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'QUAD CITIES' YouTube series brings murder mystery to the QC
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'QUAD CITIES' YouTube series brings murder mystery to the QC

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The first scene of "QUAD CITIES" shows only a dark room, with a man begging to a killer that he'll do better. The next scene features detectives, bloody bones, and a familiar backdrop of the Mississippi River. 

"QUAD CITIES," a murder mystery miniseries set in its namesake, was created by Quad-Cities natives Kurt Oberhaus and Justin Marxen. All five episodes are out on YouTube now, just in time for Halloween. 

While they originally planned to release the final episode on Oct. 30, they decided to release it early so it wouldn't conflict with Halloween celebrations. 

"People really seem to be enjoying it," Oberhaus said. "It's just a fun entertaining miniseries to watch before Halloween."   

"QUAD CITIES" follows private investigator Harry Walters, played by Marxen, and "Quad City Post" reporter Dave Lucas, played by Oberhaus, as they investigate the grisly murders of different actors. They run, drive and sneak around the Quad-Cities trying to figure out the secrets of the strange — and perhaps sinister — couple that runs the Hilltop Theater, where all the actors worked. 

Oberhaus said they weren't going for high-brow, Oscar-level production with "QUAD CITIES," and were just having fun with the story and each other. The idea came from them throwing ideas for genre and characters around, then they decided to go for it. Marxen wrote the script, Oberhaus did some rewrites, and they produced and acted in it together. 

"We were going for horror and comedy, kind of like a '70s, '80s detective thriller mixed with an '80s comedy, kind of like a 'Tales from the Crypt' type of thing," Marxen said.  

Some Quad-Cities staples are name-dropped or spotted throughout the show. Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse was one of the theaters a victim worked at, parts of a body were found at LeClaire Park, and Walters and Lucas grabbed their seventh coffee of the day at the now-closed Theo's Java Club. 

Much of the cast and crew on the show are from the area, and they filmed it all in the Quad-Cities area in just five days in the summer. One of the more surprising difficulties of filming was dealing with loud Davenport traffic, but other than that things went smoothly. 

The first episode has around 2,000 views on YouTube, which the filmmakers said was a big jump from previous productions they've posted on the website. They've also heard some interest from viewers in seeing another season. 

In addition to posting it on YouTube, they've also shown episodes at conventions like Midwest Monster Fest. 

"We're both really very moved that people seem to want more," Marxen said. 

Marxen and Oberhaus met at West High School when they took a theater class together. Between building sets for the school's production of "The Music Man," the pair learned of each other's hobby of making movies.

What started out as a friendly rivalry turned into a long-lasting friendship, and Oberhaus and Marxen have made some short and feature films together over the years.

"We both share the same passion and love for acting and movies, so whenever we're acting together a lot of the time, we just get so into the scene," Marxen said. "He's great to work off of, and is like a brother to me, so just having him there all the time is great."

In the show's final scene, the detective and reporter are relaxing after a climactic end to their case when they get news of a murder by the base of the Centennial Bridge. If they decide to work on a second season, Oberhaus and Marxen's characters could crack more cases in the QC. 

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