A dirt road somewhere on the edge of the forest, it’s pitch black, two cars are driving through the night. Chief Inspector Paul Brix (Wolfram Koch), other colleagues and the suspect Anton Schilling (Niels Bormann) are sitting in the vehicles. Schilling claims to have witnessed a murder. The police officer Simon Laby was shot and his body was buried in a field. During the night drive, Schilling is supposed to lead the investigators to the crime scene, but he can’t remember exactly. Schilling has been drinking, is scared and in the dark all the fields look the same. While Brix slowly loses patience and doubts whether there was even a murder, his colleague Anna Janneke (Margarita Broich) finds out that Laby owned a forest cabin. There the investigators discovered a warehouse full of food, water supplies as well as weapons and ammunition from police and Bundeswehr stocks. Janneke and Brix realize that it’s about more than just a police officer being killed. A former colleague of Brix’s, police officer Peter Radomski (Godehard Giese), appears to be involved in the case.

“Real life was the inspiration,” says Bastian Günther, who wrote the script for the crime thriller and also directed it. He used the incidents within the Frankfurt police force that have made numerous headlines in recent years as a template. It was about right-wing extremist chat groups and threatening letters signed “NSU 2.0” as well as firearms and ammunition stolen from the evidence room. Although there were criminal investigations into the cases, “many unanswered questions remain,” says director Günther, who also draws a line on the Reich citizen and prepper scene in his film. “We keep talking about individual cases. I don’t want to lump all police officers together, most of them are certainly good people. But how many individual cases make up a network?” “Tatort” tries to find an answer to this question and delivers gripping images at the end.

The film primarily takes place at night and it is dark all the time. Only car headlights illuminate the scene. Inspector Brix asks in between: “Where are the colleagues with the lamps?”, and as a viewer you want to shout to him loudly: “Yes, where?”, because you can hardly see anything. The darkness is of course intended for dramatic purposes, but it is grueling in the long run. Apparently not just for the people in front of the screens. “At some point, in the third week of night shooting, you notice a collective fatigue in the team,” says director Bastian Günther.

Inspector Brix is ​​one of the main characters in the crime thriller. Not only because he has a connection to the suspected police officer Peter Radomski, but also because he acts in many scenes without his colleague Janneke. It takes around 30 minutes for the investigator to even appear, and she also plays a minor role throughout the film.

If you don’t want to be put off by dark images and dark themes, you’re welcome to tune in. If you need light fare, you’re better off with “Fack Ju Göthe 2” on Sat.1.

The Frankfurt commissioners Anna Janneke and Paul Brix also investigated these cases: