

But isn't it pretty clear-cut really?

The Gottfried widow murdered out of greed.

And what if she was sick?

In France they are talking
of »murderous monomania«.

Well, in this case the death penalty
would be a relief for everybody.

Definitely for the city.

People are not talking
of Bremen's new port …

…they are talking about Bremen's poisoner.

How is Rumpff?

He's over the worst.

I was at Frau Rumpff's
house when she had her baby.

Frau Gottfried was feeding her …

… and she got diarrhea and vomiting.

Frau Rumpff lived
another eight or nine days.

Frau Gottfried's twin brother, Johann,

returned from the
military after nine years.

He'd been all the way
to Moscow with Napoleon.

He called: »Vive I'Empereur!»

Three days later, he was
lowered into God's acre.

Paul Thomas Zimmermann
was my neighbor and friend.

He wanted to marry Gottfried.

I told him outright:
your life is in danger.

She has buried husbands and children.

He died one day after
getting engaged to Gottfried.

Johann Mosees: typhoid
fever, in my opinion.

Frau Gottfried tended to him until the end.

20 years as a family doctor,
and you never noticed anything?!

1815, the cholera was raging.

Cholera is accompanied
by bouts of vomiting.

As I remember, that carried
off Frau Gottfried's whole family.

Her first husband died 1813 …

… at 37 Pelzerstrasse.

His parental home.

He … died of an unspeakable disease.

What do you mean?


The Frãulein has been
told the facts of life.

Was the body autopsied?

Or any other?

This all happened 13 years ago. How
do you expect me to remember details?

How about you jog your
memory a little, Dr. Luce!

Would you rather have
me revoke your license?!

Between May and September 1815 …

… her parents died, and her three children.

…of cholera.

Nothing else causes strong vomiting?

Food poisoning.

But that passes quickly.

However … yes, of course! …

One of her children … Heinrich.


When I arrived, the body
had already been casketed.

The casket sealed with pitch.

Respect the dead, Frau Gottfried said.

Who ordered the casket to be sealed?

Frau Gottfried.

The body was about to burst, she said.

Frau Gottfried!

The apple juice contained mouse butter.

I know.

Excuse me?

I gave God a chance.

I have been suspecting Beta for a while.

It was her who always bought
mouse butter at Lankenau.

So what about Rumpff's sandwich?

Rumpff got sick from it!


Not now!

Dr. Hoffschlãger urgently
wants to talk to you.

How old are you?


At that age, I'd already given
birth to a bunch of children.

Or not.

That motherhood thing is grossly overrated.

If it's any consolation.

I simply felt like I had to do it.


The mouse butter. In your tea.

Death is lurking everywhere.

Don't you want to write that down?

Frau Gottfried was fully
aware that, without a witness …

… her statement was legally useless.

On Rumpff's sandwich: an emetic.

Talk German to me.

A vomiting agent.

Gray Ipecacuanha.

Better known as Ipecac syrup.

Even small traces
literally make you … barf.

But not lethal.

How does that get on Rumpff's sandwich?

Not by itself. Right?

I would've never guessed.

Could we talk in private?


But what I have to tell
you is not for her ears.

Dr. Hoffschlãger just
told you it was Ipecac, no?

The vomiting is over soon.

No comparison to mouse butter.

You killed all those people.

Whether I can prove it or not.

You are doomed.

But you can wipe the slate clean
– before yourself and the Lord.

You always had to obey your father.

I taught my father a lesson.

You did what?

I gave him something to think about.

He was so happy to join mother in heaven.

What did you give your father?

That voice that got me to do it …

So seductive.

Frãulein Böhmer!

Captain Ehlers!

A lady is always better off
on the arm of a gentleman.

Isn't Bremen over that?

Sounds like the city has a bad
reputation … Hold this please.

Let me think about all that.


Right after Napoleon left,
Bremen went back to the Inquisition.

I guess they didn't want to listen to you?

They trampled on the ideals
of the French Revolution.

If Droste prevails,
I'll relocate to France.


Mais oui.

Droste must be counting down
your free minutes on his watch?

Seems like you are not a
great fan of the Senator.

He's every inch the do-gooder.

But idealism is true empiricism!

Senator Gildemeister
chose him as his substitute.

Droste owes that to his name.

He was appointed Senator
only as a successor to his father.

Well, hopefully he knows
how to make good use of it.

