Dhe “award for the safest region in Lower Saxony” has probably ended. The certificate is still hanging in the cozy police station in Werlesiel, a fictional place on the North Sea (the filming locations were Norderney and Norddeich), where the greatest danger so far has been silt holes. But the triple grave in the dune sands discovered right at the beginning of the coastal crime series (the hills were hard to miss, admittedly) kills the sea-buckthorn tea tranquillity, especially since the serial killer, serial killer-style, targets young women he has tied up in the Watt discards and drowns, has not yet completed his sick work.
And that’s just the beginning, because already in the second “Dune Death” episode – more hasn’t been produced yet – the region proves to be the hub of the very large and quite violent drug mafia thanks to the Wilhelmshaven container terminal. An excavated chrystal meth kitchen hardly matters.
“True Detective” in front of seal banks? “The Wire” in an East Frisian holiday setting? And filmed at breakneck speed and with enormous show value? It is not surprising that this latest blue light attack on German free TV comes from the side, namely from the private broadcaster RTL, where thrillers are classified as “crime” (i.e. like to reach out in the direction of thrillers) and in-house productions are rarer, but more expensive than in public broadcasting .
It takes a ripped off performer
First and foremost, “Dune Death” is a stage for one of the station’s most popular actors, Hendrik Duryn, who had to be offered something after he left the hit series “The Teacher”. For fourteen years, Duryn gave the firehearted drummer Stefan Vollmer, who became the hero of a problem school with unconventional methods, an upgrade from Doctor Specht, so to speak. Halfway through the ninth season, his character was replaced, after which season the series hastily ended. “Until I didn’t really accept that at some point others had the scepter in their hands, who had a different version of how the show was run,” Duryn said recently in an interview with the German Press Agency that he didn’t want to talk about the inglorious end, not even in his soon to be published book “You are the teacher, aren’t you?”
In any case, as detective Tjark Wolf, he can now delight the RTL audience again with unconventional methods. He has become even cooler, a nonchalant roughneck cop with charisma, sunglasses and great intuition who doesn’t like to stick to the rules. He can smile very sympathetically, labor deeply melancholically from a mother’s trauma (the sea took her) and convince as a connoisseur. He rolls through the pedestrian zone in the nostalgic Daimler: “You called, I came.” His vinyl record collection is more important to him than all the women who still adore him: “Who doesn’t have a crush on Tjark?” He is weather-beaten and taciturn unshaven How-the-country-like-that-Jever look at it, far out over the mud flats. A free Friesian. In short: Everything about Tjark Wolf is a cliché, and it probably takes a rip-off actor like Duryn to see that not as an obstacle but as an opportunity. In fact, he doesn’t allow himself to be put on the defensive.
An old-school hero
Tjark’s interaction with his colleague and co-protagonist Femke Folkmer is decisive for the mood of the series. Pia-Micaela Barucki plays the patrol officer from Werlesiel, who soon succeeds as a commissioner at the LKA Wilhelmshaven, with inner enthusiasm and outer composure, which even impresses alpha male Wolf. The sidekicks are the colleague Ceylan (Yasemin Cetinkaya), the jovial superior Hauke Berndsten, who keeps Tjark in check (Florian Panzner, who has a subscription to police roles), and a typically nauseous provincial officer (Rainer Reiners).
Although this ensemble is zero percent different from standard thrillers, “Dünentod” looks a little different, which is not only due to the high narrative pace, but also to the wide optics, Aljoscha Hennig’s camera that is always in motion, and the Auf-den -point staging by director Ismail Sahin. The cool storm-and-rain coast was given some of the sexiness of a beach series – not to its detriment. This physical charm also distinguishes the series from ZDF’s painful East Frisian thrillers.
Traditionally, RTL doesn’t care about logic. The fact that the plausibility of the criminal cases fluctuates between improbable and nonsense doesn’t matter to some extent, because it’s all about tension and atmosphere. The plot is pure indulgence. Some unusual characters are refreshing, like the slightly disabled Maxim (Leonard Kunz), who doesn’t play a victim role here. In general, the second episode entitled “Deadly Trap” (Gregor Erler book) has a much stronger narrative effect than the first with its frizzy psychopath plot (“The Grave on the Beach”; book: Kai Uwe Hasenheit and Jan Conauer). Until then, you should hold out to decide whether you want to give Tjark Wolf a chance. Nobody called, but he came anyway, a hero of the old type. Putting it back in the Krimipampa may already fall under species protection.
The first two episodes of “Dune Death” run this tuesday (“The Tomb on the Beach”) and next Tuesday (“Deadly Trap”), at 8.15 p.m., on RTL.