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Crime "Dr. Hoffmann: The Russian donation”: ARD should still work on the quality

In the opening film of a planned new crime series on ARD, Kai Wiesinger plays a doctor and hobby detective: “Dr. Hoffman”. The TV review.

Frankfurt – At least since the series “Dr. House” the audience knows that physicians and criminologists, diagnosticians and case analysts often proceed in very similar ways. Also that their jobs bring related experiences. Gregory House always assumed that “all patients lie”. Police officers have also been heard to talk about witnesses in this way.

dr Felix Hoffmann (Kai Wiesinger) is an emergency doctor and anything but trusting. When one of the patients dies after a hard night in the outpatient clinic, the doctor is taken aback. He had recently examined the man, a clinic worker of Ukrainian descent, and released him as healthy. Did he make a mistake? In the death certificate, he ticks “unexplained” after the cause of death.

The next day he learns that the entry was changed behind his back. The body is already on its way to the crematorium. You can’t autopsy ashes.

ARD crime series “Dr. Hoffmann”: Celine smells murky machinations

Hoffmann’s neighbor and intimate friend, the teacher Celine (Isabell Polak), who at least according to the ARD press kit has no last name, a fate she shares with many female TV characters, is an avid crime reader and suspects a conspiracy.

The dead man’s medical file wanders along winding paths, and slowly Dr. Hoffmann that criminal forces are actually at work here. A mysterious Russian crosses his path several times, Dr. Bredow (Rainer Strecker) behaves strangely and ends up hanging dead from the ceiling. Another untimely demise that is obviously intended to be concealed.

role Actress
dr Felix Hoffman Kai Wiesinger
teacher Celine Isabel Polak
dr Bredow Rainer Stretcher
Beate cousin Anita Vulesica

The well-known grievances in German hospitals, lack of staff and professional stress, are mentioned again and again, especially at the beginning of a brisk montage sequence dedicated to the challenges of a night shift in the emergency room. The criminal case then develops in its own direction and distracts from the circumstances in need of reform.

“Dr. Hoffmann” in the ARD: The accountant helps out of trouble

Felix and Celine play amateur detective according to the well-known model, break into offices at night, stalk suspects, sneak through the night. However, it is not necessarily their deductive skills that bring them closer to solving the case. Rather, they get various help, especially from Beate Vetter (Anita Vulesica), the very clever bookkeeper from Celine’s school, without whom the decision would have been fatal for Felix and Celine. The supporting staff is always introduced when it is needed, so usually remains – unfortunately – colorless.

Felix and Celine like to tease each other, are probably intended as contemporary descendants of Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles or Maddie Hayes and David Addison from the series “The Model and the Snoop”. In order to catch up with these couples, Nils-Morten Osburg and Edzard Onneken, who wrote the screenplay based on a novel by Christoph Spielberg, would have to come up with noticeably more lively dialogues. A laconic “you’re annoying” is pretty flimsy.

“Dr. Hoffmann: The Russian donation”, Thursday, February 17, 2022, 8:15 p.m., Das Erste

ARD crime thriller “Dr. Hoffmann”: Continuation not excluded

Director Max Zahle tries to give the whole thing an elegant style, uses split-screen and other effects and accompanies the action with the very successful pulsating music by Florian Tessloff. In terms of resources, the film is reminiscent of the British series “Hustle”, but does not achieve its chic. It doesn’t quite fit when the scene changes with an elegant lamellar dissolve and the camera is then aimed at a shabby industrial ruin. There is an unfavorable gap between style and content.

But one thing has to be given to the team’s credit: the film ends in a pleasingly immoral way. The Thursday thrillers in the first have become more demanding overall, but this key has so far been missing in this round, at least in the form of regular contributions.

If successful, “Dr. Hoffmann” to be continued as a series. Basically not a bad idea. But the quality still needs work. (Harold Keller)

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