The final minutes are emblematic of the first “Tatort” in Zurich: In “Züri brännt” the perpetrator is none other than the person who has stepped down from the police. And of course in the final scene he chases the last bullet of the evening into his own head. When they literally shoot the powder in the premiere and, of course, sacrifice the best actor, Roland Koch (61), the exhausted viewer rightly asks the anxious question of what will come in the next episodes and years.
That this ending could be an allusion to the very first Swiss “crime scene” from 1990, when Mathias Gnädinger (1941–2015) committed suicide as a detective and perpetrator, remains an assumption. And most of what the scriptwriters Stefan Brunner (44) and Lorenz Langenegger (40) serve us is similarly confused and over-motivated: Instead of the new investigators – Anna Pieri Zuercher (41) as Isabelle Grandjean and Carol Schuler (33) as Tessa Ott – Seriously introducing them and enabling identification, they quickly become involved in a predictable and clichéd divendual duel. “We want to conquer the heart of the German audience,” said SRF fiction manager Urs Fitze (63) in advance. But how can you like someone, or at least understand them, if you don’t know them at all?
No introduction, flood of dialogues and hardly any change in sight
Without an actual introduction, the duo is confronted with a “cold case” from Zurich in the 1980s, while at the same time pursuing the ambitious approach of explaining the youth unrest of the time from the ground up. And later the case turns out to be a delicate police insider story. A bit much for a very first episode with new staff and new scenery.
A pilot film is subject to narrative principles that director Viviane Andereggen (35) does not really want to follow. That is your decision, but will require further explanation for the future. In addition, there is the flood of dialogue, which appears to have distrusted her visual language. Incidentally, there are no short-term changes in sight: The second episode (“Schoggilänke”) – also under her direction – has already been shot and will follow in spring 2021.