I’m a couple of weeks into my research leave, and am thoroughly enjoying sinking my teeth into German crime. 5000 words are in the bag, mostly on the Fernsehkrimi (TV crime series) for the Crime Fiction in German volume, which has involved watching episodes from series such as Der Kommissar (The Inspector; a very traditional West German police series), Polizeiruf 110 (Police – Dial 110; a relatively progressive East German series that featured the first female German investigator, Lieutenant Vera Arndt, a working mother, in 1971), and of course, the iconic Tatort (Crime Scene).
Tatort has been running for over 40 years and is a national institution. It’s a really interesting series, due to its distinctive regional focus (there are over 20 versions set in various cities and regions – the model for CSI, perhaps), and its strong engagement with social issues, such as right-wing extremism, the effects of reunification, and sex trafficking from the east.
In 2008, it was the first German crime series to feature a leading Turkish-German investigator, the Hamburg undercover cop Cenk Batu (played by Mehmet Kurtuluş). His depiction was hailed as ‘ein Quantensprung’ (a quantum leap) in terms of overturning ethnic stereotypes, and I’d argue is indebted in a many ways to a literary predecessor, Jakob Arjouni’s urban private eye Kemal Kayankaya. The first Batu episode, ‘Auf der Sonnenseite’ (‘On the Sunny Side’) is currently on YouTube. It’s in German, but for those who don’t speak the language, even five-minutes will give a sense of Batu’s ground-breaking characterisation and the episode’s high-quality production – aside from the endearingly naff original opening sequence, that is. Around 4 minutes and 40 seconds in, which shows Batu coming off-duty after a stressful job, is a good place to start.
And the milestone? Well! Mrs. Peabody Investigates has just reached 250,000 hits. While the most important thing has always been the interaction between Mrs. Pea and the blog’s readers, there’s a certain roundness to that figure that’s rather pleasing. Thanks so much for visiting!