FunAstrologyThanks to various supporting characters, the story is as...

Thanks to various supporting characters, the story is as complex as a film adaptation of a novel

Created: 10/08/2022, 8:01 p.m

Wendland - Stiller und die Geister der Vergangenheit
Jakob Stiller (Ulrich Noethen, center) is investigating a case with his colleagues Jürgen Fauth (Dominic Raacke, right) and Kira Engelmann (Paula Kalenberg, left). © Maor Waisburd Photography/ZDF

Worth seeing start to a new crime series with Ulrich Noethen as a commissioner from Hamburg who is deported to the provinces.

Frankfurt am Main – First of all, however, this start of a new series with Ulrich Noethen tells of a completely different event, which, however, only turns out to be a prelude: A task force from the Hamburg LKA wants to arrest a gang of drug dealers on the Reeperbahn. When a woman with a pram enters the scene, one of the officers delays access, but an overzealous colleague storms off with the other men.

In the end, the mission is successful, but the mother is dead. Years later, a young detective makes Jakob Stiller an offer he can hardly refuse. He was the policeman who wanted to hold the others back then; he then switched to the evidence room at his own request. Because the tragic incident was swept under the carpet, he wrote a factual novel that clearly names his colleague as the culprit. Now he is promoted to chief inspector and sworn away as the new district manager from Dahlow to Wendland; in return, he should sign an affidavit of discontinuance. The fact that it’s his daughter Ayana (Sylvana Seddig) who makes the offer doesn’t make things any better.

“Wendland: Stiller and the ghosts of the past” (ZDF): Any means is right

Perfect conditions for a crime drama. Especially since the shady colleague (Andreas Anke) reports Stiller and threatens Ayana. But Josef Rusnak (script and director), who with Noethen also shot the last two episodes of the ZDF series “Beside the Spur”, which was discontinued after eight films, radically changes the pace and signs after the gripping prologue: the thriller becomes a country crime thriller.

To the broadcast

8.10., ZDF, 8.15 p.m .: “Wendland: Stiller and the ghosts of the past”
The program in the ZDF media library.

Stiller had barely arrived at his new job one day before he was actually supposed to take office when someone died: Apparently, organic farmer Kraus shot himself. Predecessor Fauth (Dominic Raacke) immediately dismisses the case as a suicide, but shortly afterwards has to admit what his successor has long recognized: the gun is in the wrong hand. The ballistic examination also revealed an astounding hit: a cashier was shot dead with the same weapon during a bank robbery a good forty years ago, when the battle for the repository was raging in Wendland. The perpetrators were never caught, and Stiller realizes that in order to find Kraus’s murderer, he must solve the old case; however, someone will use any means necessary to ensure that the past remains dead and buried.

“Wendland: Stiller and the ghosts of the past” (ZDF): Apt cast

Thanks to various supporting characters, the story is as complex as a film adaptation of a novel. In addition, the cyclist Stiller, who cannot see blood, has a reputation as an alleged crime writer. And because he constantly comes across the traces of the former resistance in the “Republic of Free Wendland”, the years of that time play an important role, not only because of the earlier crime. The corresponding documentary material is just as harmoniously integrated into the present plot as the later flashbacks. Not only does Rusnak’s relaxed staging suit the setting, but also the slightly rocking music; contemporary songs underpin the nostalgic urges.

The cast is also apt, including Ruh Reinecke as an elderly lady whose dementia has mercifully ensured that a traumatic experience is forgotten. Paula Kalenberg plays Stiller’s assistant, whose wife runs the local inn. Kira Engelmann is impressed by the criminal acumen of her new boss, but given his sometimes lacking ability to empathize, considers a transfer. Hopefully that will let them stay: the old hand and the young colleague are a team worth seeing, both as characters and as actors. (Tilman P. Gangloff)

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