Seri­al Eyes and DETECt are look­ing for the next great European crime series!

We are look­ing for pro­pos­als for TV series in the crime genre for either broad­cast or stream­ing ser­vices. The pro­posed show should push the genre in unex­pec­ted ways, using crime nar­rat­ives to explore the rich­ness and com­plex­ity of European soci­ety. An inter­na­tion­al jury of top industry pro­fes­sion­als will review the final five sub­mis­sions. The win­ning author(s) will be invited to attend the DETECt final pro­ject con­fer­ence in Rome in June 2021 and meet the mem­bers of the jury. 

The DETECt Pro­ject and European Crime Narratives

DETECt: Detect­ing Transcul­tur­al Iden­tity in European Pop­u­lar Crime Nar­rat­ives is a European-fun­ded research pro­ject involving 18 aca­dem­ic and indus­tri­al part­ners from 10 coun­tries across the con­tin­ent. DETECt invest­ig­ates the rep­res­ent­a­tion of European social, cul­tur­al and polit­ic­al iden­tit­ies in one of the most pop­u­lar genres in con­tem­por­ary fic­tion, film and tele­vi­sion, ana­lys­ing how dif­fer­ent kinds of crime nar­rat­ives have been used to rep­res­ent the ten­sions that shape European soci­ety. From the French Polar to Nor­d­ic Noir, from Medi­ter­ranean Noir to Ger­man Krimi, from Brit­ish mys­tery to East­ern European mob­ster dra­mas, the transna­tion­al suc­cess of the genre brings unity to a diverse and often con­flic­ted continent. 

What We Are Look­ing For

In the DETECt CRIME SERIES CON­TEST we wel­come pro­pos­als for any kind of crime fic­tion. In par­tic­u­lar, we are inter­ested in series appeal­ing to European audi­ences because of their abil­ity to give shape to char­ac­ters, stor­ies and themes that speak of social and cul­tur­al con­cerns bey­ond the loc­al. How­ever, we are not look­ing for a “Europ­ud­ding”, i.e. the type of show that com­bines and mixes togeth­er act­ors and loc­a­tions from dif­fer­ent European coun­tries in order to sat­is­fy some con­tent quota. DETECt pro­ceeds from the assump­tion that good crime nar­rat­ives are able to cap­ture inter­na­tion­al audi­ences and offer enga­ging transcul­tur­al rep­res­ent­a­tions in more subtle ways, reveal­ing the pro­found diversity that char­ac­ter­izes all of European coun­tries and informs the every­day exper­i­ence of their citizens.

The Jury

Our jury con­sists of top industry pro­fes­sion­als involved in the cre­ation and dis­tri­bu­tion of crime series: 

  • Kar­en Has­san, Cattleya
  • Steve Mat­thews, HBO Europe
  • Giac­omo Poletti, Medi­aset Group
  • Eva Van Leeuwen, Netflix


The win­ner will be invited to attend DETECt final con­fer­ence in Rome (21–23 June 2021) for the Award­ing Cere­mony, where she/​he will also have the oppor­tun­ity to meet the mem­bers of the Jury (travel and accom­mod­a­tion expenses covered by the organ­izers). Fur­ther­more, the win­ner will receive an annu­al sub­scrip­tion to an online mar­ket­place for films and series in devel­op­ment, includ­ing a script ana­lys­is and evaluation. 

Con­test Sub­mis­sion Requirements

We are look­ing for pro­ject pro­pos­als (not scripts!) that out­line the major ele­ments of the tele­vi­sion series. The pro­pos­al must be writ­ten in Eng­lish and no longer than 5 pages (A4, stand­ard format­ting). Pro­pos­als may be for pro­ced­ur­al or seri­al­ized return­ing series or for lim­ited series (mini-series). Series length should be 6 to 10 epis­odes at 25–30 or 45–60 minutes per epis­ode. The pro­pos­al should dis­cuss the fol­low­ing elements: 

  • Over­view (brief story syn­op­sis / what makes the series stand out)
  • World of the Series
  • Tone
  • Char­ac­ter Descriptions
  • Sea­son Summaries
  • Poten­tial Episodes
  • Author’s note

How to Submit

Pro­pos­als must be the ori­gin­al cre­ation of a writer or a writ­ing team. Pro­pos­als should be saved as PDF files. Be please sure to include on the cov­er page: 

  • Name(s) of the writer(s), address, tele­phone number(s)
  • E‑mail address, pos­sibly homepage or similar.

Sub­mis­sions must be made no later than 15 March 2021 (mid­day) via our sub­mis­sions portal: https://​detect​-con​test​.applic​a​tion​.dffb​.de/en/.

Gen­er­al con­di­tions of participation

  1. Eli­gib­il­ity: All writers, regar­de­less of their res­id­ency in the European Uni­on, may submit.
  2. Applic­ants, alone or in teams, should apply with only one project. 
  3. The copy­right and rights of use of the sub­mit­ted mater­i­als remain with the submitter(s).
  4. The sub­mit­ted works may not be based on works pro­tec­ted by third-party copy­right unless per­mis­sion is gran­ted and documented. 
  5. The submitter(s) con­firms that the pro­ject has not been optioned or pur­chased by a third party at the time of submission. 
  6. DETECt or its part­ners are not oblig­ated to option or pro­duce any of the sub­mit­ted projects. 
  7. DETECt guar­an­tees that the sub­mis­sions will only be made avail­able to people involved in the selec­tion process.

The Seri­al Eyes Crime Series Webinar

Seri­al Eyes now offers a webin­ar on how to cre­ate crime series. This webin­ar is inten­ded for both begin­ning and advanced writers. In reg­u­lar weekly instal­ments the Seri­al Eyes fac­ulty dis­cusses the fas­cin­a­tion of writ­ing crime and explains the main dram­at­ur­gic­al ele­ments that make up a good crime series. You can fol­low this webin­ar series on the Seri­al Eyes You­Tube chan­nel.


For any inquir­ies about this con­test, please con­tact Han­nah Bethe at h.​bethe@​dffb.​de.