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TV Episode on the Social Credit System in a German Soap Opera Crime Thriller

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The topic of the social credit system is taken up in a humorous crime series on German state television.

On Saturday, February 20, 2021, the episode is not only available online, but can also be seen on television at 8:15 p.m. on Second German Television (ZDF).

The fictitious story: Georg Wilsberg (Leonard Lansink) is a passionate book antiquarian in the German city of Münster. Since he is always short of money, he also takes on jobs as a private detective. He often calls in his best friend Ekki (Oliver Korittke) and his goddaughter and niece Alex (Ina Paule Klink) for his investigations – often against their will.

Citizens who behave socially are credited with points, and they enjoy numerous privileges based on their point balance. When the general manager of the social credit company is suddenly found dead, Wilsberg is certain: It was murder.

The victim left an encrypted USB stick that Wilsberg found together with his client Christine Lau. Anna Springer is meanwhile suspended because her score is catastrophic. Nevertheless, with the help of Overbeck and Merle, she manages to decrypt part of the data on the USB stick.

The large corporation headed by Juliane Hell has been collecting incriminating material about important decision-makers for years. These were apparently put under pressure to get approval to publish the social credit app. In the media, however, the success of the app is still only reported unilaterally. What is this company up to?

Ekki is thrilled that his good behavior will finally be rewarded and is initially reluctant to help Wilsberg. He lets himself be persuaded to do an unpaid internship at the social credit company, but hopes to find exculpatory material instead of evidence of the murder. Alex, who works as a lawyer for the large corporation, is anything but happy about Ekki’s undercover investigation on behalf of Wilsberg. Security chief Adam Schenk is also targeting Ekki critically. But the citizens’ initiative against the social credit system around activist Bernd Anger has apparently been infiltrated by a mole.

Wilsberg sees no other chance than to publish all of the material as quickly as possible. And he is promptly in danger. Is the data on the stick so dangerous for the company that those responsible go to cover up corpses?

Actually, the shooting of the new ZDF crime thriller “Wilsberg” should already take place in April 2020 and that for two weeks. But then there was Corona and with the pandemic the lockdown, so no more shooting for now. In the meantime, shooting was taking place again in North Rhine-Westphalia, but only under very strict security requirements for teams and actors. That’s why the Wilsberg crew stayed in Münster for only three days this time, but at least one of the scenes filmed in Münster was all the more spectacular: the crime showdown in the Botanical Garden – as the film service Münster.Land found out about the production.

The 71st episode in total was staged as a science fiction comedy based on the script by David Ungureit by Dominic Müller. Above all, it thrives on the contrast between the supposedly good old days and the dangers that the Internet could bring with it.

Even if words are used in this film that sound like the social credit system in China, it has to be underlined that the story is fictitious and has nothing to do with reality in either China or Germany.