High Five, Mukhtar!
This year one of the most popular TV series of NTV channel Return of Mukhtar celebrates its 15th anniversary. Today this television saga comprises 990 episodes, more than 9,500 actors, 17 dogs who performed Mukhtar, 1,000 crimes solved, 8 dog trainers, 6 career promotions, about 2 tons of meat eaten by Mukhtars, 4 TEFI nominations and 1 TEFI award.
NTV Channel first aired the TV series in 2004. The project is a trilogy: Return of Mukhtar (Season 1), Return of Mukhtar-2 (Seasons 2-10) and Mukhtar. A New Trace (Seasons 11-12). To date, 11 Seasons and a part of the 12th Season have already come out representing 990 hours of the air time.
Mukhtar has had three owners during its service. The first owner of the police dog was Artyom Kolosov performed by Alexander Nosik. At the beginning of the third Season, Artyom witnessed a murder and was seriously wounded while trying to stop the criminal. Afterwards he went to Germany for medical treatment. He was replaced by Maxim Zharov performed by four actors at different times: Alexander Volkov, Alexey Shutov, Pavel Vishnyakov and Vladimir Feklenko. At the beginning of the 12th Season Zharov left his job in Moscow and moved to a quiet seaside town to his pregnant lover, and Mukha again acquired a new friend and associate - Ivan Davydov performed by Artyom Ossipov.
During the series production not only leading men but also the dog actors performing Mukha have changed a number of times. Over the 15-year period 17 dogs performed Mukhtar: East European Shepherds Vargun and Duncan, German Shepherd Zeiss, its sons Zeus and Best, Guy, Baxter, Wax, Yax, Prime, Rex, Vivat, Graf, two Voins (Warriors), Noris and Dux.
The first Season of the TV saga about Mukhtar was directed by Alexander Polynnikov, the USSR State Prize winner. In 2005-2015, Vladimir Zlatoustovsky was engaged in the film production who performed a musical piece Come On, Mukhtar, Put Out Your Paw, My Faithful Dog which has been the theme music of the Series for 15 consecutive years now. On July 8, 2019 Vladimir Borisovich died. He was 80 years old.
In 2017-2019, the Series renamed as Mukhtar. A New Trace was directed by Oleg Sheremet, Guzel Kireyeva, Natalia Mikryukova and Andrey Ivanov.
In 2007 and in 2009 the creative team of the Series was awarded Certificates of Appreciation and medals by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation in acknowledgement of successful creation of a criminal investigation officer’s professional image and promotion of the national police dog service of Russia. In 2009, the Series won a special prize from the DetectiveFEST International Detective Movie Festival. In 2015, the project won the TEFI Award in the nomination TV Short Story. In 2019, the team’s achievements were highly appreciated by the Center of Police Dog Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, namely by Chief Canine Scientist of the Russian Federation Sergey Kachkin.
Currently, leading roles in the Series are performed by Artyom Ossipov, Sergey Gromov and Svetlana Brukhanova.