Ballauf and Schenk continue to represent stability and success in the large “Tatort” cosmos. The Cologne investigators once again achieved huge ratings success with their current anniversary episode “This time it’s different”. According to AGF, 9.26 million people watched their 90th mission on TV on Sunday, April 28th. Only the episode “Unter Gärtnern” from Münster was seen by more crime fans this year, at 12.73 million. But what happens next for Klaus Behrendt (64) and Dietmar Bär (63)?

So far, WDR seems to continue to rely on its cult “crime scene”. In this way, the station is defying the current trend: many long-established teams from the popular crime series have already said goodbye in recent years or are currently on a farewell tour. For example, at the beginning of the year it was announced that the Munich investigators Leitmayr and Batic would be resigning from their positions next year after an incredible 100 episodes. The two have been in service together since 1991.

Only Lena Odenthal from Ludwigshafen, who has been in office since 1989, has been investigating for longer than Ballauf and Schenk (1997) after Leitmayr and Batic’s withdrawal. But: After the Munich withdrawal, the two people from Cologne will take over the top of the rankings with the most episodes among active investigators. In their 27 years of service, they have been able to solve more cases than their Rhineland-Palatinate colleague Odenthal. If Ballauf and Schenk also crack Batic and Leitmayr’s soon-to-be broadcast 100 Munich cases, they would even hold the record for the most missions of all “crime scene” teams ever investigating.

And this scenario is anything but unlikely: WDR currently broadcasts three Cologne “Tatort” episodes per year, which would mean that the 100th anniversary episode would be broadcast in 2027. Two more “Tatort” episodes with Behrendt and Schenk have already been filmed. The film “Seventh Floor” is scheduled to run in autumn 2024, “Rest Debt” in the first weeks and months of next year. Filming on another Cologne “crime scene” also started in April 2024. The film with the working title “Colonius” will then be broadcast as the 93rd Ballauf-und-Schenk crime thriller in 2025. According to media reports, another film is also already being planned.

So things continue unabated with Ballauf and Schenk, which the two of them confirmed once again in a current interview with the television magazine “Hörzu”. There are always “new stories, new books, new teams”, which is why there is no risk of falling into routines, says Klaus J. Behrendt. And his colleague Dietmar Bär also denies all rumors about an alleged end: “We constantly hear the question of how long we want to continue. But there is no reason for us to think about stopping.”

The question does not arise for Behrendt either: “We have just signed a new multi-year contract.” For Bär, the “crime scene” is also a “golden workplace”. However, Behrendt is not motivated to continue taking over the “Tatort” record from Munich. He doesn’t think like that: “It’s always about the next film. And that one has it all.”

By the way: Few people can remember, but Ballauf was a “crime scene” detective even before the first meeting with Schenk. Behrendt had previously investigated the Düsseldorf branch as Max Ballauf. Alongside Bernd Flemming (played by Martin Lüttge, 1943-2017) and Miriam Koch (Roswitha Schreiner, 59), Ballauf was on board from 1992. After eight episodes, Behrendt left in 1994. His former Düsseldorf team continued to investigate until 1997 and then passed the baton to Ballauf and Schenk to Cologne. This means that Ballauf has already investigated the “crime scene” a total of 98 times. The sole record for the most “crime scene” cases as a commissioner is already secure.