Throughout its second year as a leading entertainment streaming service, Topic continues to push the boundaries with its exclusive selection of thrillers, mysteries, dramas, and documentaries from around the world. After their successful “Summer of Suspense” and “Topic is Criminal” campaigns, they have shared programming from all over the world that the film watching public has craved, such as the original Danish cult hit, The Killing, which was finally introduced to the US and Canada for the first time through Topic. Featuring North American premieres, exclusive TV series and film, and programming from more than 40 countries, they showcase an unparalleled collection of creators, perspectives and experiences.
Topic has shared the below selection of their favorite releases from their 2021 slate for your end of year consideration. They also can’t wait to share what they have coming up in 2022, and hope you look forward to the excellent series and films that will be coming your way.
Philly D.A. is a multi-part Gotham Award-winning series that details the dramatic work inside the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner as he and his team work to end mass incarceration and transform the criminal justice system from the inside.
In 2017, Krasner, a civil rights attorney who sued the Philadelphia Police Department 75 times throughout his career, mounted a long shot campaign for and ultimately won the District Attorney’s seat in a city that has the highest incarceration rate of any large city in the United States. Philly D.A. brings viewers inside the emotional, high-stakes work that Krasner and an ensemble of idealistic outsiders from different walks of life take on as they attempt a fundamental overhaul of an expansive, entrenched criminal justice system. The series follows them undertaking this so-called “social experiment” as they push reforms such as prosecuting police misconduct and brutality, rethinking sentencing, probation and parole reform, minimizing the use of cash bail, and ending pursuit of the death penalty.
Verité documentary filmmakers Yoni Brook and Ted Passon fought for wide-ranging access inside the prosecutor’s office, carrying viewers along for the legal and political twists and turns that Krasner and his team face on their mission of change as they encounter political opposition, a stultifying bureaucracy, and a skeptical and untrusting public. Embedded with Krasner’s 2017 election campaign and filmed over the course of three years, the storylines move back and forth from inside the office into the lives of people who are directly impacted by the decisions made there; including those currently incarcerated and victims of crime.
Through real-time interviews with Krasner, his team, and those who disagree with his approach, including district attorney’s office personnel, sitting judges, police, and law enforcement officials who’ve served long before him, Philly D.A. captures a never-before-seen, in-depth look inside the justice system as an old and new guard clash. Over the course of the series, Philly D.A. pulls back the curtain on heated meetings, high-stakes decision-making and personal moments, as key figures grapple with solutions to social issues that are pressing and topical, including police brutality, the opioid crisis, gun violence, and mass incarceration. As the movement for criminal justice reform sweeps the nation, electing reform-minded prosecutors in cities like Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles, Philadelphia serves as a tale both cautionary and inspiring. The series debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, with its broadcast premiere in April of 2021 on ITVS’s flagship, Emmy award-winning documentary anthology series Independent Lens on PBS, followed by First Look Media’s streaming service Topic.
Directed by Ted Passon, Yoni Brook & Nicole Salazar
Produced by Nicole Salazar, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald, Ted Passon & Yoni Brook
Executive Produced by Ryan Chanatry, Gena Konstantinakos & Jeff Seelbach for Topic, as well as Dawn Porter, Patty Quillin, and Sally Jo Fifer & Lois Vossen for Independent Lens.
Music Composed by Dan Deacon
THE ACCIDENTAL WOLF: Season 2
(USA) – Available December 30
A Topic Original
Season 1 Available Now Exclusively on Topic
In The Accidental Wolf Season 2, six months have passed since Katie (O’Hara) answered a phone call that upended her life and put the fate of a pregnant and wounded stranger in her hands. Her family is threatening to medicate her and take away her daughter. Every lead has gone cold. Katie attempts to return to her old life, but a new faction emerges that pulls her deeper into the mystery of what happened on the fateful night of the unknown call and brings danger straight to her doorstep.
