Polizeiruf from rbb: no sparks fly

Freedom of the press, climate protection, jealousy. Everything is in the "Polizeiruf" – and therefore too much. And then the denouement is also completely predictable.

Scene from the Polizeiruf, Maciej Stuhr (left) and Antje Traue Photo: Oliver Feist/rbb/ARD-Degeto/dpa

Coincidences are sometimes quite crazy. Just when the trial of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee has begun, and the trial of the bombers who killed journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta is underway, including involvement at the highest levels of government, a police episode of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) is being shown that explicitly refers to these cases.

Because: A journalist drove her car into a tree in the German-Polish border region, the wheel nuts were loose, her neck was broken, she was dead. Their investigative research had led them into a squadron of mischief, blackmail and bribery. Those involved: an energy company that wants to build a nuclear power plant in a nature reserve; the judge of the trial that environmental groups are currently conducting against the company; plus the experts hired by the nuclear power plant builder; the journalist’s father (Max Herbrechter), also a journalist. And the wife of the judge. Because he had an affair with the reporter.

And that means that in "Death of a Journalist" everything is thematically double and triple: jealousy, the threat to the press, climate change, plus a long list of suspects. What an explosive potential when freedom of the press and the energy industry are brought together! But there aren’t even any sparks here. Three scriptwriters worked on the material (Silja Clemens, Stephan Rick, Thorsten Wettcke), always an indication of muddle. One of the worst things is that the resolution is accordingly predictable – and privately motivated, not politically.

Neither director Stephan Rick, who already has several police procedurals under his belt, nor the, as always, superbly unagitated lead actors Maria Simon and Lucas Gregorowicz could do anything about it. They are super even in small parts. "Unimaginable how you can still build a nuclear power plant after Fukushima," says KHK Olga Lenski (Simon) at one point – colleague Adam Raczek (Gregorowicz) next to her at the wheel, just gives her a quick glance: "Would you prefer coal?".

Frankfurt Oder-"Polizeiruf 110": "Death of a Journalist," Sun., Dec. 29, 8:15 p.m., ARD

Because the binational Polizeiruf makes a perfect ramp, here at least are the annual statistics from Reporters Without Borders: 49 media workers have been killed worldwide. 389 are in prison. 57 are currently kidnapped. The episode was worth it just to record this once again in public.