The German Detective-series "Polizeiruf 110" (= "Policecall one-ten") was the most popular cop-series in the former eastern part of Germany and thereby the righteous brother of the west-German "tatort"-series. Therefore after the Reunion, the ARD (First west-German broadcasting agency and "tatort"-producing company) took over the franchise of "PC110" and established it as an additional high-quality premium series for the Sunday evening. Just like "tatort"-teams were established in east-German cities now, 110-law-enforcers were introduced in west-German urbanisides. The ARD had therefore her share on a factual reunion. I myself only started to follow "tatort" that strict that I never miss an episode a few years ago and therefore longly backed off to open up to one more detective franchise. Not for an anti-eastern-attitude but more from a lack of patience and time. Last Sunday's "110"-episode drastically changed that! I'll cling to the "Policecall" now too!
Lieutenant Jo Obermaier (Michaela May) and the one-armed lieutenant Jürgen Tauber (Edgar Selge) are on the trail of an obvious lunatic. The killer sneaked into a house in a Munich suburb at night, brutally killed the adult sleeping son with a supposed racket, then cold-blooded waited in that room until the parents arrived two hours later, waited 'til they went to bed (obviously knowing they wouldn't look into their sons room anymore), fell asleep and then killed them too the same way. The upper rooms look like a slaughterhouse and the film doesn't spare to confront the viewer in quick editing and (not so brief) police-pics from the scene.
Aside of the tension of the case as such, the authors and filmcrew dare to break a taboo for German cop-series: they show a complete investigative failure and a human catastrophe in the police-squad, whose members can't cope with the extreme brutality of the crime.
Obermayer's marriage is put at stack, since she's tormented by case as much as the audience. The District Attorney is a career-eager, opportunistic idiot. The task-force gets folded due to the lack of investigative success. Tauber is more and more losing it, oppressing witnesses, sleeping in his office, suffering of insomnia, trying to stay awake by power-drinks and quarrelling with his assistants. Both cops get regularly haunted by flashbacks. Camera and editing support that with various first-person camera-angles and partially with simple but nevertheless strong camera- and lense-fx.
Finally Tauber is forced to go into rehab after a nervous breakdown he had (outstanding performance!) because one suspect committed suicide when the pressure from the investigation destroys his social grid.
The actual case in the end is solved by Kommissar Zufall" (german police-gossip for Commissioner Coincidence") months later. Tauber has returned from rehab but has changed. In a final interrogation he faces the slayer as cold-eyed as that one must have been in the first place. Case closed. But the tragedy doesn't even stop at the doors of the police-tower. And there's nothing the two lieutenants can finally do.
I've waited for such consequence in German TV for years! For that, it must be said that this 110"-epsiode plays in the same league as the best British or Scandinavian detective series you can tell, the novels of UK-crime-writer David Peace or the works of Henning Mankell, visually somewhere near Fincher's Seven"; in a TV-scale of course!
To any responsible TV-award-jury in Germany: this deserves various German TV-awards and demands attention from all jurors! It also deserves more than the 10 stars that IMDb offers, I'd stack'em high on this. So add another 5 mental stars.