Ein Fall für zwei - Die grosse Schwester
West Germany 1981
Hans Peter Renfranz, Harald Wigankow (executive) for Galmon Film/ZDF
directed by Wolfgang Storch
starring Günter Strack, Claus Theo Gärtner, Daniela Ziegler, Michael Drescher-Stierhofer, Eva Pflug, Anfried Krämer, Rolf Beuckert, Hans-Jörg Assmann, Klaus Götte, Ludwig Haas, Raidar Müller-Elmau, Dietmar Köppel, Christian Hoening, Hubertus Petroll, Axel Ganz, Edith Beck, Rainer Hildebrandt, Hans Jürgen Krützfeld, Karl Hans Meuser, Axel Junge-Wentrup
written by Karl Heinz Willschrei, created by Karl Heinz Willschrei, Georg Althammer, music by Rolf Kühn, title theme by Klaus Doldinger
Ein Fall für zwei/A Case for Two
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Paul Schneider (Michael Drescher-Stierhofer) is accused of being part
of a gang that vandalized cars late one night, but his lawyer Dr. Renz
(Günter Strack) makes it appear that the arresting officer, patrolman
Matula (Claus Theo Gärtner) arrested him on account of mistaken identity,
and ultimately Paul gets off with parole.
Matula is a rather unorthodox
patrolman, often bending rules a bit if it fits him personally - not that
he's in the least corrupt, more in terms of human touch - which is very
much to the dismay of his superior Wunderlich (Ludwig Haas), who's only
waiting for an opportunity to "get him".
During one of his
assignments, Matula meets lovely Laura (Daniela Ziegler), who he's charmed
by almost immediately, and later in an unrelated incident he helps her
spring her car from the car pound, using his position as a policeman. He
soon manages to ask her out, and eventually they land in bed together -
and then he learns that she's the older sister of Paul Schneider, who has
brought him up since the death of their parents. Given their rocky start,
Matula and Paul soon strike a friendship. During a trip Matula takes with
Laura and Paul, he lets it slip that there's a practically unguarded
industrial compound where there's equipment worth millions for the taking.
Of course, Paul, who isn't nearly as innocent as his sister would like him
to be and that he was made out to be in the trial at the beginning of the
episode, and his gang soon break into the industrial compound, and soon
enough the police is called - including Matula, who soon enough comes face
to face with Paul, but instead of making an arrest he helps him hide away
from his colleagues. Paul's accomplices are arrested though, and without
Matula's knowledge, one of tehm spills Paul's name - and eventually Paul
is arrested at Laura's apartment, unfortunately in Matula's presence, who
is now accused to be one of Paul's accomplices. Remembering Dr. Renz from
the trial, he tries to hire him but Renz has to turn him down because of a
conflict of interest - but he has taken an interest in the patrolman and
gives him advice as to how to handle the trial. At the trial, Matula
defends himself and confesses to pretty much everything, but explaining
his actions works in his favour, as does Paul's statement who tries to
pull Matula deeper into the story to make himself look innocent, a charade
the court doesn't believe. Matula's let off by the court, but it's less
than likely he'll survive the police's own disciplinary proceedings
conducted by his nemesis Wunderlich - and enter Dr. Renz again who
suggests for Matula to become a private detective, and pretty much the
brawns to his brains as a lawyer ...
In a way, Die Grosse
Schwester is the perfect set-up for a long-running series (still
produced to this day, though Günter Strack quit in 1988 after 60
episodes, Claus Theo Gärtner in 2013 after 300 episodes), as it really
digs deep into the backstory of one of the series protagonists, Matula,
and gives his character a chance to grow, and also become his own before
the series' formula is established in the next few episodes (and repeated
This might also put too much praise on this episode though,
as its screenplay is hardly above average, and many plot elements seem to
be forced into the story to make the set-up work rather than worked
towards. At the same time, the direction makes little efforts to hide the
episode's TV-series roots and seems at best workmanlike.
That all said,
this pilot might actually score high on the nostalgia scale, but that
doesn't make it "good" in the traditional sense of the word,
merely fun to watch.