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Tatort

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Original language(s)  German
First episode date  29 November 1970
Number of episodes  1,011
7.3/10 IMDb

Theme music composer  Klaus Doldinger
Running time  90 Minutes
Theme song  Tatort Titelmelodie
Networks  ARD, Das Erste
Tatort wwwdaserstedeunterhaltungkrimitatortfallback
Starring  Götz George Manfred Krug Ulrike Folkerts Klaus J. Behrendt Harald Krassnitzer Eva Mattes Jan Josef Liefers Martin Wuttke Wotan Wilke Möhring and others
Country of origin  Germany Austria Switzerland
No. of episodes  1016 (+13) (26 March 2017) (list of episodes)
Writers  Lars Montag, Martin Ambrosch, Stephan Falk, Harald Göckeritz
Cast  Jan Josef Liefers, Ulrich Tukur, Maria Furtwängler, Manfred Krug, Ulrike Folkerts
Similar  Polizeiruf 110, Derrick, The Old Fox, Inspector Rex, Gute Zeiten - schlechte
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1 6 tatort glaube liebe tod english subtitles


Tatort (Crime scene) is a German language police procedural television series that has been running continuously since 1970 with some 30 feature-length episodes per year, which makes it the longest-running German TV-drama. Developed by the German television channel ARD, it is unique in its approach, in that it is jointly produced by all of the station's regional public-service broadcasters whereby every regional station contributes a number of episodes to a common pool. Therefore, the series is a collection of different police stories where different police teams each solve crimes in their respective city. Uniqueness in architecture, customs and dialects of the cities is therefore a distinctive part of the series and often the city, not the police force is the real main character of an episode. The concept of local stations only producing a couple of shows per year has also enabled the shows to be longer (90 minutes) and more fleshed out psychologically than other weekly TV dramas.

Contents

The first episode was broadcast on 29 November 1970. Episodes are broadcast on ARD's main channel Das Erste on Sunday evening at the prime viewing time of 8.15 pm (just after the 8 o'clock Tagesschau news) around three times a month. Reruns are often shown by various regional ARD stations and on foreign broadcasters. Next to the member stations of the ARD, the National Austrian broadcasting corporation Österreichischer Rundfunk joined the production pool in 1971 and airs the program on its ORF 2 channel. Switzerland's Schweizer Fernsehen joined the pool from 1990 to 2001 and again in 2011 and distributes its episodes through its channel SRF 1.

The series Polizeiruf 110 by ARD's regional broadcasters Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR), Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) and Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) is closely related to the Tatort format and shares the same program slot on Das Erste.

Mc sesman eres tu from tatort tv series


Concept

The main feature of Tatort is that it is jointly produced by all participating regional TV stations: Each of the eleven companies involved (the nine German regional TV channels or Landesrundfunkanstalten that together form ARD, plus ORF in Austria and SRF in Switzerland), produces its own episodes, starring its own police inspector or team of inspectors. The episodes are then fed into a common pool and shown through all participating stations as part of their common programming. This means that if one Tatort features one team of inspectors in one specific city, the next Tatort will play in another city and feature another set of inspectors. Combine this with the fact that the episodes are, with 90 minutes of length, almost the size of a movie and with the fact that, with rarely more than 30 episodes in one year, the series is broadcast only every other week and you come up with a cultural phenomenon that is closer to a string of made-for-TV movies then your typical run-of-the-mill police series.

This pooling concept was in great part due to the nature of the public broadcast television channel ARD which is jointly operated by all of Germany's public Landesrundfunkanstalten: Originally developed as radio stations, each 'Anstalt' produces its own radio channels, but cooperates on national programs such as the newscasts that are broadcast throughout all channels as a common block. With the advent of television, this was expanded further in that there was only one national channel jointly operated by all Anstalten with a regional block as well as a common programming. But unlike for instance in the USA with its Network affiliate system no single corporation would produce all common programming. Instead the different member stations would each contribute a number of programs to the common block to be shown by all other stations. As a result of this each of the member stations already had the capacity and experience to produce TV-programs, even feature films on their own although no Anstalt had the means and capacity to produce a complete series. Jointly producing one crime series with episodes contributed by each member station was thus a logical step.

Apart from the unique joint-pooling system, the series is also characterised by the relative length of an episode (90 minutes) which allows for more in-dept and psychological fleshing out of the characters. Although almost all episodes feature the investigation of an homicide, it is never just a simple case of whodunit. Often the time available allows for the crime to be shown in all its aspects with equal attention focused on the perpetrators and the victims as on the inspectors. On several occasions the actual police work is just a side note in the story as the main plot is the way one of the persons involved deals with the crime and its aftermath.

