A young man kills a fellow passenger on the train and claims he doesn’t remember anything. In order to clarify the motive, Inspector Brasch relies on psychological methods and thus uncovers a tragic family history.

What’s the matter?

21-year-old Adam Dahl (Eloi Christ) and his friend Tomislav Bogunovic (Kai Müller) are on the train back to Magdeburg. The couple spent a party weekend in Berlin. Now Tomislav should get to know Adam’s parents – the former LKA director Klaus-Volker Dahl and his wife Bianca, a renowned psychologist. During the train journey, Christof Oschmann (Helge Tramsen) joins the two men in the compartment. When Oschmann yelled on the phone and cursed, Adam suddenly lost his nerve: he hit him on the head with an emergency hammer and killed him with extreme brutality. For chief inspector Doreen Brasch (Claudia Michelsen), it looks like a quick solution to the case, after all, the perpetrator and the murder weapon are already known. What is missing is the motive: Adam Dahl claims that he cannot remember and that he has never met Christof Oschmann.

Why is the “Black Box” case worthwhile?

The “Polizeiruf” episode from Magdeburg is not a thriller in the classic sense, because the perpetrator is clear from the first few minutes. Rather, it is about decoding his motive. While Brasch’s superior, Kriminalrat Uwe Lemp (Felix Vörtler), insists on “concentrating on the facts”, the investigator relies on psychological methods such as hypnosis sessions with the perpetrator Adam Dahl. So Brasch dives deep into a dark chapter of family history and at the same time unrolls two old, closed cases that are crucial for solving the case. Screenwriter Zora Holtfreter and director Ute Wieland have created an emotionally gripping film that keeps taking new turns and at times also leads the viewer down the wrong track. This keeps the tension constant.

What bothers?

The last episode with Commissioner Doreen Brasch was called “The Condemned” and was broadcast in December 2020. That’s a year and a half ago. At that time it was about a murderous couple who kidnapped Brasch and tortured him in an abandoned factory building. Not all viewers should still be aware of the plot. In the current film, however, there are repeated allusions to past events. Brasch suffers from panic attacks and claustrophobia as a result of what he has experienced. It doesn’t really seem comprehensible that an obviously unfit officer is on duty. It’s as if the Magdeburg police department only had one colleague available. A traumatized policewoman meets a traumatized perpetrator: This constellation creates – once again – the personal involvement of an investigator in a case. It wouldn’t have been necessary given the strong story.

The commissioners?

Since 2020, Commissioner Brasch has had a new colleague at her side in Günther Márquez (Pablo Grant). He has remained relatively pale so far, but is now getting more attention. However, Brasch and Márquez are not a real team: the detective, who tends to go it alone, is once again investigating with her own idiosyncratic methods.

Turn on or off?

The “Black Box” case is the last Sunday thriller before the summer break. It’s not light fare to conclude, but it’s a case worth tuning into.

Commissioner Doreen Brasch recently investigated in these cases: