Jens Bols and Daan de Vos are two of the biggest bad guys ‘Flikken Maastricht’ has ever known. The criminals haven’t made it easy for Eva and Wolfs, but how do the characters of these bad guys actually come about? What requirements must a good criminal meet? And what is it like as an actor to play a crook?
“We actually wanted you to think all the time: what is that man doing anyway? What is it that Wolfs is doing difficult against that man, he is a nice man, isn’t he?”
For a long time, the fans of Cops Maastricht that they could trust Amsterdammer Daan de Vos, played by Thomas Acda. Until, instead of helping Wolfs, he did the opposite and it turned out that Daan wasn’t the good guy we thought after all. The character was created to better explain the story why Wolfs once disappeared from Amsterdam. In the end, Daan was seen in the series for several seasons, and that was not a preconceived plan.
“That’s the nice thing about the series, we didn’t know at the time that we would continue,” says the producer of the police series in Cops the Podcast. “When we played with Thomas in season four, we didn’t know if we would do a fifth.”
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A fascinating, but terrifying character, that Daan de Vos. The moment we as viewers discovered that he was on the wrong side is one of the most iconic scenes of recent seasons. Thomas Acda tells in the podcast that they were not sure when they would reveal something about Daan to make it clear that he was actually a bad guy. Therefore, scenes were shot several times. It was only during the assembly that it was decided which pieces were to be used. “We actually wanted you to think all the time: what is that man doing anyway? What is it that Wolfs is doing difficult against that man, he is a nice man, isn’t he?”
According to Thomas, the character was “blissful” to play because he was “totally right.” “The trick was the balance between bullying Wolf and still being kind of sympathetic. (…) It’s lying, that’s what you do. You learn your text and you believe it’s true,” he says. Especially the interaction with the other actors made the scenes extra challenging for Thomas. Because what are the relationships between Daan, Wolfs and Eva? You naturally do this together to make that tension credible. “It is never one actor who does that. What the rest of the world does is the most important thing. Because if they don’t believe it, then it stops.”
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Daan de Vos came back in the series, but at a certain point his storyline had to come to an end and he had to be killed. But by whom? “I didn’t know who would kill me, nobody knew,” says the actor. “It was unclear who was going to kill me… whether it was that daughter. Or they didn’t tell me, but I don’t think so. (…) I just got a bullet hole from the makeup and had to fall backwards. “
But cops has another super villain: Jens Bols, masterfully brought to life by actor Martijn Nieuwerf, who first took on the role in 2014. Initially, he signed for one season as a kind of counterpart to Wolfs and Eva. In the end, he could be seen for four seasons in cops† “The chemistry was actually so nice, especially with Angela and Victor, that Victor – and I think Angela too – at one point in a meeting said something about the next season. I think I was already riddled into a ravine by then, but luckily you can survive that in television series.”
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Little did the actor know when he started the role that he would end up playing the bad guy. “I kind of knew the storyline, but I didn’t even read all the scripts when I was asked to do this. (…) That really started during the shooting and it got more extreme with each season.”
Cops the Podcast can be listened to weekly via the well-known podcast platforms.