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Derrick - Am Abgrund

episode 80

West Germany 1981
produced by
Claus Legal, Helmut Ringelmann, Gustl Gotzler (executive) for Telenova/ZDF
directed by Helmuth Ashley
starring Horst Tappert, Fritz Wepper, Willy Schäfer, Klaus Behrendt, Ilse Neubauer, Lotte Ledl, Dirk Dautzenberg, Rainer Hunold, Anton Diffring, Thomas Schücke, Margot Mahler, Rebecca Winter, Joachim Wichmann, Konrad Georg, Gerd Deutschmann, Gudo Hoegel, Hans Zander
written by Herbert Reinecker, music by Hans Hammerschmid, title theme by Les Humphries

Derrick, Harry Klein

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Jakob Hesse (Klaus Behrendt), a hopeless and penniless alcoholic, spends his evenings drifting from one pub to the next to try to get somebody to invite him for a drink - this night though without success. But when he tries to sneak into Raspe's (Dirk Dautzenberg) pup the backdoor he witnesses the murder of a prostitute, Ina (Rebecca Winter). He's caught peeking in on the deed but manages to evade the culprits. Later, he stumbles over Ina's body in a driveway and is caught leaning over her, but again makes an escape. However, investigating inspector Derrick (Horst Tappert) and his assistant Harry (Fritz Wepper) manage to track down Hesse in no time, and while they not actually suspect him to be the murderer, they soon figure he knows something that he either won't or can't tell them. They soon also find out that everytime Hesse visits Raspe's pub, he's invited to a bottle of gin or more - which is suspicious to say the least. They also find out about Ina's pimp Arthur Bandera (Thomas Schücke), whose father's (Anton Diffing) is a regular at Raspe's place, and that Raspe's son Willi (Rainer Hunold) had fallen seriously in love with Ina and wanted to make her quit prostitution. So to solve the case, in a very unusual piece of police work, Derrick and Harry drive Hesse to the home of his estranged wife (Ilse Neubauer), where Hesse's overcome by his conscience and he tells them that it was actually Willi who stabbed Ina, with Bandera father and son and Raspe all present, because he was overcome by jealousy after he turned another trick that night. When Derrick and Harry stop by Raspe's bar to apprehend Willi, he has already hanged himself out of guilt.


Many concepts of this entry, from the murder of a prostitute to the alcoholic witness to the prostitute with a heart of gold (in this episode played by Lotte Ledl), were actually lifted from a Der Kommissar-episode Ein Funken in der Kälte from 8 years earlier (of course also written by Herbert Reinecker), with Klaus Behrendt playing an almost identical character in both stories even. And if anything, the almost-remake is even more far-fetched than the original, with Derrick's version of police work leaving a lot to be desired, trying to go after an at best weak witness rather than following up on concrete clues, then banking on a totally  hair-brained method to make his conscience kick in. Sure, it works out because the script was written to that end, it's just not very plausible let alone realistic - both of course not exactly strong points in screenwriter Reinecker's body of work. That said, what we're left with is still somewhat funny (for all the wrong reasons), but also somewhat confusing and confused for sure.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.


There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry


directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke


now streaming at


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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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