- X 2019
Derrick - Johanna
West Germany 1974
Hans Peter Renfranz, Gustl Gotzler (executive) for Telenova/ZDF
directed by Leopold Lindtberg
starring Horst Tappert, Fritz Wepper, Lilli Palmer, Helmuth Lohner, Helga Anders, Josef Dahmen, Isolde Zimmermann, Helmut Alimonta, Günter W. Schünemann, Gerhard Klarner (voice)
written by Herbert Reinecker, music by Hans-Martin Majewski, title theme by Les Humphries
Derrick, Harry Klein
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Like ever so often, Alfred Balke (Helmuth Lohner) pays a visit to his
young girlfriend Roswitha (Helga Anders), with her parents (Josef Dahmen,
Isolde Zimmermann) watching TV in the next room and being well aware of
their daughter's visitor, and also his identity. This time though, Balke
climbs out of her bedroom window, gets into his car, drives to his wife
Martha's (Lilli Palmer) bungalow, strangles her, then returns to
Roswitha's bedroom through the window, and leaves through the front door,
making sure her parents see him leaving - perfect alibi one would think.
And of course, inspector Derrick (Horst Tappert) and his assistant Harry
Klein (Fritz Wepper) are a bit stunned - they know (though not sure why)
that Balke did it, but not how with an alibi as waterproof alibi as his
(and fail to see it's actually pretty easy to escape through the window),
and they can't get him to confess. But then Martha's sister Johanna (also
Lilli Palmer), whom Balke has never met, arrives in town, and she's her
sister's splitting image - so Derrick devises the plan to let her stay
with Balke, as sort of confrontational therapy to break him. And where
detective work obviously fails to work, Johanna's simple presence
ultimately does the job.
Now it's safe to say that Derrick
isn't a series one would watch for its accuracy in portraying detective
work, but this episode really goes a bit far in suspension of disbelief as
it is pretty much centered around no more than one plot device, that the
murder victim and her sister look alike, and that that would be enough to
break the killer. And given that the murderer and his method to get
himself an alibi are given away at the beginning of the episode, there
really isn't much tension involved in the thing, also not helped by a very
anti-climactic finale, when Balke really breaks down at really just one
random point and confesses to Johanna, without any build-up. It's still
some nostalgic fun, but one of the weakest episodes of the series.