Behzat Ç: Maverick TV detective makes screen debut

Behzat Ç: Maverick TV detective makes screen debut

Behzat Ç: Maverick TV detective makes screen debut

The film, a favorite at the recent Golden Orange Film Festival, brings back the cigarettes and takes out the beeps, letting audience hear for the first time the impressive collection of swear words Behzat Ç. and his team use. Company photo

"Behzat Ç. Seni Kalbime Gömdüm” (Behzat Ç. I Buried You In My Heart) might just be the most anticipated Turkish movie for quite some time, filling in movie theaters since last Friday. The film is attracting not just the moviegoers, but followers of Turkish TV and some devoted readers.

Behzat Ç. first won the hearts of little more than a handful readers as the protagonist (or more like the antagonist) in novice writer Emrah Serbes’s detective novel, “Behzat Ç. Her Temas İz Bırakır” (Every Touch Leaves A Trace), published in 2006. The book was promoted as “an Ankara crime story,” and featured a maverick homicide detective, the Behzat Ç. in the title, an unlikely anti-hero who immediately earned his own cult followers among modern Turkish literature.

He was street-wise, scarred for life, who set his own rules when solving a crime, with a little bit of penchant for violence. While his peers whom he had worked in the eighties had risen up the ladders in the police department, he had stayed a detective thanks to his rebellious and impulsive personality.

The second novel, and the last one so far, in the series “Behzat Ç. Son Hafriyat” (The Final Excavation) met the readers in 2008. Bringing in further devoted readers and making new fans of its protagonist, the second book led to the popular series of the last season.

Co-created by Serbes himself and Serdar Akar, the acclaimed director of such movies like “Gemide” (On Board) and “Barda” (In the Bar), the series debuted on September 2010. With its against-the-grain characters and dark stories, the series’ rise to popularity was slow but strong, eventually becoming one of the most popular shows on Turkish TV.

Behzat Ç. solves crimes in and around Ankara with his team of six, each more colorful than the other, as well as the public prosecutor Esra, one of his many love interests. He’s foul-mouthed, doesn’t refrain from violence, and is not someone to use a refined language, the beeps over the swear words spread over each episode. He and his team like the occasional romping in the night haunts, enjoying their booze, mostly rakı, and the company of women. While a smoker in the novels, Behzat Ç. had to leave his packs of cigarettes at home for the series due to strict laws of displaying cigarettes on TV.

The film, a favorite in the recent Golden Orange Film Festival, brings back the cigarettes and takes out the beeps, having the audience hear for the first time the impressive collection of swear words Behzat Ç. and his team use. The team is in intact, and the plot doesn’t start from where the season finale left off, making sure that the anticipation is still there for the upcoming season, kicking off in late November.

Extended episode of series

“Behzat Ç. Seni Kalbime Gömdüm” works more like an extended episode of the TV show, a more free exercise in dialogue, story, and offering a chance to see Behzat Ç. in his underwear. The out-and-about homicide detective and his team go after a serial killer when the body of an old woman buried in a coffin is found in Ankara’s Gençlik Park. They soon find out that the killer, calling himself Red Kit (Turkish translation of the Belgian comic book character Lucky Luke) is after revenge against some of the people in the police force.

Once again, Ankara, otherwise an overlooked city in Turkish cinema despite being the capital city, takes center stage. For the Istanbul elite, Ankara might still be a small town with no hint of the chaos that drives Istanbul. But for the writers of Turkey’s modern literature, Ankara continues to be an inspiration where time often seems to be suspended.

Having stayed true to the spirit of the novels and keeping Ankara the location pay off in the movie as well. The mixture of green parks with grey streets makes for perfect setting for a crime story.

The film undoubtedly will satisfy the die-hard fans of the novels and the series. Having proved his talent in action with such films like “Kurtlar Vadisi – Irak” (The Valley of the Wolves – Iraq), Akar offers a film that shines in pace even if he gives no place to female characters, letting them stay in the background unlike the strong women of the series.

But the true gem of the movie is Erdal Beşikçioğlu who takes Behzat Ç. to a whole new level, portraying his character with love and conviction. Despite its shortcomings, most of the audience will leave the theater with the same question in their heads, ‘How am I going to wait for a whole month for the new season?'