'bout "Tatort Hart an der Grenze", first aired March 09th 2008
This "tatort" episode introduces a new couple of detectives in the German city of Stuttgard after the character of Detective Bienzle (performed by Dietz-Werner Steck) retired and quit the series after long years of screen-duty. Bienzle was a more moderate, conservative character and so were the episodes. The ARD (First German Channel) introduced a more contemporary crime-unit now. And they succeeded.
Richy Müller (Det. Lannert) and Felix Klare (Det. Bootz) perform in best buddy-tradition: the motive of two detectives with contrary characters who must get used to each other to clean the streets has become a standard throughout the years and has also found it's way into the "tatort" the best German detective-series ever! Here it has been performed better or worse throughout recent years, but this match could become a classic easily.
The detectives Lannert and Bootz are on the trail of an illegal adoption-outfit that trades and sells children abducted from eastern europe towards Germany and western europe and whose henchmen are willing to even kill the kids to stay covert. The discovery of a child's body initiates the case.
Among many good points and despite the serious issue, this episode's funny moments were truly funny, even in a better way than the "tatorte" from Münster where the humor has lately begun to appear too "constructed".
Outstanding is propably the scene when Bootz & Lannert investigate in the suspicious agency, impersonating a gay couple with an adoption-wish, both trying to score each other's "authentic behaviour" and thereby irritate each other more and more - hilarious! Also scenes when Lannert double-crosses Bootz about his authority, or later Bootz impressing the DA with "knowledge" about a (made-up) constitutional amendment, are excellently reprised classics.
Lannert initially tells that he "can't show up there (Hamburg, his former beat) anymore" and at the very end of the episode he leaves a mysterious bullet on his desk. Those hints about a blown operation during his Hamburg line-of-duty give hope for more interesting background for the characters to be revealed in forthcoming episodes.
The music score deserves an extra mention as surely one of the most outstanding background music works ever conceived for a "tatort" episode. It's not far fetched to draw parallels to John Carpenter's "Escape from NY"-score here.
The episode also features a cool chase (car vs. enduro) which (spoiler ahead!) ends up in the ditch and is particularly therefore accurate.
This, the tension between the two cops and even the wardrobe for the characters reminded me a little about for example "Starsy & Hutch" or other cop-classics. Vintage meets Forward here in a good stir.
A couple of days before the episode was aired, regarding the car-chase-scene actor Richy Müller in a talkshow actually almost disqualified himself when he admitted regular highway-speeding and criticised an anti-speeding campaign. SLOW DOWN, DU NASE! It's cool on screen, it sucks in real!
A couple of days after the episode was aired, actor Dietz-Werner Steck, who performed Detective Bienzle mourned about the lack of local identification, the dark urban pattern and the more action-bound up-tempo of the new Stuttgard-"tatort". True, but that is not criticisable. This "tatort" is simply contemporary and therefore of course can't slow-around as the more set Bienzle-films anymore.
I look forward for this buddies, as much as for the new "tatort"-Detective for Hamburg.
To all non-German users: "Hart an der Grenze" is German for "Close to the edge", "Close Call" or "To The Limit". "Grenze" also means "border" and refers to the transeuropean character of story.
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