Germany's longest running TV Show and a true child of federalism.

Tatort (the german term for "Crime scene") has been around since 1970. The 29th November 1970, to be exact. On that day, at 20:15, the first Tatort went on air, with a chap called Walter Richter playing the first in a long line of police detectives, trying to solve a crime in 90 minutes. The theme music by Klaus Doldinger and the scary opening sequence hasn't been changed in 33 years. Due to the federal nature of german public broadcasting (there are 9 regional public broadcasters) every month a different detective from a different city will solve a case, as the regional broadcasters will take turns in producing the series (at the moment, the teams are from Munich, Leipzig, Frankfurt, Cologne, Münster, Kiel, Hamburg, Saarbrücken, Ludwigshafen, Hannover, Bremen, Berlin, Stuttgart and, er, Austria and Switzerland).

This is no Miami Vice or CSI: no explosions, few car chases, no machinegun battles. The protagonists (Baddies and Good Guys) are normally thoughtful, brainy blokes (and girls) who think first, then talk a lot, and rarely shoot. If you've ever seen Germany's most successful TV-Export, Derrick, you know what I mean. Current favourites seem to be the team from Cologne, which is not surprising: the local accent and general liberal attitude of the city are well reflected in the scripts and things tend to be a bit funnier as well. But, still: a Tatort is 99% talking and 1 percent action.

That doesn't mean it's not entertaining: The stories mostly reflect current contemporary currents in German society and are mostly very well written. Bad Boys II this ain't, but for a lazy sunday evening with a nice beer and some crisps on the sofa, Tatort is perfect.

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