Sunday, June 6, 2010

TATORT - Scene of The Crime - My Favorite Police Series

Scene of the Crime, as we know it here in the US, or TATORT, is a very, very, long running (1970-present) German/Austrian/Swiss television series. The series has followed, and features, a large number of detectives in different cities throughout Germany and Austria.

For most of the US however, (thanks to the MHZ Networks) our two Tatort detectives are the intrepid duo from Cologne, Max Ballauf played by Klaus Behrendt, and Freddy Schenk, played by Dietmar Bar. The basic foundation of the partnership is the friendship between the two lead characters. Max, the boss, is the good looking one who can't commit to a woman, or even an apartment, and who often makes decisions based on his emotions rather than his intellect. Freddy is the family man, who is the rotund comic relief of the series, but in an interesting twist, also the more intellectual of the two. They are aided by their very smart Assistant/Girl Friday, Franziska, played by Tessa Mittelstaedt. (I think all women working in a very male dominated environment can relate toFranziska).

We are very lucky that after what seemed like years of repeats, MHZ Networks has now started to show new episodes of Scene of the Crime on select Sunday and Tuesday nights. In the last new episode a madman is killing off Max's old girlfriends and leaving him all kinds of ominous clues and threats. Even worse, Max is taking care of his ailing cousin's young daughter. Of course, Max is incredibly insecure about taking care of children, so family man Freddy comes to the rescue. I won't say more for those that may catch the episode in a repeat showing (believe me, there will be a repeat showing on MHZ). I liked this episode because they explored the psychological consequences of unintended acts while giving us another glimpse of the detectives' personal lives.

Scene of the Crime/Tatort has many elements that will be familiar to viewers of police detective series around the world. What gives it a different and special twist to me is that the series deals with the grey areas in life, both good and bad people are flawed human beings, and the detectives are not always smart and invincible.

If you love mysteries and police dramas, hope you get a chance to see Scene of the Crime.

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