With "Der Kommissar" it all started, in 1969, remarkably at the same time when the young R.W. Fassbinder started to clear out the Augias Stables from the Sex-, Lederhosen, Heimat- and Edgar Wallace movies. However, the Kommissar remained during 97 episodes, until 1977, and it was followed by similar individual-based series such as "Derrick" and "Der Alte". As old as "The Kommissar" is only "Tatort" which in these days can celebrate its 40th birthday with a total of 777 episodes.
Herbert Keller, the "Kommissar" is never alone but always encompassed by his 3 male and 2 female assistant. However, they are side-kicks. Although couples consisting of protagonist + side-kick were known a long time specially from British and American comedy in Europe, it obviously took a while until the reduction from 5 to 1 was established: So, Derrick has his Harry Klein (originally one of the 3 males of the "Kommissar"), and Der Alte has 1-2 (which are also known from different roles in "The Kommissar".
Kommissar Keller is a fatherly type, he smokes a lot and drinks even during work and in his office, the same is true for his collaborators, specially for one of the women. Nothing was aseptic like in a hospital these times, and in America, one can shed tears nowadays. While Keller's method is strongly instinct-based, his successor Derrick's method is first rather rude and unmotivated and grows to psychological analysis during the years. "Der Alte" is similar rather to Keller, but a lonely wolf - and he found his adequate end.
While "The Kommissar", "Derrick", and "Der Alte" nowadays rear their heads again, it is to deplore that the fourth series in the "club", "Die Unsterblichen Methoden Des Franz Josef Wanninger"/"The eternal methods of Franz Josef Wanninger" with the full-fledged Bavarian giant Beppo Brem in the main role, has been almost fully forgotten. All the four series together build a "Quadrumvirate" which testifies of German TV on the level of its best.
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