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Bad Banks (TV Series)

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Bad Banks
GenreFinancial drama
Created byOliver Kienle
Jana Burbach
Jan Galli
Based onidea by Lisa Blumenberg
Directed byChristian Schwochow
Country of originGerman
Original language(s)German
No. of episodes6
Production
Production location(s)Germany, Luxemburg
DistributorFederation Entertainment
Release
Original networkZDF

Bad Banks is a German series created by Oliver Kienle.[1]

Premise[edit | edit source]

Jana Liekam (Paula Beer) is a young, talented investment banking deal structurer fired from her job at a Luxembourg bank, Crédit International, for upstaging Luc Jacoby (Marc Limpach) who she is an assistant to. She is taken under the wing of her female former boss, Christelle Leblanc (Désirée Nosbusch). Through Leblanc's connections Jana is immediately hired by Deutsche Global Invest (DGI) in Frankfurt. Working in the investment division, Jana must prove herself to her aggressive, risk-taking American-born boss, Gabriel Fenger (Barry Atsma). The work consumes her, forcing her to give up her previous life, including her boyfriend and his five-year-old daughter, Flo. Soon, Jana is leading her own team which includes salesman Adam Pohl (Albrecht Schuch) and analyst Thao Hoang (Mai Duong Kieu). With inside information provided by Leblanc, Jana succeeds. Soon, she is putting together a €6 billion investment bonds sale in just four weeks for “Leipzig2025,” Mayor Peter Schultheiß’s swan song project for his city. The help comes at a price, as Leblanc begins to make demands for information, using blackmail to keep Jana in line.[2][3]

Cast[edit | edit source]

Main[edit | edit source]

  • Paula Beer as Jana Liekam, a young, talented instement banking deal structurer
  • Désirée Nosbusch as Christelle Leblanc, an executive at Crédit International who seems to help Jana but is really pulling strings.
  • Barry Atsma as Gabriel Fenger, the aggressive risk-taking head the DGI's investment division
  • Marc Limpach as Luc Jacoby, Jana's former boss, son of a Crédit International trustee and an addict
  • Mai Duong Kieu as Thao Hoang, an analyst at DGI and part of Jana's team
  • Albrecht Schuch as Adam Pohl, a salesman at DGI and part of Jana's team
  • Jörg Schüttauf as Peter Schultheiß, mayor of Leipzig

Other[edit | edit source]

  • Jeff Wilbusch as Noah Weisz, Jana's boyfriend in Luxembourg, who has a five year-old daughter
  • Tobias Moretti as Quirin Sydow, a DGI trustee who has a past with Fenger, and sets him up to be complicit in an illegal deal

[4]

Episodes[edit | edit source]

Season 1 (2018)[edit | edit source]

