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"Hartwig Seeler: In the labyrinth of revenge" (ARD) – There are worse things than death

Created: 09/19/2022, 04:50 am

In „Hartwig Seeler: Im Labyrinth der Rache“ (ARD) sieht sich der Detektiv mit neuen Rätseln konfrontiert.
In “Hartwig Seeler: In the Labyrinth of Revenge” (ARD), the detective is confronted with new mysteries. © Nikos Katsaros/dpa

In the captivating third film starring Matthias Koeberlin, the private detective gets caught up in the sinister conspiracy of an adversary whose existence he had no idea.

Frankfurt – Unfortunately, unlike in Great Britain or the USA, there is no tradition for private detectives in this country; That’s why ZDF snooper Wilsberg from Münster is virtually unrivaled in German TV crime thrillers. With Hartwig Seeler, ARD 2019 sent a competitor into play, but the Munich native is basically no competitor: the investigator, who has been mentally broken since the mysterious accidental death of his wife Maria, has to do primarily with himself. The thriller start of the third film, “In the Labyrinth of Rache”, also seems to mark the end of the series: Seeler (Matthias Koeberlin) looks into the muzzle of a gun, then a shot is fired; and now Johannes Fabrick, who also wrote and directed the other two episodes, tells what happened before.

Seeler’s latest case does not start out unusually: a man asks him to see if everything is right in Greece. The client’s brother was supposed to be selling a family home in the Peloponnese, but he hasn’t gotten in touch for days. The last sign of life was a photo showing him and a young woman in an obviously good mood visiting a tavern. Seeler travels to Kardamili with mixed feelings: Six years ago he spent a wonderful time with Maria (Dagny Dewath) on their first holiday together.

“Hartwig Seeler: In the labyrinth of revenge” today on ARD: All traces lead nowhere

He reassures his friend and ex-colleague Lasse (Lasse Myhr) and probably himself with the words “It’s just feelings”; a pious wish, as it soon turns out, because he is promptly haunted by memories on every street corner. Fabrick’s preferred cameraman, Helmut Pirnat, bathed the corresponding flashbacks with the lovers in a glorifying light. The detective thought he had learned to live with the loss, but now it all breaks open again. Crowning the coincidence: the woman in the photo has exactly the same domicile as the lovers did back then; fate seems to be playing a nasty trick on him.

That being said, vacationer Sarah (Petra Michelle Nérette) isn’t much of a help: She pretends not to know the man in the picture and claims the picture is fake. The detective is at a loss, all clues lead nowhere. Even the house supposedly for sale has a completely different owner. When he wants to leave without having achieved anything, he escapes death by a hair’s breadth: the brakes of his rental car have been tampered with; maybe it’s not fate that has it in mind after all.

Today on ARD: “Hartwig Seeler: In the labyrinth of revenge” falls out of line at first glance

Sarah creates an identikit of the man who was actually in the picture with her and who recommended the holiday home to her; shortly afterwards she is kidnapped. Lasse’s photo research in the police archive does lead to a hit, but it is only at the end, when the circle closes to the prologue, that the film reveals the dark truth of this plot by an opponent who is prominently cast in the form of Hendrik Heutmann, of whose existence Seeler had no idea up to that point. The sinister plan, which also includes Maria’s accident, drags him into the abyss step by step like in a murderous game, and the detective has to realize: There are worse things than death.

The dramas by Grimme Prize winner Fabrick usually deal with difficult topics such as the death of a child, the suicide of a loved one or incurable cancer (“Ein LangerBYe”, 2006; “Take good care of him!”, 2013; “If it’s on most beautiful”, 2014). The ARD series “Hartwig Seeler” initially seemed as if the Austrian wanted to do something different. In fact, the detective stories tell much more than just the usual “Who was it?” stories, because the cases also reflected the personal story of the detective: In the first film (“Dangerous Memory”), Seeler was looking for a young woman who had disappeared and found himself itself, the second (“A New Life”, 2021) was a lesson in the distortion of the present by the past.

“Hartwig Seeler: In the labyrinth of revenge” today on ARD: presumed conclusion of the trilogy

“Hartwig Seeler: In the labyrinth of revenge”

Saturday, September 17, 2022, 8:15 p.m., ARD, can be seen in the media library (video available until March 17, 2023)

This is also what the third part is about, in a way, which presumably marks the end of the trilogy: In between, Seeler muses on confabulation, a malfunction of the brain that sees connections where there are none, or fills memory gaps with memories that do not correspond to reality; both lead to the fact that one constructs one’s own reality. The detective has a similar experience, who increasingly has the feeling that a message is being conveyed to him that he does not understand. The shots of the archaic landscape form an attractive contrast to the increasingly sombre plot. (Tilman P. Gangloff)

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