Review of the pilot episode of the six-part thriller drama on ARD

Why is?

Julian (Taddeo Kufus), the son of the respected judge Michael Jacobi (Sebastian Koch) from Innsbruck, has thoroughly messed it up. First he fails the driving test, then he gets into his father’s car and causes an accident in which a motorcyclist is seriously injured. But it gets worse. Julian commits a hit and run. When it is discovered what he has done, Michael convinces him to turn himself in to the police, but just as the veteran judge enters the station, he learns who his son almost killed. It is Zlatan Sailovic, the son of a notorious Serbian clan chief whom Jacobi sentenced to a long prison term a few years earlier. Fearing revenge and to protect his only child, the judge becomes entangled in a web of lies and intrigues that he also draws his friends into. But the Sailovic clan is already on his heels and Zlatan’s sister Arija (Paula Beer) has only one thing in mind: to let the perpetrator suffer until he begs for death.

Another adaptation from Israel

Who would have thought that there was such fantastic series material to be discovered in little Israel? On Apple TV+ it’s the thriller Suspicion (here is our review of the series), on ARD your honor. This time the crime drama “rate“, which has so far had two seasons. Director David Nawrath (“Atlas“), who is also responsible for the screenplay, took over the premise, the theme and roughly the story arc. Nevertheless, he interprets the story in his own way and incorporates some new elements and his personal style. In terms of imagery, the director and his cameraman Tobias von dem Borne clearly orientate themselves towards high-quality international productions, without desperately denying that this is a German/Austrian project.

Tension, tension, tension

The story begins with a look at the scene of the accident, where the seriously injured Zlatan Sailovic lies helpless on the street because Julian ran away in panic without even calling an ambulance. In the next scene, we learn that his father, Michael, is a judge of integrity and respected who has declared war on organized crime. It is obvious that two worlds are colliding here and Jacobi acts exactly as one would expect of him. First he whistles at his son for his irresponsible behavior, then he persuades him to turn himself in to the police. So far, one suspects more of a family drama, which would certainly have been okay given the type of storytelling and imagery. However, when it comes out who Julian hit, the arc of suspense increases rapidly. David Nawrath doesn’t lose any unnecessary time and saves himself any family banter or other lengthy dialogues that would ultimately have led to nothing.

Instead, Jacobi acts, doing everything he can to protect his son. He lies to the policewoman Gabriele Kirchner, who he knows well, and draws his longtime friend Franz Brunner (Sascha Gersak) into the story. Brunner was once a petty criminal himself, but now works at customs and helps Michael make the wrecked car disappear. But every lie is a fragile structure and where there is one, more are soon added than one can cope with in the long run. The car is found just one day later and so the judge has no choice but to keep getting bogged down.

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