No.TitleDirected byWritten by
1"Fired"Christian SchwochowJana Burbach, Jan Galli, Oliver Kienle
The episode starts with ATMs running out of money, followed by the streets and then the offices of a bank seeing panic. Flashback eight weeks: Jane Liekam is a young, talented investment banking deal structurer fired from her job at a Luxembourg bank, Crédit International (CI), for upstaging Luc Jacoby who she is an assistant to. She is taken under the wing of her female former executive, Christelle Leblanc. Through Leblanc's connections Jana is immediately hired by Deutsche Global Invest (DGI) in Frankfurt. To get the job in the investment division, Jana must prove herself to her aggressive, risk-taking American-born boss, Gabriel Fenger. The work consumes her, and she neglects her boyfriend and his five-year-old daughter, who still live in Luxembourg. Soon, Jana is leading her own team which includes salesman Adam Pohl and analyst Thao Hoang. They create a product that completes against a product being sold by Jana's old boss, Jacoby. At CI, Lablanc helps undercut Jacoby. Now under pressure to close, Jacoby changes some of the analysis. After a horrible, drug fueled presentation to a client Jacoby is arrested for fraud. Jana's product is a success and she is formally hired by DGI. That night she receives a surprise visit from Leblanc. [5]
2"Follow the Junk"Christian SchwochowJana Burbach, Jan Galli, Oliver Kienle
Leblanc lures Jana with insider information about an billion-euro deal that the industry knows nothing of yet, “Leipzig2025”. Lablanc's offer comes with a price: Jana’s new employer is manipulating its balance sheet and Jana will need to provide evidence of this. Jana does not explicitly agree, but "follows the junk" out of curiosity, finding a fund called Quaestus. The next morning Fenger asks Jana and Thao would new projects they are going to pursue. Jana tells Fenger about Leipzig2025. Fenger and Jana arrange for the Leipzig2025 committee to listen to their proposal, but Jana only has a week to put the bond product together. While the team works on that, the DGI board speaks to Fenger about the upcoming shareholder's meeting--they claim shareholders want stability, not truth. Fenger wants to look into the bank's liabilities. Jana meets alone with Peter Schultheiß, mayor of Leipzig. She deduces he has cancer, as her own mother had, and knows he wants to close the deal before he dies. She promises four weeks, to which he agrees. At DGI, Jana's team is at odds. Thao sees Jana as a rival. They go out drinking, and Jana finally threatens Thao, pointing out how women often destroy each other instead of working together. The next morning Thao sides with Jana when Adam complains about the four week deadline. Throughout, Jana is taking pills and seemingly getting ill. The board sells a number of junk bonds to an hedge fund called Silver Mountain, which Fenger signs off on. Later, Fenger finds out the truth--the management group is owned by DGI. By signing, he has committed fraud. At the stockholders' meeting, Fenger yells at Jana for making that promise. Later, he goes off script to the shareholders, realizing Jana was right and declaring his investment division will take risks because that's how you make money. DGI's stock goes up. Lablanc tells Jana she must get information about DGI or she'll ruin Jana's career. Going to meet with Lablanc, Jana collapses in the hallway of the hotel. [6]
3"The Man From London"Christian SchwochowJana Burbach, Jan Galli, Oliver Kienle
Jana wakes up in Lablanc's hotel room and is told no one saw her collapse. At DGI, Jana is put in charge of the Leipzig2025 effort. Personal issues come up. As Jana is too busy for him, her boyfrind grows close to his ex-wife. Thao's family treats her with contempt. Lablanc berates her son for stuttering. Adam feels trapped by his growing family. Lablanc finds proof that Silver Mountain is a front. Jana’s research on DGI is beginning to unveil its shady practices, but Leblanc wants more proof. Following a successful presentation to investors, a drunk Fenger attacks Mohammad, an accountant friend of Jana. Jana drives a drunk Mohammad home, and accesses his phone while passed out. There she finds the signed Silver Mountain forms and proof of fraud. More personal issues intervene. Adam has drinks with a colleague, who then threatens to send his wife incriminating photos if his firm's offer is rejected. Thao pursues a college student after a tryst, but he is cold to her. Jacoby flirts with his bartender and they go out to dinner. Jana has a panic attack and Fenger talks her down. Jana talls Lablanc that she has the information, and Lablanc supplies the investor Jana needs to close her current billion-euro deal – a British hedge fund manager, Felix Bender. Fenger rejects Adam's colleague's offer. When Alex takes control of the Bender sale, Jana gives him a shot laced with chili, knowing Alex is allergic. Now alone, Jana brings Bender to a more relaxed club, where Bender agrees to buy shares. Thao shows up at the college student's house. When he rejects her, Thao attacks him and his flatmate. She is arrested and has Jana bail her out. The offer rejected, Adam's colleague sends the photos to his wife. Walking home, Jana sees a board member of Crédit International shaking hands with a board member of DGI. At the end, Lablanc is talking with another man, looking at Jana's resume and that of another young man. [7]
4"Old Debts"Christian SchwochowJana Burbach, Jan Galli, Oliver Kienle