Directed and written by Arian Moayed (Succession, Spider-Man: No Way Home)
Executive Produced by Topic’s Ryan Chanatry, Topic’s Gena Konstantinakos, Damon Owlia & Gregory Franklin
Featuring Kelli O’Hara, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Judith Ivey, Zainab Jah, Judith Light, Laurie Metcalf, Sahr Ngaujah, Tavi Gevinson, Justin Bartha, Peter Friedman, Amy Landecker, and Denis O’Hare
TRANS IN TRUMPLAND
A Topic Original
Premiered February 25th, 2021
Trans in Trumpland examines the struggles and resilience of the transgender community under the Trump administration and features intersectional issues such as race, immigration, and poverty. The series, created by trans-owned production company TransWave Films, is directed by Tony Zosherafatain and produced by Jamie DiNicola. Trace Lysette (Hustlers, Transparent) executive produces alongside trans activists Miss Major Griffin-Gracy and Chella Man.
Each episode of the series focuses on a different trans person who is living in “Trumpland,” states where they face transphobic laws as well as discrimination and violence. Director Zosherafatain travels across the country, shedding light on the trans experience in America and also allowing him to come to terms with his own experience as a trans man. The series’ subjects run the intersectional gamut, from 13-year-old Ash in North Carolina, home to the infamously discriminatory “bathroom ban,” disallowing trans people from using the bathroom of their true gender, to Shane from Idaho; a Native American Army veteran who speaks out against the Trump administration’s trans military ban.
Executive Produced by Trace Lysette (Transparent, Hustlers), Chella Man, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Jason B. Kohl, Topic’s Ryan Chanatry, and Jeff Seelbach
Produced by Jamie DiNicola
Directed by Tony Zosherafatain
AN ORDINARY WOMAN
Original Title: Obychnaya zhenshchina
Premiered April 1, 2021
Marina is an ordinary woman, living in Moscow. But behind the veneer of her perfect family life lurk many dark secrets. She owns a flower shop, but her income really comes from running a clandestine Whatsapp network of prostitutes. An Ordinary Woman is the riveting story of how Marina copes as her carefully constructed house of cards begins to collapse around her.
2018 Series Mania Best Actress for Anna Mikhalkova
Best TV Mini-Series and Best TV Actress (Anna Mikhalkova) at the National Film and Television Producers Association Awards 2019 (Russia)
Directed by: Boris Khlebnikov, Nataliya Meshchaninova
Written by: Maria Melenevskaya, Denis Utochkin, Aleksandr Sobichevskiy
Starring: Anna Mikhalkova, Evgeniy Grishkovets, Tatyana Dogileva, Aleksandra Bortich
FIREPLACES OF THE WORLD
A Topic Original
Premiered November 18th, 2021
Synopsis: Fireplaces of the World is a series of episodes featuring video-wallpaper fires from around the world, reflecting the diverse looks of “hearth culture” which will be a more dynamic, global addition to the holiday-time fireplace video/television. Each episode is available in two formats: with music from the country or with only ambient sound/fire.
Production Companies: Daughter & Sons, Inc and Banter LLC
Director: Daniel Ainsworth
Producer: Haley Erickson
Executive Producers: Ryan Chanatry, Adam Kurland, Matt Wyatt, Garrett Shannon, Ryan Ovadia
Editor: Daniel Ainsworth
BARON NOIR – SEASON 3
Premiered March 4, 2021
French politician Philippe Rickwaert (Kad Merad) thirsts for revenge against his political enemies in this suspenseful, epic drama from creators and writers Eric Benzekri and Jean-Baptiste Delafon (Maison Close).
Philippe’s political career is in shambles after he is sacrificed by presidential candidate Francis Laugier (Niels Arestrup) during the election. As Philippe plots against him, forging alliances and cultivating friendships across social strata, his life becomes a fascinating, organized chaos, and a constant battle against his enemies and his own demons.
Directed by: Zlad Doueiri
Written by: Eric Benzekri, Jean-Baptiste Delafon
Starring: Kad Merad, Niels Arestrup, Anna Mouglalis
Produced by: Eric Benzekri
BEAU SÉJOUR Season 2
A Topic Original
Premiered September 30th
Seven years after abandoning his family, Maurice wakes up on his boat “Beau Séjour” to find his own body hanging from the mast. Caught between life and death, he sets out to find the truth while confronting the pain he’s caused in his wake.
