Crime scene “Lena’s aunt” from Ludwigshafen: The strange old lady

Updated on 01/20/2023 at 2:43 p.m

  • It looks like a long-delayed family visit, but then it turns out that Lena’s aunt has an agenda of her own.
  • Ursula Werner plays the retired prosecutor Niki Odenthal in “Tatort – Lena’s Aunt”, who gets in the way of the investigations of Lena Odenthal and Johanna Stern.
Iris Alanyali.
This criticism represents the point of view of Iris Alanyali. Find out how our editors deal with opinions in texts.

Niki Odenthal (Ursula Werner) is a retired prosecutor about half the size of her niece, but about twice as impatient and persistent. And so will Lena Joy about the long-awaited visit is already dampened at the train station, where the first quarrels erupt, with rough remarks about Lena’s place of residence (“Ludwigshafen is the darkest province!”), Lena’s career (“criminalistics is vacant at the police academy!”) and Lena’s Cooking skills (“The food isn’t very good!”) go on. The suitcase hasn’t even been unpacked yet.

More news about the “crime scene”

While inspector Odenthal has her first doubts about the good time she actually wanted to spend with her admired aunt, her colleague takes care of it star about a macabre death: In the funeral home, the resident of a retirement home was burned alive.

Ironically, it’s Johanna Stern (Lisa Bitter), who is now having a good time: Ironically, the overtired family doctor (Johannes Dullin) of the retirement home, who was on night duty and who issued the death certificate, has done it to her.

The two become closer, and over pizza and wine, the inspector develops a theory. Because it turns out that the 96-year-old Fritz Herrweg was injected with a dangerous amount of insulin before the burn. The death that followed seems more of an accident – ​​is the nursing home trying to medicate its seniors into a more lucrative care level for the home?

shadows of the past

In the course of further investigations, Lena Odenthal’s anger with her aunt takes on a new, worrying quality: she finds out that Niki hasn’t just come to visit. That Niki was in an old people’s home – the day before Fritz Herrweg’s death. In addition, Niki Odenthal goes on secret excursions, lies to her niece and interferes in Lena’s case behind her back. The inspector has a bad suspicion that drives a wedge between her and Johanna Stern. Then there is a second death.

As far as the investigators are concerned, things have been unusually familiar lately at the “crime scene”: The Cologne New Year’s “crime scene” was about Commissioner Freddy Schenk’s daughter, Commissioner Peter Faber’s father appeared in Dortmund, and now “Lena’s aunt”. Is this due to the holidays? Or is it just coincidence?

Because what such family backgrounds would make possible, namely horizontal storytelling and a deeper exploration of the character of the inspectors, can only be realized to a limited extent within the public “crime scene” planning machinery. So these visits to relatives usually have something of a surprise guest in them – once the party is over, you go back to your usual everyday life.

Episodes like “Lena’s aunt” must therefore be measured against the individual criminal case.

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A journey into German history

And there is little to complain about here – unlike in the Dortmund episode “You stay here” with Commissioner Faber’s father. Stefan Dähnert uses the old lady’s visit to travel less to Lena Odenthal and more to German history.

The fact that this combative ex-prosecutor, who is unwilling to retire, happens to be the aunt of the investigating commissioner increases Lena Odenthal’s involvement in the matter and makes for an attractive threesome between the Odenthal women and Johanna Stern. She has to find her way between her admiration for Niki, her loyalty for Lena and her mistrust of both. This creates additional tension, which in turn makes the case more exciting.

What doesn’t work is the desired comedy in the relationship between the two oddballs Lena and Niki Odenthal – their game is too wooden for that, the characters are too bulky. However, the rebelliousness fits well into this “crime scene”, which director Tom Lass staged without pathos. And which ends with a consistent ending that is far removed from a conciliatory family celebration.

Sources used:

  • “Tatort” team around Ulrike Folkerts as guests on the Park Island
Jorg Hartman

In Dortmund’s “Tatort: ​​You stay here” Commissioner Peter Faber (Jörg Hartmann) showed himself personally like never before. Hartmann wrote a screenplay for his Ruhrpott thriller for the first time – and incorporated his own story(s).