Jana finds out a secret merger is ongoing between her bank and DGI, and that Leblanc knew all along, using her to discredit Fenger. Because it would hurt many people, Jana refuses to help. The emotional toll of work affects everyone. Adam becomes unhinged after his wife kicks him out, and is fired for trying to push down the bond price for his colleague. Jacoby tries to cut old ties and clean up his life. Working late, Fenger makes a pass at Jana, but is rebuffed. Later, Jana tries to call her boyfriend Noah but gets his voicemail, as he was having an affair with his ex-wife at the time. Mayor Schultheiß threatens to sue if the bond sale is postponed. Quirin Sydow, a DGI trustee, finds out Jana has been asking questions about Silver Mountain. He orders Fenger to fire her, but Fenger refuses, bristling at having been made complicit in the sale and needing Jana for the Leipzig2025 project. Sydow notes Jana's similarity to Fenger's fiance, who died years earlier in a car accident. Fenger confronts Jana, who tells her about Leblanc, and the merger. Jacoby shows up at Jana's apartment to make amends. When Jana calls him out on his past behavior it is revealed he did not have Jana fired, but Lablanc did. Jana leaves a message for Noah saying she'll quit and return after Leipzig2025 is done. She visits Jacoby and offers him Adam's vacant salesman job, and then goes to Lablanc's home. Lablanc tells Jana that with the merger Lablanc will be sidelined unless Fenger is removed, so she fired Jana and got her the DGI job so Jana would dig up dirt to destroy Fenger. She then threatens Jana, who reveals she has recorded the entire conversation. She hides the files on a thumb drive. Jacoby takes the job, but fears he will return to old ways. His father demands Fenger fire him, as he wants his son back. Desperate, Lablanc tries to hire someone to kill Jana. [8]
5"The Hardest Currency"Christian SchwochowJana Burbach, Jan Galli, Oliver Kienle
Adam participates in a group fight club. When Jacoby is lackluster in his sales, Jana reaches out to Adam, but, like Jacoby, he questions what the job has dones to them as human beings. Jana confronts Jacoby about his work, who tells her that they are all going to fired after the deal closes and, if so, wonders why they should bother. Mayor Schultheiß tells his wife he will step down after the bond sales go through. Jana calls him a rick kid and a quitter. Jacoby responds by becoming his old salesman self. Taking a night off, Jana tries to surprise Noah with a visit, only to find him with his ex-wife. She then goes to Adam with a plan. The two fly to London and create a deal with Felix Bender to illegally manipulate DGI's stock price for profit. Richard, of the German Supervisory Authority, starts asking questions about Silver Mountain, so Sydow tries to bribe him with a car and escort. Instead, it backfires. Sydow confronts Jana, late, at her apartment. She seemingly has a breakdown, rambling about her mother's death, causing Sydow to leave. DGI sells all of the Leipzig2025 bonds. Initially hesitant at releasing the Silver Mountain documents, Fenger's refusal to to stand behind her pushes her to leak them. That night Noah tires to reconcile with Jana, but both are jumped by people Leblanc hires to kill her. Adam stops them, but Jana's apartment is ransacked. Jacoby's girlfriend breaks up with him, saying she does not understand his world and not wanting him to sacrifice for her's. The next day DGI stock falls, and people sell off their Leipzig2025 bonds. The markets go in freefall. [9]
6"The Lion's Den"Christian SchwochowJana Burbach, Jan Galli, Oliver Kienle
Sydow is about the commit suicide, but is interrupted by Richard, of the Supervisory Authority, who offers to help shift blame to Fenger. Jana discovers all of her evidence about Lablanc has been erased, except for the thumb drive hidden at DGI. There is a run on the banks; the story now where the first episode began. Going back to DGI for the thumb drive, Jana finds it gone. Going to London, Jana and Adam are given €2 million each by Bender as their cut. Jana feels guilt while Adam is more philosophical. While Fenger visits, a drunk Sydow goads him about his dead fiance, causing Fenger to beat him up. He then shows up at Jana's and the two have sex. At the investigative hearings Sydow has set Fenger up to take the blame for DGI's fall, while Richard writes a report saying the same. Leblanc positions herself as the Government takes over the merger negotiations. Jacoby seems to be going mad. Meeting with Thao, Jana and Adam lay out a plan to be loyal to each other for their mutual benefits. To get Thao to trust them the two tell her about their insider trading, giving her leverage over them. Fenger is arrested while CI and DGI merge, with Leblanc taking Fenger's position. Jana meets with her, asking for a job and promising success while actually plotting revenge. She also warns her of Sydow and recommends keeping Jacoby. Later, Jana, Adam and Thao drink to their futures as they hear the protests on the streets below Jana's apartment. In the end, Mayor Schultheiß, who had disappeared with the failure of the Leipzig2025 bonds, has left with his wife, but dies in Italy by a dumpster. [10]

Production[edit | edit source]

Federation Entertainment is handling international sales of the series. Over 40 countries worldwide have bought it, including Hulu in the United States.[11]

Reception[edit | edit source]

In Australia, SBS pushed the series as relevant and fast-paced. [12] The Sydney Morning Herald agreed, naming it "Our Pick". [13]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Bad Banks (TV miniseries)". Film Affinity. Film Affinity. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  2. "Euro TV to Watch: Excellent German Thriller "Bad Banks"".
  3. "Bad Banks: Episode List". IMBD. IMBD. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  4. "IMBD "Band Banks" Full Cast and Crew".
  5. "Bad Banks Fired". Hulu. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  6. "Bad Banks Follow the Junk". Hulu. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  7. "Bad Banks The Man From London". Hulu. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  8. "Bad Banks Old Debt". Hulu. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  9. "Bad Banks The Hardest Currency". Hulu. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  10. "Bad Banks The Lion's Den". Hulu. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  11. "Hulu Takes U.S. Rights to German Series 'Bad Banks'".
  12. "Forget your morals and get ready to pay — 'Bad Banks' has arrived". SBS. SBS. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  13. "Our Pick: free-to-air: Bad Banks". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 July 2018.


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