Monday, 28 November 2016
Tatort 1000: Taxi nach Leipzig (4 Stars)
This is the 1000th episode of "Tatort", first aired on 13th November 2016. The title is "Taxi nach Leipzig", which means "Taxi to Leipzig". Unlike the usual stories, which are always crime investigations, this is a psychological thriller in which two police inspectors are taken hostage. One is Klaus Borowski, who we last saw in the 999th episode. The other is Charlotte Lindholm, who has appeared in 23 episodes from 7th April 2002 (the 496th episode) to 22nd November 2015 (the 963rd episode).
Since this was a landmark episode a story was written that could bring many of the police inspectors together. There's a police conference taking place in Braunschweig. The topic is risk assessment, methods of police inspectors keeping themselves out of danger. If we look round the room we see many familiar police officers, including two who appeared in the first Tatort episode on 29th November 1970. This is just a little treat for Tatort fans. The only two inspectors that we see for any length of time are Borowski and Lindholm.
At the end of the conference, which most of the police officers found boring and irrelevant to their work, there is a rush to return home. Klaus Borowski has to return to Kiel, Charlotte Lindholm has to return to Hanover. They catch a taxi to the train station together, accompanied by a low ranking police officer from Kiel, Sören Affeld. When Sören, sitting in the front seat, complains about the taxi driver not using his seat belt the driver stops the car and kills him. The driver has a gun, but Barowski and Lindholm don't, so they're at his mercy. The two police inspectors are tied up and told they have to accompany the driver on a trip.
So who is the driver? He is Rainald Klapproth, a former soldier who has served in Afghanistan. Due to a mistake made by his commanding officer he killed an innocent family, but he received the blame. Because of the investigations Rainald's discharge was delayed, so the commanding officer, Erik Tillman, was sent to explain the situation to Rainald's fiancée, Nicki, and offer her comfort. It must have been more than comfort, because when Rainald finally returned home she told him she wanted to marry Erik instead. The wedding is due to take place the next day, so Rainald is driving to see her to make one last attempt to persuade her to change her mind. She lives in Leipzig, 130 miles away.
The story in itself is very simple, but the atmosphere is overwhelming. The taxi journey, including escape attempts, is divided into three acts. In each of the acts one of the characters is heard in voiceover; first Rainald, then Borowski, then Lindholm. We're given the opportunity to get into their heads. Rainald is a very intelligent man, probably intellectually superior to the two officers, and can analyse everything they say by observing their body language. Borowski doesn't like the way Lindholm is handling the conversations and thinks that she's making the situation worse with her insensitive questions. Lindholm is plagued with paranoia, expecting the worst to happen, as she has done since she was a child.
This is a powerful drama, worthy of being aired as the 1000th episode. Roll on the next 1000.