Episode 1 of Criminal Germany begins with Ms Borchert greeting Jochen Muller, who has been asked to come in and give a witness statement. As he enters the room, Inspector Nadine Keller asks him for his permission to record the interview.
After asking him about his previous address back in 1991, she shows him an old picture and asks if he knows anyone on it. She then mentions a certain Jens Krahl. Muller explains that he was an Easterner and he employed him to do some renovation work on his flat after the reunification of Germany. He also explains that Easterners didn’t have it easy but also mentions that he bought a lot of places in the former East for practically nothing. Inspector Keller then explains that no one has seen Krahl since 91 but Muller tells them that once the wall fell down, everyone was free to do whatever they wanted.
After asking why he is really there, she shows Jochen a picture of a skeleton cemented in the ground. She tells him they found it in Hackerscher Markt where they are currently tearing down a building. She reveals that they are almost certain that it’s the body of Krahl since they found a watch with his name written on it but also that Jochen was one of the last people that saw him alive. She wants to know why Krahl’s apartment was ramsacked. From now on, Keller is treating him as a suspect.
Inspector Schultz arrives and is not happy that Keller has started the interview without him. During the break, he confronts her but she replies that she had to start as Jochen arrived early. She also reveals that she’s there to review how they work which angers Schultz even more as he has been working that case for a long time.
Schultz and Keller are now both leading the interview. They question him about the 90’s and how he was very active in the gay community. While he denies it at first, he changes his story and explains that he was just finding himself. They then mention that in March 91 he stopped getting back to his business partners and went radio silent. When the police asked around, they found that Jochen was addicted to cocaine.
He doesn’t deny it and explains that he used to spend his money on anything he could until in March 91 where he met his future wife of 27 years. They then show him a picture of Krahl’s mother and ask him why he has been paying for her gravestone and flowers every year. They go on to mention they also found DNA traces on the body that didn’t belong to Krahl, and want Jochen to give them a DNA test.
During the break, Jochen tries to call his lawyer. Schultz comes to see him; they discuss the reunification and how it affected Krahl. He got into a lot of debt and lost his job. Schultz tells him that he knows that Jochen is not from the West but doesn’t believe he killed Krahl. Jochen then shockingly reveals the Krahl is not dead and that he is in fact Jens Krahl. He pulls a picture out of his pocket and reveals it to be the real Jochen Muller, a dentist from Cologne. He explains that he was in a lot of debt and was hired by Mullen to renovate his flat. However, one day he found a dead Mullen in the bath surrounded by drugs.
He first decided to grab some of the stuff for himself and then call the police the next day as he knew he had no family to wonder where he is. Suddenly Wiebke, his future wife, knocked on the door. This is where he started to panic, worried that she might call the police. As she entered, she thought he was Mullen and he didn’t deny it. After a holiday in Spain with Wiebke, he didn’t want to go back to being Krahl, so he carried on with the lie all these years.
The episode ends with another Inspector arriving and asking Schultz if Keller has anything on them.
Criminal Germany starts quite strongly with another episode featuring a big reveal towards the end. The story was cleverly delivered and I didn’t see the twist coming at all. The dynamic between all the inspectors is little similar to the ones from Criminal France, with Keller there to review them and putting quite a bit of pressure on proceedings.
The episode also touches on a very sensitive subject in German history: The Berlin wall and what happened after the fall of it. Knowing that a lot of Easterners carried on suffering after the fall is quite upsetting too. After all these years, Germans are still able to distinguish someone that comes from the West over someone from the East. All these facts made this first episode feel more authentic and gave more emotional depth, just like the first episode of Criminal France did with the Bataclan shooting.
It will be quite interesting to see if Criminal Germany will carry on with the same tone as the others in this series but in the meantime, it looks to be just as entertaining as the other additions of Criminal.