Co-Directed by Nathalie Basteyns & Kaat Beels
Written by Sanne Nuyens, Roel Mondelaers & Bert Van Dael
Starring Gene Bervoets, Katelijne Verbeke, Emilie De Roo, Alice Teirlinck, Britt Teirlinck, Jasper Greeve, Maurice’s grandson, Titus De Voogd, Janne Desmet
Original Title: Bron / Broen
Premiered July 8, 2021
A woman is found murdered in the middle of the Øresund Bridge – right on the border between Sweden and Denmark. The Swedish and Danish police are called to the scene. What at first looks like one murder, turns out to be two. The bodies have been brutally cut in half at the waist and put together to form a single corpse. This spectacular double murder is just the beginning of a wave of violence the like of which no one has ever seen before. The Swedish and Danish police find themselves in a race against the clock in a deadly showdown with a superior enemy, where no one will be the same when it’s over.
Directed by Rumle Hammerich
Conceptual director Henrik Georgsson
Starring Sofia Helin, Kim Bodnia, Rafael Pettersson and Sarah Boberg
DARK WOODS – Season 1
Original Title: Das Geheimnis des Totenwaldes
Premiered May 13, 2021
In the summer of 1989, Barbara Neder, the sister of high-ranking Hamburg police officer Thomas Bethge, disappears from her home without a trace. Shortly before this, two couples had been cruelly murdered in nearby woodlands. Suspicion quickly falls on artist Hans Lingner, who is living on the edge of the forest and is a gun enthusiast. However, the links between the earlier murder cases, the “Killer Forest” and Barbara’s disappearance are not initially picked up by the investigators. Instead, the police begin to suspect Barbara’s husband Robert who was in the process of divorcing his wife. Their daughter Theresa has been hit hard by her mother’s disappearance and the suspicions surrounding her father, making her too, believe that her father may be her mother’s murderer.
Meanwhile, the missing woman’s brother – Head of the Hamburg State Office of Criminal Investigation – Thomas Bethge – faces the most difficult task of his life, because as a Hamburg police officer, he is not permitted to investigate a crime in Lower Saxony where Barbara has disappeared. Neither can he stand idly by. He seeks support from his colleagues Anne Back and Frank Behringer. Bethge’s quest for justice continues long after his retirement as he and his team eventually, through painstaking and meticulous research, finally get on the track of a suspected serial killer.
Directed by: Sven Bohse (Ku’damm 56)
Written by: Stefan Kolditz
Starring: Matthias Brandt (Babylon Berlin), Karoline Schuch, August Wittgenstein (Das Boot), Silke Bodenbender, Nicholas Ofczarek (Pagan Peak), Jenny Schily (Tatort), Hildegard Schmahl (We Children from Bahnhof Zoo), Hanno Koffler, Anne Werner, Janina Fautz, and Mirco Kreibich
Produced by: Maren Knieling
Original Title: Pereval Dyatlova
Premiered September 2, 2021
Based on the declassified files of the real-life case, The Dyatlov Pass Incident, which had people spinning wild theories all over the world for more than 60 years, ranging from avalanches, to secret weapon tests, to alien interference.
January 1959, Soviet Union. In the icy Ural Mountains, a group of nine students sets out on a ski trek. Even though they all are well-experienced hikers, they never reach their destination. As their bodies turn up a month later, it leaves local investigators puzzled. Their tent was cut open from the inside, they are found frozen stiff in their underwear spread around the camp, some are even partially mangled. Whom or what did they run from? Why did they die, and how? When Oleg, a KGB major, arrives in the province, his inquiry is to be held strictly confidential. Troubled by his past as a WWII veteran, he has a sixth sense and death seems to follow him around as he digs deeper into the mysterious incident. With the help of Katya, the local medical examiner, Oleg is hell-bent on finding the truth. But the more he learns, the more it becomes clear: The reason the students died will never see the light of day. No one can ever know what really happened. No one. Except him.
Director by Evgeny Nikishov
Written by Ilya Kulikov, Alexsandr Sysoev and Vasiliy Vnukov
Produced by Valeriy Fedorovich and Evgeniy Nikishov
Starring Mariya Lugovaya, Aleksey Bardukov, Ivan Mulin and Pyotr Fyodorov
FOLLOW THE MONEY
Original Title: Bedrag
Premiered June 10, 2021
With lead writer Jeppe Gjervig Gram, co-writer of Borgen, and series producer Anders Toft Andersen with his experience from The Bridge and The Killing, Follow the Money is a series that takes us into the world of economic crime in the banks, on the stock exchanges, and in the boardrooms. It is the story of speculators, swindlers, corporate moguls, and the crimes they commit in their pursuit of wealth. It is the story of ambition that corrupts, and of the way organized criminals launder their ill-gotten gains.