But Droste is out of his depth.

Thanks to him, people are
poisoned at the courthouse!

Says who?

Well …

Probably just a windbag.

Maybe we go for a stroll again sometime?

So you can discover beautiful Bremen.

Don't laugh.

I always wanted to see a copying press.

Apparently there is one at the city hall?

A James Watt copying press!

Assessor Böhmer is back from her sojourn!

While you were enjoying yourself,
Gottfried almost confessed.


The vomiting agent at least.

You're going to get my notes into shape.

Not that they'd be of any use, though.

Herr Steitz!

Captain Ehlers!

Walk around to the back, it's open.

Herr Steitz.

I'd like to get back to what you saw.

I don't want to talk about that anymore.

We need to get to the bottom of this.

My milling privilege is expiring next year.

I can take care of that.

Some people could still be
alive, if they'd listened to me.

If Senator Droste had listened to you?

I took that back.

But there was no reason to take it back.

I'm on your side.

I explicitly warned against
admitting the child to her.

Beta Schmidt purchased
mouse butter here, yes.

And what about Frau Gottfried?

Yes. Her, too, of course.

And you don't store the poison
next the ham, by any chance?


We have an extra drawer for it.


Apparently the mouse butter not
only invigorates your business …

… but also mine.

That Gottfried woman stirs
mouse butter into food for years …

… and the learned dignitaries sign
one death certificate after the other.

And now she has to pay the tab.

With her life.

Böhmer, you can stay home tomorrow.


I'll work the cemetery tomorrow.

Excuse me?

Says who?

Herr Senator.

Müller is not qualified to keep
trial records at the exhumation!

Are you trying to get back at me
for leaving you alone with Gottfried?

On your own orders?


It's not suitable for a Frãulein.

You can leave that decision to me.

Raise it up now, please.

Surprise! Good morning.

Good morning, Senator.

How is your grandson?

Thank you. He's got a new train.

Excuse me.

What a damn mess.

What is that?

It's raining blood.

There must be a natural explanation.

Fine granules.

»Tomorrow morning, if God wills …«

»… you will wake once again.«

Everything about her is … puzzling.

She talks about being
possessed. By an urge.

More likely by the Archfiend.

This case proves it once again:

The female's fragile mind …

… needs strong guidance from a man.

But this female seems to
be insane – of soul and mind.

Her soul will be assessed by
the Last Judgment, Senator.

The document is covered with a
layer of dampened tissue paper.

Upon which you place the
oiled paper. Layer for layer.

Let's take …


Statements of the poisoner?

You do know that court
records are strictly confidential.

But Droste's days at the
courthouse are numbered anyway.

What do you mean?

The miller had an
interesting story to tell.

This will finish Droste,
socially and professionally.

Should speed up the
Gottfried trial tremendously.

We can't afford a scandal
like that in Bremen.

In life and in politics …

… it's the pressure that counts.

Just a few more minutes now.

We owe the victims atonement on Earth.

But don't we also have to
try to understand her actions?

Your responsibility is …

…to protect society, and
to elucidate the crime.

How many?

At least ten.

Alternately tortured and
nursed back to health …

… over several years. Friends, neighbors, …

Nobody deserves to die as
much as the Gottfried widow.

Thank you … Oh.

For your sake I'm willing to try
the Gospel on her one more time.

Thank you, Pastor.

Senator Droste allowed Gottfried
to murder a child at the courthouse.

And if word about this gets to Brazil …

Word about what?

Mr. Mayor, Senator Droste
asks you to come to his office.


He says it's urgent, Mr. Mayor.

Pull yourself together, man!

Be right back, Mr. Mayor.

What has Ehlers got?

Mr. Mayor, I made … a
horrible mistake, which …

… cost the lives of Beta
Schmidt and her boy.

Excuse me, Senator.

Gesche Gottfried had not
been arrested at the time …

… and was even
considered a possible victim.

Frãulein Böhmer, that's very noble of you.

But there were also warning voices.

I didn't mean to cause
you any trouble, Sen …

Mr. Mayor …

I have to ask you to …

…relieve me of my duties.

Are you out of your mind?

Change horses now?

I want that railroad.

And I need you for that.

But he's got my affidavit!

He promised me a discounted
share package for my signature.

I tried to cancel the
whole thing yesterday.

He wouldn't let me!

But I'll press charges against him!

