Shadow of the fern


Shadow of the Fern

Following a car accident, police office Filip Marvan wakes up in a north Bohemian city in the early 1980s and joins the district criminal police team. Why is he there? What’s his mission? What is he to make of a world in which nobody dares defy a National Security Corps (Communist-era national police) officer, where today’s asset-strippers are the teenage elite and people dream of the jeans beyond the barbed wire covered border? And how will he get back? Will he find crucial evidence in the case that led to his being hit by a car? Will he learn the reasons for his father’s death? And what advice should he give his 20-year-old mother who has just learned she’s pregnant when only he knows she’ll have a boy named Filip?

Shadow of the Fern

An elite policeman breaks the law. Nothing will ever be the same again.

The first episode of Shadow of the Fern introduces organised crime squad officer Filip Marvan at a moment when he is under strain. His brother Kryštof has again got into debt and the influential Josef Šejba uses this to put pressure on Filip. This situation is merely put on hold by an accident after which Filip, in a coma, travels back 30 years to his hometown in the early 1980s. Who will Filip encounter in this world on the border of dream and reality? And what will help him resolve his current problem?

Avenging Angel

If you don’t find them in time, they’ll die.

A highly dangerous man is on the loose from a psychiatric clinic. He is constantly one step ahead of the crime squad headed by Major Špalek. A single story links his victims and Filip discovers that his own memories of childhood in this area may be a key to solving his case.

Dead People

A closely watched Festival of Political Song as the backdrop to crime.

The Festival of Political Songs, culminating with a peace concert, gets the whole town excited. Especially when Luboš Nováček’s famous band Sloky arrive. In such a situation, every problem can have major political ramifications. And the StB secret police are just waiting for a chance to crack down on the local juvenile defectives.

Orchid at the Dump

The death of a woman loved by all.

On their way to a surface mine workers find the body of a young woman who a few years previously was universally admired on the covers of magazines “published in Prague”. Was somebody jealous of her? Did they get revenge? And what does Filip’s buddy Martin Plachý, who unexpectedly drops his cynical humour, know about her?

Juvenile Defectives

If you want to escape the reality of normalisation, expect severe punishment.

Filip’s father Honza Marvin is among of group of long-hairs who the district National Security Corps go after as “juvenile defectives”. The explanation of the secret of why Filip’s father died is within reach. Will this too offer a gateway out of the 1980s, where the post-accident Filip is trapped?

Double Battle

If you want to survive, save your mother.

Simona Kartousová, daughter of the local House of Culture boss and Filip’s mother, goes missing. Her father tasks the officers from Špalek’s department with finding her ASAP. Only Filip knows it’s a matter of life and death. For him.

Death of a Spy

Responsibility for the death of a member of a Soviet delegation is on your shoulders.

Major Špalek’s officers are tasked with ensuring the security of a Soviet military delegation, which has come to inspect the Western military zone. Tensions and uneasiness rise as the entire operation is being monitored by the secret services, including Czechoslovakia’s StB.

A Family Affair

When a murder involves a top functionary’s family, look harder.

Was the death of the wife of a senior local functionary a regular accident, or murder? And what is the role of Klement Kratěna, Filip’s arch enemy, in the case? Revelations about the lives of the social elite prove surprising and comical at the same time.

Dead Man

Slávek Brousek’s death signals the start of an open battle with the regime.

The death of one of the officers in Špalek’s department sparks an open conflict between Filip and Kratěna. Pretence is at an end. It’s clear the only way to stay alive is to disappear from this world. Does Martin Plachý at least know the route to safety and how to outwit the StB?


A way out of coma and the morass of normalisation does exist. With a surprising ending.

Are the borders of the world in which Filip lives identical to the barbed wired covered borders of normalisation Czechoslovakia? But what’s beyond them? What price must Filip Marvan pay for his betrayal?