She designed characters, dreamed up dramas, ended relationships and sometimes lives. Now the chief author and producer Petra Kolle is retiring, but will remain “GZSZ” as a consultant. Here she reveals her secrets of success for the cult soap.

Ms. Kolle, you and your team kept letting people die on “GZSZ”, recently it was the character Miriam. As a long-time writer and producer, do you suffer? Very. We cry when we write about someone dying. And when we later watch how beloved characters die, we cry even more. It is tragic not only for the viewers, but also for us. This is one of the reasons why we try to rarely let anyone die. We also want to be reasonably realistic in dealing with grief. It blocks the plot when all the characters have to walk around with a mournful expression. We also want to tell happy things and that’s more difficult then.