“Tatort” from Ludwigshafen: cat and mouse and a jerrycan

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“Tatort” from Ludwigshafen
Cat and mouse and a gas bottle

By Ingo Scheel

A Bond villain as adversary, misogyny and gender debate – in Ludwigshafen it came to a phenomenal fiery climax at the start of the second “crime” half of the year. It’s good to continue like this. At the end of the month a certain Felix Murot is already waiting.

The title of the 1207th episode “Tatort” alone gave a glimpse of something spectacular, at least for crime fans with a solid history. “The Interrogation” was the name of a French film from 1981. Directed by Claude Miller, Lino Ventura as Inspector Gaul and Michel Serrault as the suspicious notary Martinaud delivered a psychological duel. Romy Schneider played Martinaud’s wife, Chantal, in her penultimate film role. “Exciting chamber play (…), which mainly gets its rank due to the brilliant acting of the protagonists”, praised the Lexikon des Internationales Films.


The interrogation or interrogation continues. Kessler (Götz Otto) slowly loses his bet and Lena Odenthal (Ulrike Folkerts) loses patience.

(Photo: SWR/Benoît Linder)

A review that one could also write and read about the ensemble of the Ludwigshafen “Tatort”. The story of author Stefan Dähnert is based even more than on the chamber play “Das Verhör” – “Tod im Häcksler” was his “Tatort” premiere in 1991 – but on the Netflix series “Criminal”. This European joint production also placed the classic interrogation at the center of the dramaturgy, the setting between the interrogation room and the adjacent room as a fixed point in the always exciting cat-and-mouse game between police and suspects.

Cool lighting, industrial chic

In the environment of Lena Odenthal (Ulrike Folkerts) and Johanna Stern (Lisa Bitter) it is very similar. Nothing about the office and the bacon boom, postmodernism has made its way here. Cool lighting, industrial chic, sober coolness as the background for a psychological duel at the cutting edge. Against the background of the gender discussion, which forms a thematic underpinning here, the fact that one of the offices is painted in classic purple seems like a charming quote from the early years of the debate.

The whole thing was staged by director Esther Wenger, doctor of philosophy, “Like on real television. The staging of the sexes in television fiction.” That was the title of her doctoral dissertation in 1999, a subject whose core leads directly to the table, that between Inspector Odenthal and Bundeswehr Captain Kessler, the suspects played by Götz Otto, official Bond villain since “Der Morgen nie dies” ( The Tomorrow Never Dies), with all the necessary fat fluff between formal rigidity and machismo Tourette.

tirades and skirmishes

The class of this “crime scene” also lies in the fact that it doesn’t get caught up in the all-too-contemporary snares, but on the one hand loses sight of the tension – there’s nothing like a good old countdown – and onward the other hand, he trusts his staff to write the correct fuel in the screenplay. Bite wounds and petrol cans, rants and skirmishes, Odenthal a nanosecond before undressing, while colleagues Stern and Becker beat up a corpse(!) to extract a confession – it just steams with dramaturgical chutzpah. This is how it should continue after the summer break. In any case, the start had a lot of fire.

This Sunday it will be decided in Zurich, “Risks with side effects” is the title of the new episode with Tessa Ott (Carol Schuler) and Isabelle Grandjean (Anna Pieri Zuercher), on September 18 it goes to Stuttgart (“The killer in me”) ) and then it’s time again: performance by Felix Murot (Ulrich Tukur). This time he has to deal with the “law of karma” and a clever trickster. It all sounds like an exciting September.

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