PARIS– German director Tom Tykwer is on board to spearhead the period drama series “Babylon Berlin” for four European power-players: X-Filme, ARD, Sky Germany and Beta Film.

The series is based on Volker Kutscher’s bestselling crime books. Tykwer (pictured) will serve as showrunner.

The 1920’s-set “Babylon Berlin” centers on the investigations of a police inspector Gereon Rath. The show delivers an “atmospheric portrayal of the most exciting city in the world, a hotbed of drugs and politics, murder and art, emancipation and extremism,” according to Beta Film.

X Filme Creative Pool tapped Tykwer, Hendrik Handloegten, Achim von Borries and Stefan Arndt to develop the concept for the adaptation of Kutscher’s books. The German-language series will start shooting in mid-2015.

” ‘Babylon Berlin’ is another great milestone for Sky Deutschland. It is not only our first investment in a major German production, but also the close cooperation with ARD, a media company with a great reputation all over Europe, is just as important for us,” said Gary Davey, exec VP of programming at Sky. “The story is perfectly suited for our mission statement to offer our customers high-quality productions. It describes a very special place at a very special point in history.”

The Sky exec said he was looking forward to working with “well renowned colleagues such as Stefan Arndt as a producer and Tom Tykwer as a director.”

ARD chairman Lutz Marmor said, “In order to realize this costly and intricate project, we wanted to try out a new form of cooperation with Sky, which could also be a viable model for the future.”

Volker Herres, ARD program director, said “The story of ‘Babylon Berlin’ offers a perfect mix of precise and atmospheric milieu characterization and lots of tempo and excitement.”

For Tykwer, “‘Babylon Berlin’ is a large-scale police thriller rich in details and with multifaceted characters embedded in a historical context that reflects present-day Germany and Europe in a surprising way.”

The series has been commissioned by Sascha Schwingel and Carolin Haasis at ARD Degeto, Gebhard Henke at WDR and Marcus Ammon at Sky Deutschland. Jan Mojto’s Beta Film is co-producing and handling world sales.