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Stuttgart crime scene "The murderer in me": He does not have the courage to look

Created: 09/16/2022, 2:55 p.m

Das Ehepaar Dellien, er ratlos und schuldbewusst, sie fassungslos. Bild: SWR/Benoît Linder
The Dellien couple, he at a loss and guilty, she stunned. Image: SWR/Benoît Linder © SWR/Benoît Linder

Niki Stein’s great Stuttgart crime scene “The murderer in me” only tells of a hit-and-run. But what does that even mean?

A man drives through darkness and rain. He’s on the phone, distracted. But would he otherwise have seen the homeless man pushing a heavily laden bike by the side of the road? Rather not: Dressed in dark, nothing reflective, nowhere. Only a red and white cap on her head, she will still play a role.

The man in the car is startled, something, someone has hit his car. He pulls to the side of the road and gets out. Takes an umbrella out of the car, backs up a few steps—hesitates a moment, turns back, tosses the umbrella into the back seat, gets in his car, drives away. He knows that’s wrong. He doesn’t have the courage to look.

“The murderer in me” is the title of the new Stuttgart crime scene. And anyone who now thinks: Are you a murderer because of a hit-and-run and out of cowardice?, is already at the core question of this unusual and great crime film by Niki Stein, script and direction. Unusual, great, because Stein never lived up to the expectations of a Sunday evening thriller. He does not relieve the viewer of moral thinking and decision-making. He creates the uncomfortable feeling that this could happen to you too: that alone on an unlit street you could be the one who does the bad thing, who gets in and drives. Perhaps actually convincing himself that it was a deer or wild boar.

Nicholas Reinke plays Ben Dellien, a lawyer being targeted for promotion by his boss. Not tough, not a good liar, not a bad guy, certainly not, just a regular guy. His wife Johanna, Christina Hecke, immediately notices that something has happened; he tells the story, cries, wants to call the police. – What, now he wants to turn himself in? Johanna Dellien thinks he can no longer undo his fatal decision. The man is dead, what’s the point of that, the truth, except jail for him? You can find the wife’s advice reasonable, of course, they have two children, and she is also very pregnant.

And the commissars? They don’t exactly get started with zeal either, wanting to know what they’re actually supposed to do at the scene of a hit-and-run. Far more than Lannert and Bootz, Richy Müller and Felix Klare, this case initially occupies the pathologist, Jürgen Hartmann, because he suspects even before the autopsy that this man “without a permanent home” could have been rescued, that it took hours until he bled to death inside.

But little by little it grabs her. Later, Lannert can no longer part with a plush rabbit that the victim had with him. Bootz is in crisis anyway: “Sometimes I just don’t feel like it anymore.” But of course they continue. Someone has to make sure the rules are followed. With their acute murder investigator blues, they sit together, drink, talk about life and their work. This is also an unexcited, unforced scene.

Niki Stein contrasts the wealthy Dellien family of lawyers (Johanna will also be going back to work soon after giving birth) with the single parent Tatiana Nekrasov as Laura, who works in a large car wash and interior cleaning facility. She knows the man – her son goes to school with his children – who interrupts her in the middle of cleaning and has to leave on the spot, an important appointment. A red and white cap stays where she takes it with her, since she lives nearby. Soon, thanks to television and newspapers, she’ll be putting two and two together.

But no, it doesn’t happen now what would happen in a mediocre crime scene or police call. Not only Laura Rensing’s decisions, but hers in particular are as surprising as they are not implausible on the other hand. “You don’t owe me anything,” she once told Ben Dellien.

The Killer in Me is also an attention-to-detail crime scene that doesn’t even make you rush to get the chips or empty the dishwasher. You might miss the completely casually spoken phrase: “There’s some virus going around”. You might miss Bootz making Delliens’ attorney a cappuccino with cocoa hearts.

“Crime scene: The murderer in me”, ARD, Sunday, 8:15 p.m.

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