Shares for a shipping
line that doesn't even exist!

In his fantasy it does.

Carpenter Bolte will report him, too.


There's no getting round your affidavit.

Could we have a word, Mr. Mayor.


I got Ehlers' document.

This Frãulein is your
stroke of luck, my friend!

But … I don't understand …

You don't have to know everything.

Tell captain Ehlers I
have better things to do today.

So he should not wait?

Not wait. No.

Maybe the Klabautermann will get him.

Since the poor were
buried in unmarked graves …

… more than 30 had to be opened …

… until the victims' bodies could be found.

Maybe you could see me as
an unhappy person, Pastor …

… and less like a … villain.

Any consolation is out of place …

…as long as she's not willing to repent.

What did it feel like to
… poison all those people?

What was going on in her mind?

But I am ready to repent, Pastor.

My little Heinrich …

… seems like our Lord Jesus Christ to me.

The other day he appeared
in my dream, and he sang.

It made me wake up.

And I thought:

How happy he must be …

… with the angels …

… in Heaven!

Tell me, Herr Pastor:

Why did God demand of Abraham …

… to kill his son, Isaac?

Was He enjoying that?

What is going on in her mind!!


Herr Dr. Voget!

The door was open.

What brings you here again?

Your theory of murderous
monomania is haunting me.

The whole case is haunting us.

I came to register as her defender.


Didn't you say Frau Gottfried
deserved nothing but the death penalty?

I'm still saying that.

But you admitted that you have no evidence.

A dream constellation
for any criminal defender.

She officially appointed me.

Well in that case … you'll
be studying the files soon.

And I'll get her off.

Base motives.

She owed one of the victims 800 Thaler.

Which she now owes to the estate.

Randomly poisoning a whole family …

… does that look like premeditation to you?

You won't get away with that.

Well let's wait and see.

I heard copies of the trial
records are being circulated?

I beg your pardon?

What is that talk about copied records?

We need a confession.

I knew you'd come.

Does Droste know you are here?

Is everything alright with you?

What was that about your father?

You poisoned him.



They were all suffering from cholera.

I wanted to see my dad happy.

He said he wanted to
poison them all, and himself.

Out of sympathy.

But he wasn't strong enough.

He also confessed that, when
my mother had another daughter …

… three years after I
was born, he crushed …

… the baby's skull with his fingers.

Stop playing me for a fool.

I saw it!

Through the crack in the door!

You can stop acting.

You can free yourself from that demon.

You and I know how it really was.

My brother.

And Gottfried.

I poisoned them. That's true.

And Frau Rumpff?

I may have stirred a
little into her dinner.

Others shrink back from evil.

I can be evil with pleasure.

With delight, so to speak.

How many, Frau Gottfried?

About ten maybe?

And you know what was strange?

As soon as I was done with
one jar of mouse butter …

… this … unrest came upon me.

What was that?

And what about … Beta Schmidt and her son?

I … I … didn't want to …

… poison the little one. I …

I didn't see him eat from it.


Help me one more time.

So I can show you and
the world that I improved.

Please. Please stay!


Don't leave me! Stay with me!

Please don't go away!

They are all still alive!

They all got an antidote!

Can't I see them one more time?

I want to see them again!

Let me out. Let me out!

I want to see them!

You can't lock me up here.

I want out!

Let me out!

I want to see them.

I know why you came.

You won't be able to save me.

I would have liked so much
to get on that train with you!

Do you think there is
salvation for my soul?

No life is so dark …

… that hoping for grace would be futile.

It is bitter when a mother
has to poison her own children.

A daughter her parents.

A sister her twin brother.

Maybe … I am a criminal.

But did I have a choice?

Others quiver in the face of death.

But it made me stronger.

And life is ephemeral.

I had not seen Droste
since we worked on the

Gottfried case together 20 years earlier.

The investigation had
been dragging on for years.

After much testing for chemical traces …

… the medical department at the
University of Göttingen declared …

… they found proof of poisoning on
the bodies of Beta Schmidt and her child.

The famous blood rain of 1828 turned
out to be sand from the Sahara Desert …

… transported to the north
of Germany by the wind.

Senator Gildemeisters mission in
Brazil took longer than expected …

… and indeed he needed an assistant there.

Later I settled down in the United States.

Maybe you've read one of my books?

Regardless, I could not
leave Bremen without

paying a visit to an old acquaintance.