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Germany’s long-running (45 years and counting) crime drama series, Tatort, is returning to the US, this time with a pair of detectives who operate in the city of Cologne.

Tatort: Cologne / Tatort: Köln
Tatort: Cologne, courtesy of MHz Networks

Ah, Cologne. Birthplace of the lightly-scented perfume, home of the Cologne Cathedral, and a sizzling hotbed of crime. Tasked with catching Cologne’s killers are homicide detectives Max Ballauf (Klaus J. Behrendt) and Freddy Schenk (Dietmar Bär).

Max, abandoned years ago by his wife (who took their two young children with her), used to be a daredevil of a cop. He is older and more pensive now, but still quick-tempered and quite the ladies’ man, and has been receiving specialized training in drug investigations in Florida after working in Dusseldorf (in previous Tatort films).

Freddy, on the other hand, styles himself as a cowboy, with a penchant for cowboy boots and fancy American cars. Level-headed and good-natured, he’s married with two daughters (and gets grief from spending so much time at work), and he’s been the acting head of the homicide department in Dusseldorf.

Until Max returns to Germany. To Dusseldorf. In the first Tatort: Cologne (a.k.a. “Ballauf and Schenk”) film, Welcome to Cologne.

The drug bust in Miami that Max headed up doesn’t go exactly as planned, a colleague is killed, and he must leave town. Quickly. So Max’s old friend, Superintendent Körber of the LKA (Landeskriminalamt, State Criminal Police Office) in Dusseldorf, assigns him to the vacant Chief Inspector post in Cologne.

Except Freddy thought he’d get the promotion, and is gobsmacked and mad, mad, mad that this “supercop” from the States now has his job.

But Freddy has to put professional jealousies aside when the body of a former colleague is found in the Rhine, likely the victim of a revenge killing by the local drug mafia.

There are 61 Tatort: Cologne / “Ballauf and Schenk” films to date, and the first five, including Blown-Up Spirits, Manila, Iconoclasm, and Secret Mission, are scheduled to air on MHz Worldview (simulcast at MHz Online and the MHz Live channel on Roku) through February.

Welcome to Cologne. debuts this Saturday, 31 January, at 9 PM ET, in German with English subtitles.

For more in the Tatort series, see “Cenk Batu, Undercover Agent.”


MHz Choice on Amazon

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Tatort: Cologne: German Crime Drama Films Arrive in the US