In April 1991, less than 2 years after the fall of the Berlin War, Germany was left in a state of shock. Detlev Rohwedder, the head of the East German Restructuring Agency, was found dead in his home. Assassinated in cold blood, his death left Germany shaken.
Regarded by some as the German equivalent of the JFK assassination, A Perfect Crime is a gripping and absorbing examination of what happened that fateful night as well as detailing a comprehensive break-down of key moments in the past as well as significant steps in the future after the event.
The first episode in particular paints a portrait of a tumultuous country on the verge of change and upheaval. After the Berlin Wall is taken down, many residents found new-found freedom in this unified Germany.
Of course, this societal change brought with it a whole set of problems for the government to face. Regarded by many West Germans as one of the most hated men from the East , Detlev Rohwedder certainly had a target on his back.
Only, this target is ultimately claimed by the RAF (Red Army Faction) which is where the second episode drives toward. The third is slightly shorter – clocking it at around 35 minutes or so – and examines the who’s. In particular episode 3 dives into just who would have benefited from Rohwedder’s Death.
All of this eventually builds into the deeper mystery which is laid out in episode 4. With new witnesses and lots of question marks hanging over this one, the case is certainly a gripping one.
Along the way, A Perfect Crime weaves the usual talking head segments with archival footage from the time. There’s also a series of re-enactments here too but they’re mainly reserved to simple scenes.
There’s no elaborate dramatization but close-ups of a gun firing or a telephone ringing do enough to break up the segments and keep things engaging.
The television news interviews capturing the thoughts and voices from the time are also a nice touch too, really hammering home the changing attitudes and feelings toward the government. This feeds into the pacing which is just about long enough, without outstaying its welcome if this one was given a longer 8 episode run.
Overall though, A Perfect Crime is an interesting, educational look at an important time in German politics. It’s a documentary that dives deep into the mystery and circumstances surrounding this murder.
It also does a pretty good job balancing that with a number of experts and interviewees who weigh up their thoughts about what happened. If you’re a true crime fan, this one is definitely worth a watch.