Schimanski, Thanner, plus sidekick up against terrorism
Duisburg seems to be under attack by a group of arab terrorists. Schimanski (George) and his partner Thanner (Feik) investigate and the trail leads them to the shady informant Leszek (Vadim Glowna), whom they suspect of selling arms to palestinians. The duo is aided by equally shady ex-pimp Freddie (Rolf Zacher), who has a crutch against Leszek, accusing him of having stolen his girlfriend Ela (Marita Marschall). The closer Schimanski and Thanner get to the secret, the closer to get to becoming targets to the terrorists.
A routine Schimanski-Tatort, that has two things speaking for it: For one, it is considered one of the more (if not the most) violent episodes of the series, for another, it features Rolf Zacher in a bigger role. The eccentric actor with the distinct nasal voice is always a joy to behold as a comedic-sidekick. Zacher is to the duo Schimanski / Thanner pretty much what Joe Pesci would become for Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in "Lethal Weapons" (albeit with longer hair and his enormous proboscis that seems to fill each scene). It's a shame that his "Freddie"-character was only once utilized (although Zacher had played in a Schimanski episode before, his role being pretty wasted on a policeman).
At the same time, "Blutspur" (eng: "Trail of Blood") was among the most criticized of all the Schimanski-Tatorts. For one, there was an excessive amount of violence (or so the censorship-board felt), for the other, there came the accusation that the terrorists were too stereotypic and that the story would discriminate against the guest-workers from arab countries. Indeed, seeing the palestinians storm forth in ram-shackled cars and spray-painting the neighborhoods with machine gun-bullets does at times remind us of the first "Back to the Future" film. As to "stereotyping": Of course we know it slightly better in this time and age, seeing the situation in the middle-east, Syria or Iraq is simply "misunderstood". Be that as it may, "Blutspur" remains among the more obscure Schimanski-Tatorts, not having been rebroadcast until 1999 and since rarely seen on television. Still, a 6/10 (plus perhaps a bonus-point for Rolf Zacher).
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