Ethnoforensics: License to Smoke

Ethnoforensics: License to Smoke

Feature documentary series, 5 episodes, 30 min each

Production: Croatian Radiotelevision, Culture Department, Subdepartment of Popular and Traditional Culture 


The series Ethnoforensics: License to Smoke is a parody of CSI series, though its theme belongs to the popular and traditional culture of Croatia. It deals with topics actually studied by ethnology and cultural or social anthropology. The main, permanent characters are two 'agents', Bedi (Aleksej Pavlovsky) and Lošo (Ivo Kuzmanić), who always work as a team.


They are antiheroes. All their actions are chaotic and they are usually not aware of it. Even when they are, they try to present the outcome as a result of their own ability and professional skills. Therefore, they are always satisfied with the solution of the investigation, even when there is no solution.

Unlike the 'agents', the informers and experts appearing in individual episodes are real people who have real roles, i.e. jobs, in the real context of what is being displayed – just like each topic is dealt with in the context of its reality, i.e. real facts.


The series Ethnoforensics: License to Smoke

5 episodes, 30 min each





Ivo Kuzmanić


Ivo Kuzmanić, Aleksej Pavlovsky


Dušan Vugrinec


Zlatko Sokolović, Ivo Kuzmanić


Davorka Feller


Goran Bukovčan


Sanja Ivančin


Aleksej Pavlovsky 



Episode 1


According to official data as of 2014, the greatest percentage of smokers in the European Union could be found in Greece, while Croatia was immediately behind it! Guided by this idea, the agents Lošo and Bedi are investigating the reasons and motives of tobacco consumption among the Croats, in the past and present.


Already in the first episode, they will discover that the global trend of reviving shamanistic rituals, in which tobacco is used for the sake of spirituality and health, is also present in Croatia! They will also learn that rigorous fines and punishments for smoking have been imposed in Europe since the 17th century, and that still, despite them, smoking has become a tradition. For example, on the eve of Our Lady of Loreto, everybody in Primošten smokes – even children! Well, they smoke sage.


Episode 2



Tobacco is herba fiscalis, i.e. taxable plant. Centuries ago, European authorities realized that it was smarter to tax than to prohibit tobacco. However, everything that is taxed immediately becomes subject to evasion or smuggling, and this has also been the case with tobacco. This issue is investigated in this episode by forensic ethnologists, the agents Lošo and Bedi. During the investigation, they will encounter legal tobacco producers and their problems, the police striving to suppress the black tobacco market in Croatia, but also genuine, original Herzegovinian smugglers!


Episode 3



Intrigued by everything he learned in the second episode, at the beginning of the third episode, the agent Lošo undertakes a technical business experiment, which, unfortunately, will not end as successfully as planned. Due to this, Lošo ends up in an institution guarding those who violate the law, where he continues his investigation. At the same time, the agent Bedi focuses his interests on the tradition of smoking the pipe. Upon leaving the institution, and realizing that smoking is dangerous, the agent Lošo will let Bedi persuade him to try to switch to smoking the pipe, as, allegedly, a less harmful way of smoking...


Episode 4



Smoking was not always permitted to everyone, but this situation has changed over time. In any case, as it was landing its roots in the sociocultural image of the world, it also adopted various social meanings. Depending on whether one smokes the pipe, cigars, rolled cigarettes or a particular brand of cigarettes, people will always associate this habit with a particular feature or a social status. For this reason, hoping to infiltrate into the high society, delighted with the idea of achieving a powerful and privileged social position, the agents Lošo and Bedi join the ‘social crème’, i.e. they take part in a smoking championship! Still...


Episode 5 


While investigating the use of water pipes, and all things loved by the young, among the young population the agent Lošo gets so absorbed with his task that he ends up in a psychiatric institution, seeking to quit smoking. However, this is not easy, as smoking is a heavy habit.


However, regardless of this, the investigation is nearly finished and it is necessary to draft a report. While summarizing the results, the agents Lošo and Bedi realize that they have not yet achieved the ultimate goal – to outdo the Greeks and become the leading smokers in the European Union! That is why they resort to the final measure – a solution that has always proved to be the most effective in the history of humankind – political action; they establish a smoking party! Unfortunately, their boss does not like this idea at all, and she makes a move to end the investigation and removes them from the case. Until a new series...


Fifty-two years of television shows dedicated to popular and traditional culture


The Subdepartment of Popular and Traditional Culture is part of the Culture Department of the Croatian Radiotelevision. It produces sixteen 30-minute documentary shows of various sub-genres a year – documentary, feature documentary, documentary reports, or popular science shows – representing and evaluating various forms of popular and traditional culture in the territory of Croatia (including national minorities) as well as those created by Croats all over the world. Its annual production includes several television broadcasts of folklore festivals and concerts of artistic music inspired by folklore.

The shows deal with the past and present of traditional and popular culture and art – not only in rural but also in urban areas.

The high-quality selection of directors, associates, scriptwriters (ethnologists, ethnomusicologists, ethnochoreologist), field researchers (local folklorists and ethnographers, director of folklore associations), and programme editors of popular and traditional culture shows has for many years or rather decades ensured a high quality of the shows, i.e. the presentation of folklore-related topics in a way that corresponds to their value, devoid of pathetic, stereotypical superficiality and the forced appropriateness.

Apart from television ratings, the subdepartment’s success in achieving the intended goals is also confirmed (since 1968) by forty-odd awards and prizes at regularly attended, mainly international film festivals (e.g. the film Flying Friar is included in the official programme of the Margaret Mead Film Festival, in 2018) and the fact that the copies of many films and shows produced by the subdepartment are held and used by two Croatian scholarly institutions in their work – Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Zagreb and the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies in Zagreb.


Previous programme editors:


1966–1992 Božo Potočnik

1992–1997 Igor Michieli

Current programme editors: Ljiljana Šišmanović, Aleksej Pavlovsky