July 2012: Unter Verdacht – Hase und Igel
Film of the Month July 2012
Unter Verdacht – Hase und Igel
(„Under Suspicion – The Hare and the Hedgehog“)
Unter Verdacht was first aired on 2nd August 2002 on arte.
Produced by ZDF/arte, it’s one of the best police series on German TV. So far 18 episodes were aired, #19 is currently in production.
Most of the show is very well written and directed, original and fun to watch. The main location is the Commissariat of Munich, were recently department 411, internal affairs, was installed. Having a bad reputation among the police as crows who foul their own nest, the department is licensed to investigate crime committed by police officers and prosecutors.
Our title hero, Police Councillor Dr. Eva Prohacek, played by Senta Berger who delivers a great performance throughout the entire series, is called from the Police Academy of Augsburg by Dr. Claus Reiter, the head of the Commissariat, played by Gerd Anthoff, to become head of the newly founded department.
What makes the character of Eva Prohacek interesting and original is that she has her flaws. Before being called to her new office, she had a car accident whilst driving on a dark road at night that left her injured and her son dead. As a consequence, she is in an instable mental condition at the beginning of the series and forced to see the police counsellor (although she likes to “forget” her appointments). She also tries unsuccessfully to quit smoking during the entire series, doesn’t always follow closely protocol and sometimes gets drunk and has a hangover at work.
She’s given an assistant for her new duty, Police Chief Inspector André Langner, played by Rudolf Krause, who’s not exactly happy to be relocated to the new department. In an evaluation of all inspectors of the Commissariat, he had the worst result. Prohacek soon finds out that Reiter wanted them to be the “idiot department” that doesn’t get in the way. Reiter wants to charm Prohacek, he considers her a weak woman who falls for it, but Prohacek doesn’t take the bait.
Another original idea is Dr. Reiter being the arch-enemy of the show. The Head of Commissariat is involved in all kinds of mischief, as Prohacek discovers early on her new job.
A part of Reiter’s plan that wasn’t well thought out is that Dr. Prohacek, as a consequence of her new office, is second in command of the Commissariat and authorized to issue directives at all of Bavaria’s police force – this means trouble!
Prohacek’s main ambition is to proof Reiter guilty and charge him for his crimes. But each time she’s getting close to her goal, Reiter slips out of her hands again…
The episode “Hase und Igel”, the 9th episode of the series, was directed by Ed Herzog and first aired on 11th August 2007 on arte.
The story starts with a flashback to 1993 where we witness a police inspector, played by CW, getting into a really awkward situation. He’s at a construction site where some crime is taking place. It’s just not his day – he’s getting captured by the criminals and a woman, who unfortunately enters the scene of crime, is getting shot. Later, the inspector’s colleagues arrive and find him passed out, gun in hand. The inspector in charge is Claus Reiter…
We cut to 13 years later. Our cop is released from prison where he spent the last 13 years, sentenced for murder. As he leaves, nobody’s there to pick him up.
To set some things straight, he sneaks into Reiter’s office and when Reiter and Prohacek arrive at the scene, handcuffs himself to Reiter’s chair to emphasize how serious he is about this.
The intruder introduces himself as Thomas Sell, a former Police Chief Inspector, and colleague to Reiter. He blames Reiter on framing him with murder. 13 years ago, both were running for the job as head of Commissariat. Sell insists that Reiter manipulated proof to get Sell into prison and out of the way as Reiter knew that Sell would get the job. To make things worse, not only was Sell’s career gone, his family also broke off contact with him 13 years ago and his wife divorced from him.
While Reiter tries to laugh it off as the fantasies of a man who can’t cope with what he’s done, Prohacek isn’t so sure that Sell is lying and, to Reiter’s dismay, agrees to hear Sell out.
Sell tells Prohacek what he remembers of that faithful night: he went onto the construction site drunk after he got a tip that the criminals he was investigating against were meeting there that night. Things didn’t go to well for him and he got kidnapped by the bad guys. He recalls the voice of one of the two criminals and a shot, fired by one of the bad guys. Whoever killed the woman was not him. Still insisting that Reiter, who back then was running the investigation against him, framed him, he beseeches the Police Councillor to look into his case and give Reiter what he deserves.
Dr. Prohacek wouldn’t miss a chance to finally find proof on her arch-enemy’s mischief, she starts to investigate in the case together with her assistant Langner.
Reiter is mostly unpleased and signs off ill before Prohacek gets a chance to suspend him.
Sell, paying his family a surprise visit, has to learn that Reiter has been “comforting” his ex-wife while he was in prison.
Prohacek finds some inconsistences about Reiter’s investigation and wants to learn more about the relationship between Reiter and Sell and also the relationship between Reiter and the prime constructor who ran that very construction site.
Being impatient, Sell urges Prohacek to find the criminals who kidnapped him and when he thinks that she isn’t taking him serious enough, he decides to see the job through himself to proof Reiter guilty and himself innocent. After all, he has a gun and nothing left to lose…
Was Sell really framed like he claims?
What mischief does Reiter have a hand in this time?
Who will find the bad guys first?
And does Prohacek finally catch her enemy?
You will have to watch this thrilling episode to get your questions answered!
This episode is well acted, well written, has an interesting set-up and is also well filmed and directed. We learn more about the main characters of the show and their past. CW and Senta Berger work especially well together here. Senta Berger delivers a great performance as Dr. Eva Prohacek throughout the entire series and this episode is no exception. The additional cast on this episode also does a very fine job, especially Jevgenij Sitochin as “The Fly” Mucha delivers a great performance.
Mr. Waltz’s performance really makes you feel for his character and you can tell how desperate his character is after being treated, in his eyes, so wrongly and unjust. While the character also has a dark side to him, you still can’t help feeling sorry for him, especially in a very moving scene when he meets his son again after being apart for 13 years. Due to his good acting, the character is believable at all times and corresponds very well with the other characters. He’s delivering a fine piece of acting you wouldn’t want to miss.
The episode is very enjoyable to watch, it is thrilling and entertaining. Another good installment of a good crime show worth watching.