This Women’s History Month, we celebrate the badass women that inspire and excite us. From Tina Wicky, who somehow goes from cleaning lady to double agent for the Balkan mob and the Swiss counter-terrorism agency, to Catherine Susini, who’s defying the rules to comb the creepy catacombs beneath Paris in search of her missing daughter, the women of Topic are no shrinking violets. Here are a few of our favorites to watch in all their bold, ballsy, glorious splendor.
Catherine Susini in Nox
Disgraced retired cop Catherine Susini doesn’t let much stop her: not the rules and regulations that say she shouldn’t be investigating her police officer daughter Julie’s disappearance on her own, not Julie’s by-the-book partner Raphael, and not the creepy, dangerous, seemingly supernatural catacombs beneath Paris where Julie was last seen. Nothing is quite what it seems in this horror flick-meets-crime-drama, except for the unapologetic force of nature that is Catherine Susini. Thank god for that.
Ellie Stocker in Pagan Peak
German detective Ellie Stocker’s dealing with some sort of pagan Krampus-meets-Seven serial killer case, and her reluctant partner, Austrian detective Gedeon Winter, keeps trying to bow out because it’s “out of his jurisdiction.” But somehow she never loses her sunny disposition, always greeting her colleagues with a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone. Have we mentioned she does it all in a killer cherry-red coat? It’s all part of the show’s sleek vibe, accompanied by the stunning cinematography of the snowy Alps and a chilling Hans Zimmer soundtrack.
Nina Kautsalo in Arctic Circle
Finnish Detective Nina Kautsalo acts as a single mother to her special needs child, sings bar karaoke like a pro, and uses her cunning and female intuition to find clues her coworkers miss. Is there anything she can’t do? Apparently, prevent the sparks from flying between her and German virologist Thomas Lorenz . They’re forced to team up when Nina’s murder and sex trafficking case is connected to a viral outbreak with the potential for dire global consequences. Buckle up, Dr. Lorenz, it’s about to get pretty steamy in the arctic. For all those who can’t get enough “Arctic Circle,” there’s more badassery to come when Season 2 premieres, March 17th.
Nevra Elmas in Persona
Sexual harassment, career subterfuge, a serial killer leaving her personal notes on his murder victims’ bodies? All in a day’s work for Detective Nevra Elmas. As the only woman on the homicide squad where her sexist coworkers think that’s one too many, she’s constantly working at a disadvantage. But that doesn’t stop her from being an unstoppable powerhouse when her path crosses with that of Agâh, an old man with Alzheimers who’s decided to become a murderous vigilante late in life.
Saga Norén in The Bridge
You gotta love Saga Norén. Whether she’s discovering half of a dead body on each side of the bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden, or casually telling her new partner Martin that she can’t remember the name of the man she had sex with last night, Saga doesn’t bat an eye. Clever, composed, and relentlessly calm under pressure, we should all tap into our inner Saga when the going gets tough.
Kathy Kunz & Tina Wicky in Helvetica
One’s the new president of Switzerland, dealing with sexism, dirty politics, and an international hostage crisis in Yemen; the other’s a 40-something mother of two and cleaning lady-turned-double agent. Any way you look at it, “Helvetica” features two determined, charismatic women, each powerful in her own way. Watch as they take on the patriarchy, nefarious criminals and their own vulnerabilities to save the world from impending disaster.
Ann-Mari Sundell in Peacemaker
Sometimes establishing peace is an all out war. And if that’s the case, we’d want Ann-Mari Sundell on our side. She’s the titular peacemaker who comes out of retirement to mediate the final and greatest peace agreement of her career, between the Turks and the Kurds. But she soon learns the already messy situation is even more complicated than it seems, uncovering deep-layered relationships between the people in power that threaten her quest for peace. While the characters and stories are fictional, they were inspired by real people and events, which makes “Peacemaker,” and Ann-Mari’s unwavering fortitude, all the more gripping.
Amélie Dorendeu in Baron Noir
France has never had a female head of state, but they might consider it should they catch a glimpse of President Amélie Dorendeu in the second season of Baron Noir. Whether trying to pass a health care bill without a parliamentary majority or responding to the threat of a Jihadist attack, President Dorendeu remains determined and dignified. Despite the dirty politics surrounding her–the show has been described as “House of Cards” meets “The Sopranos”–President Dorendeu never loses her integrity.
Annemie Hillebrand in Blackout
May we all be as cool under pressure as Belgian Prime Minister Annemie Hillebrand. In the cell phone video message she receives during a parliament meeting, her gagged daughter holds a sign that says,“If the lights go on, your daughter dies.” She doesn’t have long to puzzle over the message as shortly afterwards, all of Belgium is plunged into a blackout. Annemie must make the impossible choice between family and country, while contemplating the disastrous potential consequences of her decision.
Vos in The Day
Vos is not your average hostage negotiator and “The Day” is not your average crime series. Each odd episode shares the police’s perspective of a hostage crisis at a small Flemish bank and the corresponding even-numbered episode covers the same time span from the standpoint of the criminals and their victims. As a result, instead of 12 episodes, it feels like six adrenaline-rushing, plot-twisty movies, each telling the story of one crazy part of a single day. As we see things happening in the bank that Vos, stuck in her police van, does not, we marvel at the veteran negotiator’s intuition, courage, and nerves of steel.