“Balko Tenerife”: “Too old to still give the action-Kasper credibly”

Updated on 03/24/2022 at 10:35 p.m

“TV total”, “Wetten, dass..?”, “Go all out!”, “7 days, 7 heads” – a retro wave is currently sloshing through the German TV program. With the opening episode “Double Holds Better”, RTL is now reviving the 1990 series hit “Balko” on Thursday evening. With a lot of the tried and tested, courage to try something new and a lot of self-mockery.

Christian Vock.

There he is now. In handcuffs. In a police station on Tenerife and helps Commissioner Alicia Ruíz pronounce his place of birth: “Oer-Erkenschwick. First Oer, then Erkenschwick,” Balko explains calmly, but the Commissioner just yells at him; “It doesn’t matter now!” So Balko keeps his mouth shut and only looks piqued at his companion Klaus Krapp, who is also sitting next to him in handcuffs and in the pink “Geile Sau” shirt.

“How is it that a high-ranking German official from the Federal Ministry of Defense who is suspected of murder and a defunct ex-cop meet again after 15 years and turn half of Tenerife into rubble?” Asks Inspector Ruíz to shorten the questioning and this is where Guido Reinhardt comes into play. Because there are two answers to the question and the first answer begins with Guido Reinhardt.

How Balko came to Tenerife

Reinhardt is a producer at UFA Fiction and explains on the RTL website exactly how it came about: “Within UFA we set up a working group entitled ‘Old hats newly embroidered’ and we looked at old brands. That’s where you come in ‘Balko’ of course not over,” explains Reinhardt, why RTL dug up the series hit again after 15 years.

Why this reunion had to take place on Tenerife of all places – there is an almost even simpler reason than the current retro trend. Because Reinhardt is not only a friend of “Balko”, but also of hiking on Tenerife: “At some point the two topics merged in my head and the result feels perfect.” So much for the background of why Balko and his partner Krapp made it back into the RTL program after 15 years.

The question about the suspicion of murder and the matter with rubble and ashes is a bit more difficult to answer, as a few threads are running all over the place here. Let’s start with Balko (Jochen Horst). In 2006 he was fed up with the German weather and the regulations in his job and emigrated to Tenerife. But things didn’t go particularly well privately on the Canary Island either, since a death alcohol and listlessness have been Balko’s companions.

“Balko Tenerife”: “Almost too obvious”

That changes when a familiar face suddenly bursts into Balko’s misery. His old partner Klaus Krapp (Ludger Pistor) is now undersecretary in the Ministry of Defense and invited to a party held by a German arms company on Tenerife to honor its social commitment. The next morning, Krapp wakes up with no memory of the previous evening, but with a dead woman in bed. The first part of Inspector Ruíz’ question would be answered with that, the thing with the “in ruins and ash” is explained afterwards when Balko and Krapp first want to find Krapp’s memories and then the murderer.

Yes, that all sounds a bit absurd, but it’s still pretty simple. At least it’s so simple that the commissioner notices it relatively quickly: “A dead journalist whose caravan was burned down, a fake ID for the container port and a dodgy German arms manufacturer. That’s almost too obvious,” Ruíz explains to her colleague . Of course there are still one or two catches, but it is not surprising that the case is not overly complex. These have never been the cases with “Balko”. There has always been slapstick before complexity and that also applies to “Balko Teneriffa”.

So everything like back then? No, because of course such a reboot can and must play according to the same rules, but gladly on a new playing field. And so you see in “Balko Teneriffa” two aged investigators who also live their age, but with the young Commissioner Ruíz (Tamara Romera Ginés) have a woman at their side who makes them appear even older and less modern. Of course it would have been easier to continue like all the years before and that would certainly have made some viewers happy – but it would also have been a whole lot more boring and less funny.

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The “new old balcony”: aged, but not embarrassing

No, in “Balko Teneriffa” the two main actors have actually aged, everything else would not have been believed from them and neither would they have believed it. Because when Balko and Krapp drive past a place where an action movie with Harrison Ford was filmed, Krapp asks “How old is he now?” “Too old to still believably give the action-Kasper”, answers Balko and Krapp agrees: “Well, at some point it gets really embarrassing.”

Yes, “Balko Tenerife” is still “Balko”, but not embarrassing. Instead, the two hunt around the island looking for the murderer with a lot of self-irony: “Great, you’ve got the bigger part again,” Krapp whines when his colleague hands out the pistols. “Yes, the bigger gun too,” answers Balko, and that’s where the fun would have ended 15 years ago. But in 2022 Krapp followed up again: “Oarr, he was so 1990s.”

And so in the end “Balko Tenerife” is the well-known crime thriller-comedy mixture with a touch of the present, or as Balko puts it himself when his daughter asks him what he’s doing here: “Show my daughter the new old Balko.”

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