To the series “Unbroken” on ZDFneo

IIn hindsight, she regrets every single word. But on this last working day in the office for the time being, when Alex Enders (Aylin Tezel) hangs his head over the toilet bowl and meets her superior Paul Nowak (Özgür Karadeniz) at the sink, these sentences have to come out, even if something like that doesn’t work out befits.

“Hey, if you only knew how many times in the past few months I’ve wished I’d lose the child,” she moans. “I even had an appointment to have it removed. But … fuck, I should have just done it. ”Nowak, who has two children and is a friendly guy in general, interprets what has been said as prenatal blues. He pulls Enders back into the office, where the workforce cheers the mother-to-be and sends her on maternity leave.

A few days later, Alex Enders dragged himself from a piece of forest onto the terrace of a single-family house and called for help: she’s only wearing one shirt, has blood everywhere, looks similarly deplorable as the lawyer Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), who at the beginning of the legal Thrillers “Damages” ran bloodied through New York. And there is no longer a child in the tummy – the opening scene of “Unbroken”, an all-round successful, very densely narrated, extremely well-played and powerful German series that ZDFneo commissioned.

On paper, the six-part has many elements that are also used in standard crime novels. But you can already guess at the place of the action (the holy Duisburg Schimanski) and the combination of the screenwriters Andreas Linke (who directed some episodes of “Toten vom Bodensee”) and Marc O. Seng (who co-wrote “Dark”), that “Unbroken” doesn’t want to be a standard crime thriller.

And that’s what Aylin Tezel wants, too, who as Nora Dalay belonged to the Dortmund “Tatort” from 2012 to 2020 and as sad and angry detective Alex Enders can, among other things, fall back on the experience she gained in 2012 with Pola Beck’s “Am Himmel der Tag” Has. At that time, Aylin Tezel received the German Acting Award in the Young Talent category for her portrayal of an unintentionally pregnant student. For the main role in “Unbroken” she should also get awards, even if you shout that too quickly with a hyperemotional role like this one. Pregnant woman doubts, loses the child like in a nightmare, whimpers and mourns and believes in a baby kidnapping out of the body – as a viewer, you are immediately at the edge.

But stop: a baby abduction? Yes exactly. That would be a way of interpreting the strange happenings in the forest, obscured by Ender’s memory loss. The pregnant inspector could have been abducted for a few days six weeks before the expected due date – so that some profiteer can hand over their child to a family with an unfulfilled baby. A flashback at the beginning of the series that shows us fighting with a masked man, medical findings (“natural birth”) and a murder case, to which the Duisburg police station was called three months later, set appropriate signs.

The kidnapping could also only have happened in the mind of the mentally broken inspector, who is now being treated by the police psychologist Kathrin Brenner (Leslie Malton). With whatever that may mean. No doubt the pregnant woman was under pressure. She feared not being up to the task as a mother, saw the expectations of her husband in love Leif (Sebastian Zimmler), suffered from the progressive dementia of her father Richard (André Jung), who lives in the home, and an ex-boyfriend (Dawid Owe) there is still. That’s a lot at once, plus the job on the homicide squad, which she wants to do particularly well as one of the toughest cops in one of the toughest regions of the country.

The series “Unbroken”, which director Andreas Senn winds up in the style of fashionable Scandinavian and American thrillers, beating energy out of this imponderability to the end, and through Leah Striker, who recently illustrated a post-apocalyptic world (“End Times”), wears the gray Filming locations contribute to the effect.

Without Aylin Tezel, of course, who at times acts as a commissioner with a battered soul like Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in “Homeland” (and proudly crashes over the Rhine bridge like Sofia Helin as Saga Norén about “The Bridge” on the Öresund, maybe the three should do one Found a band), it would all fizzle out. The actress has already shown what she can do in various German and international productions, most recently as dolphins in the emigrant drama “The Club of Singing Butchers”. “Unbroken” is such a strong performance that it could possibly also meet with a response abroad.

Unbroken starts today at 9.45 p.m. on ZDFneo.


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