FThe rough ones in the German Sunday evening thriller are strangely disembodied beings – in this respect, German television differs greatly from, for example, British murder and manslaughter story television. Or rather, to use footballer jargon, they are primarily encouraged to play disembodied.
They master the finest feints of empathic interrogation technique, but you can see immediately that the pistol is not necessarily their best friend. At best, they enter gymnasiums for the purpose of questioning witnesses. At this point we prefer to keep quiet about any amorous entanglements with full physical exertion anyway, we have to, they simply don’t exist.
The unphysical nature of the classic “Tatort” commissioner has of course something to do with the meanwhile advanced age of the investigators. For example, Bibi Fellner (Adele Neuhauser, 64) – who gets terribly out of breath from running a few meters behind a suspect across Vienna’s nightly Naschmarkt – would be an age that makes it rather hard to believe – a Georgian mafioso by means of a Disable Krav Maga throwing technique. One could philosophize longer about the influence that has on the stories, on the selection of milieus to which the screenwriters expose Sunday night detectives.
But there is no time for that. We’re here because of Azra. Azra punches her footsteps into the asphalt. She’s short, has more taut muscle mass in her little toe than Charlotte Lindholm probably has in her upper arm. She probably has tattoos in the most unlikely places. But we don’t get to see them. Sexually speaking, “Azra”, the new “Tatort” in Vienna, is a disembodied affair. But there is no time for sex in this story either.
Azra is not a commissioner, not even a police officer in the true sense. Moritz Eisner from the Vienna “Tatort” police station, who had a crush on the street dog and junkie daughter from his father, smuggled her into the Georgian mafia of Vienna, the Datvianis clan, two years ago. There is a turning point right now.
There is a threat of war between the old-school mafiosi and the modernists, who want to spread their business idea more broadly, get into the higher circles, where the power is. “If you cheat someone for 200 euros,” says Moritz’s boss very wisely, “that’s a crime, at 200 million it’s politics.”
Then someone shoots at Luka Datviani, the head of the old school faction. In the shoulder, from behind. “From behind? Really now, brother?” he calls out. A few more bullets will do the rest.
No Don Winslow for Viennese stories
This could now start a perfectly normal mafia thriller. One with a war in the milieu and fountains of blood, such a stupid Don Winslow for Viennese story. But it’s not possible. Because there is the Azra.
It strays around in this roaring plot at medium speed. As soon as she is there, she has boarded him. She wants to know something, believes that it was Beka Datviani who got rid of his brother, who was slowing down modernity.
She wants to get evidence. She absolutely wants that. And to this end she attacks everyone with all the edges of her hands at her disposal. And she has many: her kodder snout, her eyebrow, her darting eyes, the actual edges of her hands and feet, every square inch of her well-muscled body. Nobody takes anything away from you. You can’t. “Puppi” she calls Moritz. Nobody has ever dared to do that.
Mariam Hage is Azra. Hage, daughter of a Lebanese father and a Serbian mother, who studied history and philosophy, was once part of “Trakehnerblut”, a – not difficult to guess – horse series about a stud farm, where – apart from the loss of blood – things are not very different than in the Georgian mafia.
In the Servus TV series for late horse girls, Hage was still able to delegate the physical to the big animals. Of course, that wasn’t possible in “Azra”. Azra wants to get to the big shots. Azra needs a direct, violent presence. And a broken physicality. A radiant, steely hardness behind, under which, however, the abysses that are actually at stake remain perceptible. Mariam Hage provides all of this. She smacks the Azra in the face. You won’t forget that in a hurry.
Who is pulling whom through this strange, beautifully tempered, never sagging mixture of mafia and revenge story directed by Dominik Hartl and written by Sarah Wassermair, makes it clear right from the start. That’s when Moritz thinks he has to pursue his criminalistic foster daughter. On foot. Bibi and Moritz sprinted off, as far as their age would allow. And suddenly Azra is behind them. She’s always one step ahead of them. She stays. Even long after it’s hit, the nose.
The end of a wonderful friendship
One had actually already become friends with the idea that someone had finally turned up at the Wien who could take over the business from Bibi and Moritz. Like a broken angel. Not immediately of course. Nobody wants that.
The two old people have wonderful scenes again, just when they reassure themselves of their strange friendship, of which we still wanted to know if there would finally be more out of it. Once, for example, there they are again on the roof of their commissariat above Vienna. There is sunrise and morning coffee.
And Bibi asks why he didn’t tell her what he and Azra were up to with the Datvianis. “You’re so stupid,” says Moritz. Because she would have talked him out of it, he didn’t do it, he says. And because it was clear that he would be a complete idiot if he agreed to it.
Then he gets a headbutt. “If you’re an idiot,” says Bibi, “then I’m one too. But I have the right to be an idiot with you. I mean, that’s the basis of… of…” And then… But we don’t want to spoil things.
Especially not the end, which is one of the most fabulous “crime scene” finales in a long time. This dilemma of law and justice in which Bibi and Moritz are suddenly stuck. You have to see. Until the end. you have to.