Cologne “crime scene: protective measures”: The delicatessen of horror

Updated on 01/01/2023 17:17

  • Complicated family relationships in Cologne’s “crime scene”: Inspector Freddy Schenk has to clear up a fire in his daughter’s restaurant.
  • But the main role is played by a multicultural district.
Iris Alanyali.
This criticism represents the point of view of Iris Alanyali. Find out how our editors deal with opinions in texts.

Well, that fits: Shortly after Christmas, a “crime scene” about nothing but rather tense family relationships. It starts with an arson attack and a charred corpse in the “Wunderlampe” restaurant. This belongs to Inspector Freddy Schenk’s daughter Sonja (Natalie Spinell). Because Sonja Schenk lives directly above the restaurant with her fiancé Karim (Timur Isik) and daughter Frida (Maira Helene Kellers), the concerned father organizes accommodation for them in a police shelter. He is familiar with that kind of thing, so he can do something and help.

More news about the “crime scene”

Inspector Freddy Schenk as a family man

Freddy Schenk is often described as a family man, to distinguish him from his Lone Wolf colleague Max Ballauf (Klaus J. Behrendt). However, we have never seen Freddy Schenk’s wife. The daughters Melanie and Sonja played a role in several “crime scenes”, but in general Schenk’s family members are not particularly present.

Sonja was last seen in 1999 in the episode “Children of Violence” (also played by Natalie Spinell back then), and Freddy Schenk doesn’t seem to have met her much more often either – he is rather skeptical about Karim, and in the restaurant, which the two have been running for two years (Karim is a talented chef), he has never been.

Freddy Schenk is also married primarily to his work. But now that family ties mean police protection, he moves body and soul in familiar territory as a commissioner.

However, the professional has to learn painfully that this does not mean that his daughter and granddaughter will pour out their hearts to him in a trusting manner. Family also means that you keep secrets from each other – especially when dad is a police officer, and even more so when he zeroes in on Karim, who is of Persian origin, as the main suspect.

“Racial profiling, dad,” says Sonja, as disappointed as she is laconic. And colleague Max Ballauf can prove that friends who are willing to protect you from yourself can provide just as much support as family relationships.

Also read: Civil rights activist explains: What can victims of racist police violence do?

The Veedel district plays the leading role

The other family that is the focus of “Protection Measures” is the Veedel, the neighborhood where the episode takes place. A fictionalized version of Cologne’s multicultural Weidengasse with its long-established pubs, Turkish snack bars and international restaurants that open regularly plays a strong character and the actual main role in this “crime scene”.

Like the Berlin Kiez, Veedel describes more than just districts, it stands for the community whose members feel like they belong together despite their different backgrounds. Aylin Göktan (Günfer Çölgeçen), for example, runs a Turkish café. Her husband was once beaten up and later killed himself.

But no, it wasn’t xenophobia: “We’re among the long-established here in the district,” she says confidently when the inspectors question her, “we’re not strangers here.” Not far away, the widow Ulla Waldstätt (Almut Zilcher) continues to run her husband’s pub. She still has his baseball bat under the counter. Just in case. You take care of things yourself here.

This is particularly the case for delicatessen retailer Viktor Raschke (Manfred Zapatka). He is the self-proclaimed head of the family in the district and has apparently seen too many mafia films. Raschke sells his protection money extortion as a neighborhood help. If you don’t dance to his whistle, he sends his men.

Nobody likes him – but nobody dares to do anything against him. Long-establishedness also has its disadvantages, habit leads to glorification, and as in families, conspired communities make it difficult for their more critical members to break away.

Crime scene with almost documentary scenes

Directed by Nina Vukovics, “Protection Measures” tells the story from an almost documentary perspective. We dive into the microcosm as screenwriter Paul Salisbury tells his story, getting up close and personal with the members of these fragile families.

Be it Freddy Schenk and his wards or the residents of the neighborhood: the dead man in the “miracle lamp” brings secrets to light and forces everyone to reconsider their loyalties. This closeness and intensity is the real strength of “Protective Measures”, which also lets you overlook the rather contrived murder case and its transparent resolution.