Sarah Spale as detective Rosa Wilder

Wilder, on MHz, is a Swiss series about Rosa Wilder (Sarah Spale), a detective who comes home for a ceremony and ends up embroiled in a local case. 30 years ago, a bus load of kids was killed in an avalanche, one of which was Rosa’s brother. While she is home for a memorial event, a Turkish investor Karim al-Baroudi (Ercan Durmaz) arrives with his daughter, Amina (Amira El Sayed), and their bodyguard, Rashad (Samir Fuchs). Karim plans on buying and refurbishing a lot of land in Oberweis, to make a resort out of the hot springs there. Although this will save the financially ailing town, some locals are opposed, especially since Karim is Muslim. After a lavish party celebrating Karim’s investment, Amina disappears, and her lover, a famous local artist named Armon Todt (Christian Kohlund), is dead, found murdered in his home. When Rosa discovers that Armon was murdered, she sticks around to find his killer. During the investigation, local secrets begin to surface, jeopardizing relationships and even the future of the town.

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The Townspeople

The small town in Wilder is Oberweis, and it is populated with the type of characters we’ve come to expect from crime dramas. There’s the boorish mayor, Robert (László Kish), who will do anything to save his town. He is married to Béa (Emanuela von Frankenberg), the teacher of the kids who died in the avalanche. She had exited the bus to see why there was a traffic back up, so she was not in the accident. She has lost her mind, and wanders around the town and through the woods talking to the “kids”. Béa and Robert’s son Dani (Jonathan Loosli) is married, but still pines for Rosa, who he has loved since high school. Rosa’s parents are farmers in an unhappy marriage (Andreas Matti and Ruth Schwegler).There’s something in the past that caused a rift between Rosa and her mom, but we don’t know what it is until mid-season. Jakob (Julian Koechlin) is a creepy young man who films everyone and ends up knowing way more than he should. Armon is a renowned artist who has moved out of town. He returns for the party, and tells Rosa he needs to see her. It’s clear that there is a past between them, despite their wide age difference. For her part, Rosa left town years ago and is a cop in the nearby city. She is about to leave for California to attend profiling school when Armon is killed.

The Out of Towners

Karim is a wealthy businessman who was wooed to Oberweis by Susan Walter (Manuela Biedermann, a prosecutor from Bern who is about to serve a term at The Hague. She has brought Kägi (Marcus Signer), a federal cop, with her to Oberweis. Kägi is investigating Rashad for a terrorist attack in the middle east. Kägi is arrogant, brash and obsessed with Rashad. When Amina gets kidnapped, he and Rosa are supposed to work together to find her. Neither are happy about it, but unsurprisingly, they eventually form a bond. Kägi is surpised by how good a cop Rosa is, and Rosa needs a friend in town who is her intellectual equal. Although I like the Kägi and Rosa relationship, this storyline is flimsy as heck. Just because two cops happen to be in town, they get pressed into service when a crime is committed? And why would the prosecutor simultaneously bring Karim to Oberweis to save the town and allow a federal cop to investigate his bodyguard? Also, the terrorism story is confusing. Why was Kägi involved in the middle east? He’s not military. Meanwhile, although it appears that Amina killed Armon and then fled, Karim believes something nefarious happened to Amina, and Armon’s killer is someone else.

Our Take on Wilder

Wilder is a complex, engaging series with several plot threads weaving together. It is among the better of the “small town with secrets” shows out there. The character of Rosa is a dark horse. We don’t know anything about her life in the city. She seems like a good cop, or is it just that she knows the people of Oberweis so well? Her character reminds me of Louise Bergstom (Natalie Madueño) in the Danish Those Who Kill series-an unflappable stand-in for the audience to learn about the other players. It becomes clear to the audience immediately that something happened to Amina, yet we don’t know whether or not she killed Armon. Between those mysteries and whether or not the town will be saved by Karim’s investment, there is plenty of drama in Wilder, which is up to 3 seasons as of this writing. Although it doesn’t break new ground, I found the series compelling.

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