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Kottan ermittelt - Wien Mitte

episode 3

Austria 1978
produced by
Wolfgang Ainberger (executive) for Satel/ORF
directed by Peter Patzak
starring Franz Buchrieser, Walter Davy, Curt A. Tichy, Bibiane Zeller, Birgit Machalissa, Harald von Koeppelle, Rudolf Knor, Carlo Böhm, Heribert Sasse, Peter Patzak, Fred G. Fuchs, András Gönczöl, Gabriele Buch, Irene Kargl, Franz Cenek, Hans Kraemmer, Marianne Nentwich, Horst Eder, Julia Sebastyan, Chris Lohner, Linda Koch, Martin Kornfeil
written by Helmut Zenker

TV series
Kottan ermittelt, Kottan (Franz Buchrieser)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Kottan (Franz Buchrieser) and his assistants Schremser (Walter Davy) and Schrammel (Curt A. Tichy), investigate the case of a dead man (Fred G. Fuchs) found at a railway station, obviously shot from one of the nearby houses, with no papers but quite a bit of money on him. He can eventually be identified as Gerald Horvath, an insurance agent, and according to his wife (Gabriele Buch) a pretty successful one - and judging from his home and car, he has been living a life of luxury, too. And yet his colleague Führich (Hans Kraemmer) claims he was rather a failure at the job and on the verge of being fired - but he has just closesd a life insurance worth a small fortune for himself. Then it turns out that the money he had on him was from a bank heist, and going through the surveillance video of the heist, he's identified as one of the three robbers. When confronted with all of this, Mrs. Horvath acts surprise, but can provide Kottan with the identity of one of the other robbers, Semorad (Peter Patzak) - who is found shot dead at the very same spot Horvath was killed at the next morning. An informer (Horst Eder) gets Kottan on the trail of the third accomplice (Heribert Sasse), but going through the bank statements of all three robbers, it shows they were all in massive debt and used the money from the heist to pay off their debts, so despite a successful heist, the money was long gone, and thus the murders must have had to do with something other than money - which leads Kottan back to Mrs. Horvath, and to her lover (András Gönczöl), owner of a gun club who had once lived in the very house the shots at the two dead bank robbers were fired from ...

This episode marks the first appearances of Drballa (Carlo Böhm), a hapless bum who always happens to stumble upon fresh murder victims, and Pilch (Harald von Koeppelle), Kottan's superior who's obsessed with squashing flies. Also, the series-long running gag of other cars tearing off the doors of Kottan's car makes its debut here.

 

With the change of lead actor (with all other regulars remaining on board as well as writer and director), Kottan ermittelt made a major tonal shift away from realism, social commentary and satire, and more towards genre parody and straight comedy, that sometimes even goes meta in some breaking-the-fourth-wall moments. Likewise the lead character has changed more than just face and has turned from grumpy and prejudiced blue-collar cop to a more laid back, patient and cultivated man who's never far from self irony. And the outcome's good fun for sure, a comedy that still works as murder mystery (and the other way round), something that would not always be the case with later episodes of the series that would go more and more surreal. And while this episode might not be a highlight of the series as it feels a little too transitional in the grander scheme of things, it's still a very entertaining watch.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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