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Today in the first: ARD series “Der Zürich-Krimi” looks like a relic from earlier times

In the thirteenth film in the successful series “Der Zürich-Krimi”, lawyer Thomas Borchert tries to bring a kidnapping to a good end.

Frankfurt – You have to face the facts. While public opinion assumes that German television viewers only want to see high-quality series such as those shown by US subscription channels such as HBO, AMC, Showtime or the British broadcasters BBC and ITV, the reality is different. The ten most watched series of the past year include “Der Bergdoktor”, “Der Staatsanwalt”, “Die Berggretter”. After all, also “Der Usedom-Krimi” (ARD), which with its rather gloomy appearance doesn’t quite fit into the list of feel-good productions.

“The Zurich thriller: Borchert and the prodigal son” (ARD): Bronze for Borchert

Also in the top ten, in third place: “The Zurich crime thriller”. While even “Der Bergdoktor” has undergone moderate modernization over the years, this crime series by the first seems like a relic from earlier times. The main character and namesake of the respective subtitles is the lawyer Thomas Borchert (Christian Kohlund), who originally ordered himself to Zurich on the run from the German authorities. He is no longer admitted to the bar, but still runs an office. Nominally, the lawyer Dominique Kuster (Ina Paule Klink) is the boss here. Realiter gives Borchert the instructions.

In the current episode of the “Zurich crime thriller”, one of these old friends, Antonius Bildermann (Uwe Kockisch), reports. Apparently the gentlemen have known each other since their student days, but the audience has never seen this picture man. What is needed is what Samuel Taylor Coleridge would say, arbitrary suspension of disbelief. And not too close.

“The Zurich thriller: Borchert and the prodigal son” (ARD): Wistfulness in the caravan

Borchert looks at old photos in his luxury caravan. In addition, director Roland Suso has judge Eric Burdon’s “Good Times” recorded, a sad song about missed opportunities. The lawyer colleague Dominique Kuster is demoted to the chauffeuse by Borchert and has to drive him to Bildermann, who would have liked to draw up a prenuptial agreement because he is planning to marry again. Which at least one of two sons from their first marriage does not approve of.

After all, Dominique Kuster gets a nice joke from screenwriter Rainer Ruppert. Borchert claims to have formed a rowing team with Bildermann. Kuster to disbelief: “You once made sport?” And then she says, “Yes. Man – always new pages to you Borchert”

“The Zurich crime thriller: Borchert and the prodigal son” (ARD): The lawyer you trust

The matter makes it into the Swiss crime statistics when son Julian (Johannes Meister) is kidnapped while jogging at night. Before that, he had asked for an appointment on the office’s answering machine. Antonius Bildermann calls in Borchert again, who also seizes the regiment, gives instructions to the police, takes over negotiations with the kidnappers and handing over the ransom. They accept him without contradiction, although they do not even know him and should actually assume that he is a member of the police.

role Actress
Thomas Borchert Christian Kohlund
Dominique Kuster Ina Paule Klink
Marco Furrer Pierre Kiwitt
Antonius Bildermann Uwe Kockisch

There are still quite a few things that demand from the observer: tolerance in matters of credibility. Why, in the movies, do people never jump aside when a car is racing towards them? Especially if an attack is to be expected.

“The Zurich thriller: Borchert and the prodigal son” (ARD): Failed modernity

The mediocre acting performances in “The Zurich crime thriller: Borchert and the prodigal son” don’t make it any better. Christian Kohlund acts notoriously at low speed, hums guttural instructions and clever comments and takes a lot of time with all of this. Ina Paule Klink as the lawyer Kuster shows herself to be more flexible in every respect, but always stands a little aside. So she (endures) the same fate as before in the ZDF series “Wilsberg”, where she – what again? Correct: – embodied a lawyer in a supporting role and also had to work in this part for a lawyer whose license had been withdrawn. Anyone who knows how to read the tips of their noses does not need long to identify the perpetrator.

“The Zurich thriller: Borchert and the prodigal son”

Thursday, December 30th, 2021, 8:15 p.m., Das Erste, ARD-Mediathek

The utter honesty of the script and the performance of the actor stands in strange contradiction to the antics of the director. Sometimes the time level is changed without need, there are irritating text-image scissors and axis jumps – sometimes the camera is on the left of the speaking protagonist, sometimes on the right. Common stylistic devices that have been used consciously for a long time, not least in series narratives, but which seem like foreign bodies here and on top of that seem rather clumsy. An awkward attempt to simulate modernity.

But the audience obviously likes it that way. And success proves the producers right. (Harald Keller)

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