What makes us who we are? Are we “merely” the sum of our own decisions, or isn’t life much more unpredictable because everything is connected and intertwined? Because the decisions others make significantly influences our own lives and can change our paths irretrievably? Because we don’t have everything as under control as we sometimes think? And are we capable of finding happiness in the apparent chaos of life filled with causalities and coincidences?

Chain Reaction tells the story of a failed robbery that sets in motion a fateful chain of events and raises these questions and more about the fragility of life.

Monday morning. 8:55 a.m. A robbery attempt at a small corner store in a large city ends fatally. After the holdup, a seven-year-old boy disappears and an envelope with a lot of money changes hands. The lives of people who have never had anything to do with each other collide violently. A mother desperately searches for her child, a clique of young people tries by all means to make up for a carelessness with unforeseeable consequences, and the manager of a large corporation, who is on the brink of ruin, does everything to cover up her downfall. The policewoman entrusted with the investigation, is also increasingly caught up in the maelstrom of events as she battles her domineering superior, and her daughter is not entirely innocent in all of this.

This group of people is fighting for their existence, identity and status. They come from different backgrounds and convictions, and although the robbery brings them together, in the end each of them pursues his or her own self-interest.


  • Paula Schönberg

    Paula Schönberg is the head of personnel at a large firm. And a gambling addict. Her lies are catching up with her and she hopes the robbery will relieve her from her debts. She enters into an unusual alliance with the previously convicted single father Daniel Kowalski. He works at her firm as a janitor and may have useful information to help solve her dilemma: The company is currently being internally audited because several funds have been embezzled under the guise of a dummy company.

  • Frank Worms

    Frank Worms is the lead detective on the shooting and determined to solve the messy case by any means. The robbery gets him in contact with his former colleague Antonia Gebert, whom he brings on board. But instead of being an asset to him, she seems to discover the dangerous double life he is leading in the course of the investigation. Frank wants to do the right thing but invariably ends up causing the opposite.

  • Daniel Kowalski

    Daniel Kowalski is a single father with a criminal record. He has done his time and is determined never to end up in jail again. Desperate to avoid an eviction and to be able to offer his daughter Mila a better life, he gets involved in the robbery. He now relies on the help of Paula Schönberg who is similarly desperate. It’s his turn to spend a week with his daughter which only adds to the daily pressure of getting by.

  • Damon Merizadi

    Damon Merizadi is the brother of the store owner who was fatally shot on the day of the robbery. The guilt he feels about his role in the events weighs heavily on him, as well as on his girlfriend Samira and her brother Jacub who were also accomplices. This guilt threatens to close in on him, and it only intensifies when his nephew Arian disappears. Damon doesn’t have a bulletproof plan but he also won’t give up his search to find Arian.

  • Antonia Gebert

    Antonia Gebert is an investigator who has fallen into disfavor. On top of that she is in the midst of a divorce and raising a teenage daughter. The robbery gives her a new chance to prove herself to her former colleague Frank Worms. But her unpredictable and rebellious daughter Charly soon puts her in a tricky position. Antonia’s instincts on the job are sharp but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for her to know whom to trust.

  • Miriam Merizadi

    Miriam Merizadi is the widow of the store owner who was shot dead. As a result of the robbery, she must now mourn not only the death of her husband, but also the disappearance of her 8-year-old son Arian. The mysterious behavior of her brother-in-law Damon adds tension to an already unbearable situation. Miriam has no support to speak of but will do anything humanly possible to get her son back safe and sound.


6 x 52’

ZDF Studios worldwide outside of German speaking countries

Country of Origin:

Shooting Location:

Original Language:

Crime Thriller

Commissioning Broadcaster:

4th March 2022 (Episode 1) with a great market share of 16.2%

Production Companies:
UFA Fiction in co-production with ZDF

Benjamin Benedict (Ku’damm 63)
Alisa Müller (Wendezeit)

Stefan Kolditz
(Das Geheimnis des Totenwaldes)

Stephan Lacant
(Für Meine Tochter)



Dear client and business partner,

as a B2B partner from our industry and registered user of our online screening, you may also screen full-length episodes 24/7 at after logging in. If you are not registered yet, you may do so right here. If you need any further information please don’t hesitate to contact our Drama Department. They will be pleased to help you.