It has been a decade since Martin Gruber returned to his home in the mountains. He had a successful medical career in New York, but fate brought him back to Tirol. Today, his extensive professional experience benefits the people of Ellmau, many of whom require expert help. Martin Gruber’s approach goes beyond the purely medical, as he never loses sight of the emotional background of his work. His stubborn nature makes him unpopular with quite a few people – and, occasionally, the law –, but Martin could not care less.
Martin Gruber lives on his family’s farm together with his mother, his brother Hans and his daughter Lilli. His life may look idyllic from the outside, but dark clouds are on the horizon: while his family pulls together, Martin leaves home in a huff. He cannot deal with Anne living at the family farm. His budding relationship with Rike is already in limbo – not least because of her unpredictable son, Lukas, who suffers from borderline personality disorder. And Anne does not seem to be over Martin yet...
Hans Gruber spends the little free time he has as a mountain rescuer. He and his brother, Martin, are an excellent duo of father figures for Martin’s daughter, Lilli. While they may not always agree on everything, they always pull together when it comes to her.
Hans has quit his job with the ‘Mountain Profis’ and wants to dedicate himself fully to restore the Gruberhof. But the bad blood between Martin and Anne is putting him in a tricky situation. In order to make the revitalisation of the Gruberhof a success, he will have to work in a team with Anne – and he has not quite got used to the new arrangement yet. Things get off to a rocky start.
When Susanne unexpectedly introduces him to her new partner, Hans fears losing his daughter, Sophia, to a ‘new father’. The situation goes from bad to worse when Susanne is offered a job in Vienna. She seems poised to leave Ellmau – will Hans lose Sophia?
Lilli lives at the Gruberhof with her two fathers, Martin and Hans, and her grandmother, Lisbeth. She has grown into a confident young woman and made a plan for her future: she wants to split her working hours between the family farm and Martin’s practice. But her initial euphoria is soon dampened by frustrating routine: she barely has any time left for herself. Lilli starts wondering what it is she wants from life...
Lisbeth Gruber enjoys having her sons, Hans and Martin, and her granddaughter, Lilli, around her. When Martin decides to leave the family-run Gruberhof farm and move into a small flat on his own, she is deeply hurt. But she remains determined to follow through on her plans for the Gruberhof together with Hans, Anne and Lilli. She wants Martin to make up with his ex-girlfriend: secretly, Lisbeth still believes that Anne is the right woman for her son.
Her other son, Hans, gives her sleepless nights, too. His relationship with Susanne has failed, and he is struggling with jealousy towards her new partner. When Susanne tells him that she has a job offer in Vienna and may leave Ellmau with her and Hans’ daughter, Sophia, Lisbeth supports her son as much as she can.
Susanne, the innkeeper of the Gasthof Wilder Kaiser inn, is an honorary member of the Gruber family. Her relationship with Martin ended in tears as her then still legally wed husband suddenly reappeared, but she and Martin have managed to talk things through and are now close friends. Having tried and failed to save her marriage, Susanne fell deeply in love with Hans Gruber. They had a daughter, little Sophia, and were determined to do everything right – but their relationship did not stand the test of time.
Susanne eventually rekindles her love life with Tim Petersen. When Hans finds out about their relationship, trouble brews: Sophie’s father is terrified of losing his daughter to a ‘new dad’. He repeatedly picks fights with Tim. Susanne is stressed and overworked, and the constant drama with her ex adds to her dissatisfaction. A job offer from Vienna seems like the perfect way out. But Susanne is reluctant to accept: Hans would be heartbroken if she were to leave Ellmau together with Tim and Sophia...
Dr Alexander Kahnweiler is the senior physician at the Klinikum Hall hospital and Martin’s most important partner when it comes to looking after his patients. Their initial rivalry has given way to a friendship that keeps getting Kahnweiler into trouble: whenever Martin plays fast and loose with the law, Kahnweiler allows himself to be dragged into his breakneck missions. He protects his colleague from the scrutiny of his boss and life partner, Dr Vera Fendrich.
His relationship with Vera is far from perfect: the couple endlessly falls out and reconciles. The question of children keeps dominating their life together. Vera seems to have come to terms with a life without them, as Alexander suddenly brings up adoption. Trouble is brewing...
Dr Vera Fendrich joined the Klinikum Hall hospital when her father still managed it. Her unapproachable demeanour tends to keep potential suitors at bay, but Alexander Kahnweiler dared to go on a date with her – initially prompted by his boss’ suggestion and the prospect of a promotion. Their relationship developed slowly but surely, and while it is often fraught with difficulties, the two always stick together. When Vera finds out that she cannot have children, she works hard to process and accept the fact, but Alexander surprises her. After being strictly against adopting a child at first, he is suddenly keen to do just that.
In her position as deputy manager of the clinic, Vera frequently has to remind Alexander and his friend, Dr Martin Gruber, to stick to the rules. But their enthusiasm for their work is infectious. Vera is a valuable member of her own department, the laboratory, and quick to act when she is needed.
Rike Jäger is a representative of an agricultural insurance company in Ellmau. When Anne’s father’s farm burnt to the ground, Rike was Anne’s loss adjuster. She and Martin first met when Anne brought him along to an appointment. Rike is divorced and has a son, Lukas, who suffers from borderline personality disorder and regularly experiences manic periods and bursts of rage. The unpredictable teenager initially refuses to accept that his mother is in a relationship with Martin.
When Martin leaves the Gruberhof, Rike urges him to move in with her, but Martin is overwhelmed and uncertain. His insecurity is not least due to Lukas, who has also moved back into his mother’s home. Martin eventually makes up his mind, but his decision has dramatic consequences…
Irena Bornholm is Martin Gruber’s receptionist. She is very conscientious, tidy and organised. At first, she struggled with her boss’ unpredictable habits, but she has since got used to his being away from his practice most of the time. She and Martin’s substitute, Roman Melchinger, run the practice well together. Lilli Gruber, her boss’ daughter, recently got a job at the practice, too. Level-headed as always, Irena patiently explains the intricacies of patient records to Lilli. The two make a solid team.
For a while, Anne Meierling thought that she had found the love of her life in Martin Gruber. But her father, Arthur, could never stand Martin and was hell-bent on preventing their bliss: he went out of his way to sabotage the couple. Now, Arthur has passed away, and Martin cannot forgive Anne for asking him to lie to the insurance company for her. He finally decides to break up with her and put a stop to the endless back and forth. When his family informs him that Anne is about to move to the Gruberhof to work there, Martin does not hesitate to leave the family farm. Anne is not pleased: she still has feelings for Martin and refuses to give up on their relationship – even though Martin and Rike are a couple now.
While Lisbeth and Lilli welcome Anne to the Gruberhof with open arms, she and Hans keep clashing. He struggles to accept Anne as an equal partner on the farm and keeps making decisions over her head. But Anne is no pushover.
Siegfried Rauch sadly passed away on 11 March 2018
Who was his character? Dr Roman Melchinger is Martin’s predecessor at the practice. He may no longer be a spring chicken, but he is happy to substitute for Martin whenever necessary. Irena Bornholm, Martin’s receptionist, knows that Roman is irreplaceable: he always has Martin’s back both morally and professionally. And he frequently helps the Mountain Doctor in his complicated private life, too.