With the national broadcasting corporations of Austria and Switzerland joining in, the episodes of Tatort are set in various cities of Germany, Vienna and Lucerne. Originally each of the participating member stations limited their episodes to one team of investigators in one city, for ease of production this was mostly the city the broadcast station was in, but over the years some stations broadcasting over a large area have Tatorts playing in several cities. Notably the WDR has three teams of investigators playing respectively in Cologne, Münster and Dortmund. Episodes are either produced by the station's own production facilities or are filmed and often also written by outside production houses on behalf of the station. This sometimes leads to situations where for instance a Tatort playing in Thuringia is actually produced in Bavaria with only a handful of scenes shot 'on location' in the town the story is supposed to play in.

A similar concept of independently filming and then pooling episodes was used from 1988 to 1992 in the series Eurocops jointly produced by several national European TV stations.

History

Gunther Witte, dramaturge and TV boss at WDR (West German Broadcasting Cologne), developed the series against initial resistance. Witte and his successors have ensured that one or two detectives are at the center of every story, and the cases are shown from their perspective; they are usually members of a team, and their lives are also included.

The first Tatort radio drama was broadcast in January 2008.

In 2012, more than 100,000 people participated in the first and only online game linked to the SWR Tatort production, "Der Wald steht schwarz und schweiget".

In January 2014, Tatort received the 50th Grimme Award from the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband.

Features

The show is still aired on Sundays at 8:15 p.m. in Germany and Austria and 8:05 p.m. in Switzerland. About 30 episodes are made each year. By March 2016, 978 episodes had been produced, plus 13 made in Austria and shown only there. Episode nr. 1000 was broadcast on Sunday 13 November 2016.

The episodes of some series of Tatort, such as the discontinued series about Schimanski, played by Götz George, have become cultural icons.

The opening sequence of each episode has essentially remained the same throughout the decades except for slight changes. Klaus Doldinger composed the title music with Udo Lindenberg on drums.

In East Germany

At the same time the ARD was starting its Tatort format, the DDR had its own police procedural/crime show called Polizeiruf 110 ("Police dial 1-1-0"). The series premiered in 1971, less than a year after the first Tatort. It too was a police procedural, with various teams of investigators in various cities of the DDR, but in contrast to the West, only a small part of their cases involved actual homicides. The psychology of the perpetrators and the victims was also more prevalent. The series continued through all of the 1970s and 80s and even survived the Wende, continuing until 1991.

In 1990 Polizeiruf practiced its own brand of German unification with episode 142, "Unter Brüdern" ("Amongst Brothers"), a crossover with the Tatort investigators Schimanski and Thanner (this was co-produced with ARD and a medley of the two series themes were used in the opening intro). Until 1991, the series continued more or less independently for 11 more episodes until episode 153 (22 December 1991), again a crossover, in which Kommissar Thanner becomes the team's superior. Also in 1991, as part of the unification, the DDR's television company DFF was split into the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) and Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg (ORB) while the television stations in the new state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern would be operated as part of the NDR.

As MDR, ORB and NDR were all partners in the ARD, it was expected that they would start producing Tatort episodes as well. However, seeing the popularity of Polizeiruf 110, it was decided that the stations would contribute to the Tatort pool, but that its episodes would keep the name of Polizeiruf 110 and their own title music and intro. Still, they would be broadcast over all ARD stations on Sunday evening just like (or instead of) the 'western' Tatort.

Reorganising took one and a half years, but on 13 June 1993, the now MDR restarted the series in Tatort format. This first episode played in Leipzig, just as in 1991. However, today's episodes produced by the MDR play in Magdeburg, while those produced by NDR play in Rostock. The ORB (and later ORB's successor, RBB) has its episodes headed by the same team of investigators, but take place in various cities of Brandenburg. In addition, Bavarian Broadcasting station BR produces its own Polizeiruf episodes playing in Munich next to its Tatort episodes playing in the same city. Like the original, the Bavarian Polizeiruf episodes focus more on the psychology of the crimes and more on crimes other than homicides. Over the years several other 'western' local broadcasts tried their hands at producing Polizeiruf episodes as a line of 'alternative Tatort' next to the regular ones. However, all of them stopped after a few episodes.

On 15 May 2015, RBB aired the 350th episode of Polizeiruf 110 , the 197th episode of the new format.

In 2013, seeing that Thuringia was so far the only federal state in Germany that had neither a Tatort nor a Polizeiruf playing in one of its cities, the MDR ordered two new series under the Tatort header, playing in Erfurt and in Weimar respectively. Both are produced for the MDR by Bavarian companies.

As 1-1-0 is the speed dial code for police/emergency dispatch in Germany, but not in Austria, Polizeiruf 110 is broadcast in Austria as Polizeiruf 113.

List of Tatort investigators (Kommissare)

Last update: March 26, 2017

Soundtracks (selection)

Some Tatort episodes from the 1980s and 1990s included songs that subsequently became quite well known, and two of them reached the top of the charts: "Faust auf Faust (Schimanski)" by Klaus Lage from the Tatort movie Zahn um Zahn, and "Midnight Lady" by Chris Norman, written by Dieter Bohlen, which appears on the episode "Der Tausch". Some random selected soundtracks:

References

Tatort Wikipedia


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