CLOSE TO HOME: MURDER IN THE COALFIELD on Netflix is a new German crime thriller series (org. title: Lauchhammer – Tod in der Lausitz). There are 6 episodes and the story opens with a body being found. Read our Close to Home: Murder in the Coalfield review here!

CLOSE TO HOME: MURDER IN THE COALFIELD is a new series on Netflix. It’s a crime, thriller, and mystery series from Germany (org. title: Lauchhammer – Tod in der Lausitz). The mini-series originally aired in Germany on ARD in September of 2022.

There are six 45-minute episodes, so it’s fairly quick to binge-watch. And yes, every episode does end with some kind of reveal or cliffhanger that will make you want to continue. If you’re usually into these crime-mystery series, then this is definitely worth checking out. High production value, interesting characters, and a setting that is highly relevant and current.

Continue reading our Close to Home: Murder in the Coalfield review below. Find the mini-series on Netflix from March 22, 2023.

Fighting for the future while struggling with the past

The international title of Close to Home: Murder in the Coalfield manages to almost describe the core plot. A body is found near a coal mining plant (and also near a new housing development area) and it’s a small town, so it feels very close to home for everyone.

The story begins with the body of a 17-year-old girl being found. From that point, we’re introduced to life in this fairly small coal mining town. A town that has been largely abandoned and where drug use (as well as production and sales) is rampant.


The movie Free Country – though set in two different time periods, there’s a similar vibe >

Plus, the coal industry has attracted a group of climate change activists. Basically, there are plenty of potential criminals in the small town of Lauchhammer. Actually, there are plenty of active criminals, but the big question is; Who would kill a 17-year-old girl who already struggled with plenty at home?

Close to Home: Murder in the Coalfield – Netflix Review

A lot of interesting characters

As with any good crime thriller that revolves around a mystery (and isn’t that the case for the vast majority?!), you’ll be introduced to many interesting characters. There are those related to the murder victim – either family, friend, or foe – and those who are somehow involved with the murder. Or know something about the murder.

Without giving away any direct spoilers, I can say that the body found at the very beginning of Close to Home: Murder in the Coalfield isn’t the only murder victim. More bodies will be found during these six episodes.

Also, there’s the classic situation of a seasoned local cop being teamed up with a newcomer from a larger city. The “old” cop is Maik Briegand who is portrayed by Misel Maticevic. Not only does this actor remind me of Pedro Pascal in ways, but he’s also familiar because he starred in the Netflix series Oktoberfest: Beer and Blood (2020).

The “new” cop (who is quite experienced and very efficient) is Annalena Gottknecht, who is portrayed by Odine Johne. She’s interesting from the very beginning due to her actions. It’s obvious that there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Other key characters are portrayed by actors you may recognize from other Netflix series. These include Marc Hosemann from Perfume and Ella Lee from Dark. The first plays a police officer who once dated the mother of the first murder victim, the latter is the daughter of Detective Maik Briegand.

Watch Close to Home: Murder in the Coalfield on Netflix now!

The German series Close to Home: Murder in the Coalfield was written by Frauke Hunfeld and Silke Zertz. All six episodes are directed by Till Franzen (The Valley) which ensures a very consistent style of storytelling.

Fans of the brilliant German mega-hit series DARK will no doubt be reminded of just this when the series opens. In fact, for several moments. This is due to the very simple fact that a male voice is setting the tone as a form of narrator. This voice – and particularly the style and vibe – immediately brought me back to the days of watching Dark.

I’ve noticed that some people didn’t like the use of flashbacks. Personally, I thought it worked very well and the use of them was quite obvious. There’s that fuzzy framing on all flashbacks as if someone is thinking back on those moments rather than us seeing something in the present. Obviously, the past continues to haunt many characters, so they play a key role in the plot.

Close to Home: Murder in the Coalfield is on Netflix from March 22, 2023.


Director: Till Franzen
Writers: Frauke Hunfeld, Silke Zertz
Cast: Misel Maticevic, Odine Johne, Lucas Gregorowicz, Marc Hosemann, Petra Kelling, Malik Blumenthal, Uwe Preuss, Kai Ivo Baulitz, Jacob Matschenz, Christian Grashof, Christian Kuchenbuch, Ella Lee


When a grisly murder brings Detective Maik Briegand back to his small hometown, he finds himself dredging up bodies, clues and his own past traumas.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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