Inspector Murot separates the ghosts: While critics and fans celebrate the cases with the eccentric investigator as “really great art”, many are simply annoyed and want “a completely normal crime scene” with Sunday murder and manslaughter. But do both go together?
Even if religion is no longer a particularly big thing in this country, Sundays and especially Sunday evenings are still sacred to many Germans. Perhaps some of the efforts of the past week are still in their legs and head, but it is certain that everyday life will start all over again on Monday morning. Either way, millions of people gather every Sunday to end their week with a familiar ritual: the “crime scene”. The Germans’ favorite series is more than just a thriller, it can make a significant contribution to how the week starts for people – and is therefore a very sensitive topic.
Almost every week we receive letters from readers who are either dissatisfied with our “Tatort” criticism or the film itself – especially when a case breaks away from the familiar narrative grid that has made the series so hugely successful for 50 years, and instead experimented with new ideas. The Murot “crime scenes” with character actor Ulrich Tukur are probably the most obvious examples of how polarizing a film can be: the Wiesbaden inspector has already investigated one tarantinoesque splatter strips, defended in a tribute to B-movies from the 70s a police station against zombie criminals or experienced the same day again and again – “And the marmot greets every day” sends, uh, greetings.
“Just a completely normal crime scene”
While the critics almost invariably roll over their praise when reviewing the films and many TV viewers rave about “really great art”, the reactions on the other hand are almost even more violent: “Today I am ashamed of having been a crime scene for many years ‘To be a fan “, one viewer vented after the marmot adaptation of her disappointment. Another wrote on Twitter: “I just want a completely normal ‘crime scene’ again – a simple dead man, a commissioner, 85 minutes of searching for the murderer, who is then caught in the last five minutes.”
The woman speaks from the heart of many people who expect something very clear from a “crime scene” and are sometimes personally offended when things turn out differently. Rather moderate ratings and several shitstorms – not only in the Murot cases – after a couple of rather experimental seasons in the middle of the last decade led to a rethink among public broadcasters. “Tatort” should remain “Tatort”, art now only seems allowed if it is so subtly built in that you don’t have to see it if you just want to have a relaxed Sunday evening.
The latest case from the weekend shows that this can actually work pretty well if the makers make the appropriate effort: “The Holidays of Monsieur Murot” is, in terms of title and style, an homage to Jacques Tati’s classic “The Holidays of Monsieur Hulot” and the content is based on Kästner’s double Lottchen. But if you don’t feel like paying attention to pop quotes and other cinematic subtleties, you can easily look forward to a first-class, always exciting thriller. The letters to the editor in the coming days will certainly show whether everyone actually sees it like the critic.