EDITOR’S NOTE: We happily discovered Dr. Pearl Brandwein while reviewing MHz Choice subscriber feedback on our programs and, after reading a half dozen or so of Dr. Brandwein’s insightful reviews, all of us here at MHz Choice had the same thought: We need to get the good doctor to write for us! Enjoy! -MHz Choice

Tatort: Weimar now streaming on MHz Choice!

TATORT (“Scene of the Crime”) is Germany’s longest-running police procedural, broadcast since 1970 with multiple investigators across multiple cities solving crimes. The former East Germany’s TV version, POLIZEIRUF 110 (“Police dial 110”), which began in 1971 with the same premise and also continues to the present day, includes the very popular BUKOW & KÖNIG series. Since Reunification, TATORT has become Germany’s answer to America’s LAW & ORDER – without the courtroom histrionics.

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Christian Ulmen and Nora Tschirner in Tatort: Weimar on MHz Choice

The newest addition to MHz Choice’s Tatort line-up is TATORT: WEIMAR, starring Christian Ulmen and Nora Tschirner as Inspectors Lessing and Dorn. This police duo are introduced to viewers when Inspector Lessing arrives earlier than expected at the scene of a hostage situation – which, unknown to him, is not what it seems. The cerebral, appropriately sarcastic Lessing is equally matched by the street-smart, intuitive Dorn as they enjoy the verbal sparring while questioning suspects, sifting through motives, chasing down leads and catching the perpetrators — having a great time along the way. Lessing and Dorn enjoy their jobs and each other in a variety of scenarios balancing wit and wisdom in incremental layers of due diligence, patience, common sense and perseverance while solving the most atypical and distinctly unbelievable crimes in the TATORT franchise. True to crime fiction fashion, red herrings abound in an ocean of misdirection and manipulation. Only our intrepid duo can make sense out of ‘nonsense’ by seeing the logic in the ‘illogical,’ and then arresting the criminals whose motives and alibis are appallingly spurious.

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TATORT: WEIMAR (et alii) – haunted by its scandalous past and sordid present – is a “must-see” series for viewers who love the interplay and relationship dynamics between partners.

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In TATORT: BOROWSKI, set in Kiel, Axel Milberg portrays the socially awkward ex-husband and father who is a great detective but an exasperating colleague – at least according to his assistant, Dr. Frida Jung (Maaren Eggert).

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TATORT: LINDHOLM features another singular detective in Charlotte Lindholm, portrayed by Maria Furtwaengler, first based in Hanover then later Göttingen. As the female, lone wolf investigator, Lindholm is adept at crime-solving but a failure at living life. Her muddled relationships are the result of her obsessively-focused devotion to her profession.

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TATORT: MUNICH features the duo of Inspectors Ivo Betic (Miroslav Nemec) and Franz Leitmayr (Udo Wachtveitl). These two well-paired, white-haired detectives may lack charisma but make up for it in grit, stamina, dogged determination and a smooth professional relationship which spills over into a close friendship.

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TATORT: COLOGNE’s detectives Max Ballauf (Klaus J. Behrendt) and Freddy Schenk (Dietmar Bär) have a true bromance, enjoying each other’s company while always catching criminals in far-fetched, outlandishly surreal stories. I enjoyed the give and take between the partners, and I am sure viewers will enjoy it as well.

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In TATORT: STREETS OF BERLIN, Meret Becker and Mark Waschke portray Inspectors Nina Rubin and Robert Karow, respectively. As the perfectly-paired odd couple, they do not get along, yet must work together out of necessity. Inspector Karow, with a questionable record, often goes rogue, always aided by Inspector Rubin in this hard-hitting, bare-knuckled police drama that breaks all the rules and defies conventions to solve a variety of murders – the fanatic, the grotesque, the mundane, the vindictive, the pre-meditated, the macabre and the accidental. This is my favorite in the TATORT franchise. It has a grittiness and realism that is hard to look at or away from.

The Cityscapes of Tatort

The action of each series is viewed through the cinematographer’s lens. We are treated to panoramic cityscapes unique to each city including the following:

Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city and Europe’s third largest port on the Elbe River. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an international economic powerhouse and tourist destination with a rich architectural history and musical venues whose Hamburger Schule paved the way for the Beatles and other music groups/movements.

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Town Hall in Hamburg, Germany

Cologne (Köln) is the largest city on the Rhine and Germany’s major industrial center for the aerospace, chemical and automotive industries.

Munich is Bavaria’s capital and Germany’s third largest city. As the seat of Nazi power, it was heavily bombed during World War II; however, it’s post-War “economic miracle” restored the city to its leading role as a global center of finance and business; IT, electronics & technology; arts & culture; science & innovation as well as education.

Hanover is the capital of Lower Saxony, located on the River Leine and the Ihme tributary. An important transportation hub for railways and highways, the city hosts trade shows for all types of transport vehicles and logistics. Berlin is Germany’s capital and most populated city since Reunification. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the EU’s foremost cultural, political and economic super power with high-tech firms; media, industrial and biotech companies rivaling the US in GDP and exports.

Göttingen in lower Saxony is famous for Georg August University (founded in 1734) whose alumni include the Brothers Grimm; German Chancellors Otto von Bismarck and Gerhard Schroeder among others.

Weimar was the center of the 17th and 18th Century German Enlightenment (Kant, Leibniz, Wolff, von Herder) and the home of Goethe and Schiller. It also flourished as a music center (Bach, Haydn, Mozart) because of Lizst. During the interwar years, it was an artistic and architectural mecca due to the establishment of the Bauhaus movement by Walter Gropius in 1919. Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Wassily Kandinsky are some of the artists associated with the Bauhaus aesthetique. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the country’s first democratic constitution was signed and later popularized by the Nazis.

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By User:Nikater - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikipedia

About the author:
A lover of Romance languages and cultures, Dr. Pearl Brandwein has a Certificate in French Culture and Civilization from the Sorbonne. She then earned both her Masters’ degree in French Language/Literature and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from New York University. Dr. Brandwein’s areas of academic expertise include the Renaissance and the Faust Figure in European Literature in addition to 19th and 20th Century Drama. Her other interests include writing about Holocaust Literature.

Dr. Brandwein began her teaching career at Princeton University followed by faculty positions at other academic institutions. In addition to French, she has also taught German, Latin, English Composition and ESL to corporate executives. After academia, she held numerous positions in the public and private sectors working as an Editor/Instructor/Administrator and as a PR professional and business communications executive directing editorial and marketing initiatives for EU clients.

She is a cineaste and a lover of Film Noir, Westerns and foreign films as well as a theatre and opera buff; she also attends concerts, lectures, ballet performances, museum and gallery exhibitions. In her rare spare time, she reads voraciously.


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