A major Danish sustainable energy company has had an enormous, suspect growth. Problems start, when an employee’s body is found, and cop detective Mads Justesen starts investigating Energreen.
Directed by Søren Balle, Jannik Johansen and Mads Kamp Thulstrup
Written by Jeppe Gjervig Gram, Jannik Tai Mosholtand Anders Frithiof August
Starring Esben Smed, Thomas Hwan, Thomas Bo Larsen, Natalie Madueño
THE GRAVE: SEASON 1
Original Title: Ba’ Yom ShehaAdama Raada
Premiered January 14, 2021
When an earthquake unburies three skeletons, an investigation unfolds that defies all logic and a group of interconnected people are thrown into a mind-bending mystery filled with inexplicable phenomena.
Directed by: Omri Givon
Written by: Nimrod Eldar, Omri Givon
Produced by: Moshe Danonm Chayim Sharir
Starring: Liana Ayun, Nadav, Netz, Shalom Michaelshwilli, Tsahi Halevi, Michal Kalman
|HOSTAGES: Season 1|
Original Title: Bnei Aruba
Premiered October 14, 2021
When four masked men violently break into the Danon family home taking them hostage, the family of four will be shaken to the core and their lives changed forever.
The mysteriously masked men demand that Yael, the matriarch of this family and brilliant surgeon, kill the prime minister in what’s meant to be a routine surgery. The clock is ticking with the operation scheduled for the following day and if the Prime Minister is not dead, her family will be. Yael, a committed mother above all else, will do anything to protect her family. However, she is a woman guided by a strong moral compass, so she manages to outsmart her kidnappers and postpone the surgery by a few days while keeping her family alive. But this is just the beginning of a battle of the wills between Yael and the kidnapper’s leader, Adam Rubin. It is discovered that Adam is a SWAT officer gone rogue, seemingly employed by outside sources to ensure the Prime Minister be taken out. During this terrifying time in which the kidnappers and hostages are bound together, a tangled web of secrets and lies is revealed.
As Yael fights to free her family she finds out the truth behind Adam’s secret agenda. Adam’s wife, Neta is in critical care and needs a bone marrow transplant from the one man that can save her life – the man who shares her DNA, the man who raped her mother… the prime minister. Yael and Adam discover a commonality in their bitter rivalry — that both are willing to do whatever it takes for their families. They become unlikely partners and together they succeed in falsifying the death of the prime minister and abducting him for the transplant. Both the Danons and kidnappers have narrowly escaped with their lives for now, but there are other eyes watching and no one is truly safe.
Directed by Omri Givon & Rotem Kapoon
Produced by Yezirah Ivrit
Starring Yair Lotan, Tomer Kapon & Ayelet Zurer (Man of Steel, Daredevil)
HOSTAGES: Season 2
Original Title: Bnei Aruba
Premiered November 18, 2021
A new season for the suspense and action-drama series. Adam Rubin, an accomplished SWAT officer who has abducted the Prime Minister in order to save his wife’s life, finds himself in the midst of a hostage situation, but this time it is him surrounded by large police forces, among them some of his best friends. Adam is stuck with the Prime Minister in an abandoned Yeshiva building on the outskirts of Jerusalem. His wife’s medical condition is deteriorating, and he has to get out of there to save her life. He has no plan of action, and every moment passing sinks him deeper into quicksand. Even if he manages to extricate them from the trouble, they’re in, he’ll discover that the real troubles await him outside.
Directed by Omri Givon & Rotem Kapoon
Produced by Yezirah Ivrit
Starring Yair Lotan & Tomer Kapon
Original Title: Forbrydelsen
Premiered August 12, 2021
Exclusively Only on Topic in North America
The brutal murder of a young girl launches an extended police investigation. Detective Sarah Lund is supposed to leave for a new life in Sweden but can’t bring herself to leave the case behind. The girl’s parents and friends struggle to cope with their loss. Troels Hartmann is campaigning to be mayor of Copenhagen but struggles when links are revealed between city hall and the murder. Over a time, a span of twenty days, suspect upon suspect is sought out as violence and political pressures cast their shadows over the hunt for the killer. Two more seasons follow about a series of killings of soldiers and the abduction of an industrial magnate’s daughter.
Directed by Kristoffer Nyholm and Fabian Wullenweber
Starring Sofie Gråbøl, Morten Suurballe, Lars Mikkelsen and Bjarne Henriksen
KILLING THE FATHER
Original Title: Matar al Padre
Premiered January 28, 2021
Some fathers are the glue of the house; Jacobo Vidal is a wrecking ball. He loves his family, but he shows it by obsessing over their every move. Over 16 years, as the world changes and his children grow up, his relentless ways could cost him everything.
Through a portrait of this family, we witness the profound changes that have shaken Spanish society between the 1990s and the present, with the advent of the economic and political crises in the background.
‘Matar al padre’ shows the story of Jacobo Vidal, an authoritarian lawyer in his work and in his family, who wants to have control of all areas of his life and those around him, especially his children Valeria and Tomás. At the time of post-Olympic Barcelona, he will have no qualms about overcoming all obstacles that may arise so that the well-being of his family fits in with his vision of life. But fifteen years later, in the economic crisis, Jacobo will realize that his life is not as planned: his wife has thrown him out of the house, his son has given himself to alternative therapies, his daughter wants to live away from him and above it, he is ruined and homeless. For all this, he begins to question his way of seeing life.
Directed by: Mar Coll
Written by: Mar Coll, Diego Vega Vidal, Valentina Viso
Starring: Gonzalo de Castro, Paulina Garcia, Marcel Borras, Greta Fernandez, Pol Lopez
Produced by: Fran Araujo, Ismael Calleja, Sergi Casamitjana, Domingo
LA LÍNEA INVISIBLE
Premiered February 18, 2021
7th of June of 1968. ETA’s leader – Txabi Etxebarrieta, crosses the “invisible line” by killing the Galician Civil Guard José Antonio Pardines, the first of over 850 victims murdered by the terrorist organization. A few hours later, Txabi Etxebarrieta himself is taken down in a shooting with the Guardia Civil, thus becoming the first terrorist to kill and the first to die in the history of ETA.
From “What the Future Holds” creator Mariano Barroso, the series boasts some of Spain’s most-awarded cinematic talent in front of the camera, including Antonio de la Torre, a recent Spanish Academy Goya and Platino Award winner for his tour de force lead in “The Kingdom”; Alex Monner (“Unauthorized Living”), Anna Castillo, a standout in Iciar Bollaín’s “The Olive Tree”; and Patricia López Arnaiz, one to watch for after standout performances in “The Plague” and Alejandro Amenábar’s “While at War.”
Directed & Written by: Mariano Barroso (The Wolves of Washington)
Written by: Abel Garcia Roure, Michel Gatzmbide, Alejandro Hernandez
Premiered May 20th, 2021
The film follows Sean (White) and Casey (Connolly), a typical budding couple in a small town in New Zealand. They met via an app, one date has led to another, and they are slowly introducing each other to their friends. There is one problem: Sean is widely presumed to have murdered his whole family. While Sean has to deal with a suspicious town, a dogged but bumbling sheriff, and an overzealous tabloid reporter, he wants nothing more than to prove his love to Casey by legally proving his innocence.
CAST: Loren Taylor, David White, Robyn Malcom, Alice May Connolly, Jack Sergent-Shadbolt, Peter Hambleton, Rima Te Wiata, Aaron Cortesi
DIRECTOR: David White
WRITERS: David White, Henry Feltham
PRODUCERS: Kelly Martin, Aaron Watson, David White
LOS ÚLTIMOS FRIKIS
(USA / Cuba)
Premiered September 16, 2021
Filmed in Cuba over the course of ten years, Los Últimos Frikis tells the story of iconic Cuban heavy metal band Zeus and their three-decade fight to be heard. When Zeus formed in the 1980s, rock music was illegal and rockers were derisively called los frikis—the freaks. Fidel Castro’s communist government saw rock and roll as a mortal threat sent by a capitalist enemy. In the face of repression, Zeus rose to infamy as a counter-cultural phenomenon but paid a price. Zeus’s lead singer, Dionisio “Diony” Arce, spent six years in prison at the height of his career. Today, the band is part of the system as an official group within the Ministry of Culture’s Agency of Cuban Rock. As Cuba’s political and social climate goes through historic change, the band embarks on a national tour across the island to defend their cultural impact and livelihood—to prove that frikis still have a voice in Cuba.
