Set in the 1980s and 1990s and based on real events, this 6 x 60-minute crime drama tells the true story of Arno Funke, better known to the world as Scrooge the department store extortionist.
Becoming an international media sensation and dubbed the ‘DuckTales Bandit’ by The New Yorker, Funke (played here by Friedrich Mücke) built bombs in his kitchen and set them off in high-end department stores during the night as leverage for extortion.
But what is most striking about Funke was his inventiveness. “He builds remote-controlled money delivery devices, rail vehicles, mini-submarines and dummies. His money transfers are reminiscent of film dramas that play out like comedies,” explains Dominik Frankowski, producer at Zeitsprung Pictures.
“It is the longest and most elaborate extortion case in German criminal history. At the beginning of the 1990s, a so far unprecedented media hype arises around Scrooge. In surveys, the majority of Germans take his side. A pop song is written about him. People walk around in ‘I Am Scrooge’ t-shirts. A story that was just waiting to be told in an exciting high-end mini-series.”
After he escapes with a huge sum, Detectives Çoban and Strack are hot on Funke’s heels, but the criminal soon learns that money can’t buy happiness.
“It is important for us to say that even though we are emotionally with Arno, we do not glorify his deeds and critically question his attitude. On the surface, the series lives from the cat-and-mouse game, the viewer shadows the mastermind who has led national police astray for years. But that is only the introduction to our world. The series shows the human being Arno Funke, who is very different from the person suspected behind the phantom,” adds Frankowski.
Julia Herb, VP of sales & acquisitions at Beta Film, says that the series is a “universal story of small against big” and suggests that the appeal for international audiences will be because it is “something they have never seen before. If it hadn’t happened like this, no one would believe it.”
Producer: Zeitsprung Pictures
Distributor: Beta Film
Broadcaster: RTL & RTL+ (Germany)
Logline: Fact-based crime drama following the pursuit of infamous extortionist Arno ‘Scrooge’ Funke