A dark family history is at the center of this “crime scene” repeat from Kiel. For enlightenment, Commissioner Borowski has to deal with the legacy of the 1968ers.
What’s the matter?
In the house of the pastor Johann Flemming (Martin Lindow) things are strict and cheerless. There seems to be an unspoken secret between the family members, plus the cleric treats his father like a small child and locks him in his room when he leaves the house. The whole messed up family constellation breaks up when one evening the priest’s eight-year-old son runs in front of the inspectors Klaus Borowski (Axel Milberg) and Mila Sahin (Almila Bagriacik) in the car. The boy seems confused and claims that his grandfather is dead in the forest and that an Indian protected him from a dog. Although Borowski initially does not find a body, he does find a boat that is anchored in the bay. It is called “Arken” – and leads directly to the dark secret of the Flemming family.
Why is this “crime scene” worthwhile?
The social upheaval initiated by the 1968ers brought with it many positive impulses – but also some terrible aberrations. These include crude notions of childhood sexuality, which some reform pedagogues have advocated. A lesson that the old Heinrich Flemming also spread at a young age: A girl who desires her teacher must not be rejected by him, says his book. How dangerous such assumptions and “educational experiments” were can still be seen today, for example in the cases of abuse at the Odenwald School.
However, this sequence does not provide a one-sided settlement with this movement. Borowski in particular doesn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water: Many of the ideals weren’t so bad after all, he insists, and cites the upbringing to maturity and independence as well as the break with a purely obedience-oriented upbringing.
Whenever things are supposed to be mysterious, the didgeridoo booms. Then an Indian stands around somewhere in the landscape and a dog creeps menacingly through the branches: In some scenes, “Borowski and the House by the Sea” exaggerates the atmosphere. The strong case (script and direction: Niki Stein) didn’t need that at all.
In a conversation about the educational reforms of the 1970s, Borowski reveals a secret from his own youth. At that time, the students were constantly discussing the subject of sexuality with their teachers, says the inspector. “Yes, maybe discussed, but you didn’t sleep with your teacher,” counters Mila Sahin. Borowski’s telling reply: “If you ask me so directly…”
Turn on or off?
Despite some weaknesses, this is a “Tatort” episode worth seeing. Also worth repeating.
The “Tatort: Borowski and the House by the Sea” was first broadcast on December 15, 2019. ARD repeats the case on Friday, May 20, at 10:15 p.m.