Directed by Nicholas Brennan
Produced by John Logan Pierson
Executive Produced by Alex Gibney, W. Wilder Knight, Joey Carey, Andrew Beck, and Dave Lombardo
Scored by Slayer’s Dave Lombardo
Premiered October 28, 2021
Inside the Crime Paris Nord unit, Julie Susini and her team track down a gang of bank robbers that use the sewers to get away with their loot. But just when she is about to catch them, she suddenly disappears as though swallowed up by the belly of the city without a trace. Julie’s mother and former cop, Catherine, aided by Julie’s partner, Raphaël, launch into a terrifying adventure navigating this hellish maze deep in the bowels of the city with the allures of an infernal treasure hunt. Because, crouching in the abyss, hides a monster with a human face.
Created by Fred Cavayé and Quoc Dang Tran
Starring Nathalie Baye, Malik Zidi, Maïween, Frédéric Pierrot and Damien Chapelle
Premiered March 18, 2021
Samy, a young parliamentary assistant, arrives in Brussels a few weeks after the Brexit referendum. He is obviously not fit for the job. In fact, Samy doesn’t know much about European institutions and he hopes to get away with it thanks to his wit and cleverness… Well, through luck: he gets quickly assigned an obscure mission: write a report on finning (the act of removing fins from sharks and discarding the rest of the animal).
How do you get a report adopted at the European Parliament? Samy has no clue. He has six months to make it, six months to master the secrets of the Parliament.
Directed by: Elilie Noblet, Jeremie Sein
Written by: Daran Johnson, Helene Zylberait, Maxime Calligaro, Pierre Dorac, Noe Debre
Based on an original idea by Noe Debre
Starring: Liz Kingsman, Xavier Lacaille, Lucas Englander, Christiane Paul, Philippe Duquesne, Carole Weyers, Shane Woodward
Produced by: Artemis Productions Belgium
Original Title: Sahsiyet
Premiered December 2, 2021
A mysterious crime and coverup connects Agâh, an ordinary man in poor health, to Nevra, a female homicide detective, forcing them both to dig deep into their pasts. Each embarks on their own path to justice.
Directed by Onur Saylak
Produced by Kerem Catay
Starring Haluk Bilginer, Cansu Dere, Metin Akdulger, Sebnem Bozoklu and Necip Memili
THE WORDMAKER: Season 1
Original Title: Hazoref
Premiered April 15, 2021
One night, Ari, a psychiatrist specializing in sleep disorders, falls asleep in his bed and wakes up a few hours later in a bar, having no recollection of how he got there. Now he has to deal with his repressed traumatic past whilst an investigation is being conducted into a series of murders, all mysteriously connected to him. In order to find answers, Ari must go back to the Kabbalah center which was once managed by ‘The Wordmaker’, and nowadays by his father and the Wordmaker’s daughter.
Complex family dynamics come to light when Dr. Ari Milus, a family man and a professor of sleep disorders, wakes up one night at a bar, with no memory of how he got there. He goes back to his old neighborhood in Jerusalem to consult with the doctor who treated his childhood parasomnia, but in the morning the doctor is found dead, and Dr. Milus is the prime suspect. A series of murders forces him to confront his troubled past within a religious sect, led by a charismatic and revered figure named “The Wordmaker” – a man who disappeared and whose actions led to the death of Dr. Milus’s mother.
Directed and Written by: Dror Sabo (Dead End)
Starring: Shira Haas (Unorthodox), Lior Ashkenazi (Big Bad Wolves), Adir Miller (Traffic Light), Moshe Ashkenazi (Dumb), Noa Barkai (The Bubble), Yonatan Bashan (Bnei Aruba), Yahav Friedman (Underwater)
Produced by: Udi Yerushalmy (S#x Acts), Asaf Nawi (Sisters)