Friday, 30 December 2011


In Berlin, a team of con artists helps a group of pensioners to get their money back and targets a ruthless mob boss.

In november, French private channel TF1 aired Con Me If You Can! (international title of Ni vu, ni connu). A terrible 90-minute comedy blatantly "inspired" by Hustle and Leverage. But three years ago, German private Channel RTL ordered a 45-minute pilot called Die Trickser, about a team of top notch grifters fighting for justice with sophisticated plans and tricks of the art. Produced by Endemol, it was written by Timo Berndt (Wilde Engel, Der Clown) and directed by Oliver Schmitz (Doctor's Diary). Die Trickser starred world class German actor Reiner Schöne (his impressive resume includes Knots Landing and Babylon 5) as Alouis, the team leader. It also starred Anja Nejarri, Mirko Lang (Post Mortem) and Gregor Törzs.

RTL didn't greenlight a series but commissioned a 90-minute second pilot, produced by Wiedemann & Berg Television, the joint venture between Endemol and producers Quirin Berg and Max Wiedemann. Written by Ulf Tschauder (GSG9) and Christoph Darnstädt (Das Experiment), and directed by Dennis Satin, Die Trixxer - note the two Xs - aired yesterday night on RTL. Reiner Schöne is back as Alouis with the other original cast members. Anja Nejarri is his daughter Maya (a former cop), Gregor Törz is Sebastian - owner of a café in Berlin which is the team's HQ, and Mirko Lang is ambitious newcomer Len. Markus Boysen, as arms dealer Brahms , and Anna Julia Kapfelsperger, as his scatterbrain daughter Buschi, are amongst the guest stars.

90 minutes is 45 too many for the uninspired result. Two Xs in the title don't save Die Trixxer from its lack of charm, rythm and characterization, in spite of the always valuable presence of Reiner Schöne. And the situations are inevitably deprived of originality. The redeeming quality of this second pilot is that it doesn't use excessively the visual and music codes of its illustrious predecessors, unlike Con Me If you Can! Though we're not spared a Mission: Impossible peel off. Holger Handtke is excellent as Brahms's henchman Melström, and Susanne Szell (Verliebt in Berlin) plays a LKA officer.

Ratings were not satisfying enough for RTL to order a series. F
rom what we know Mickey Stone sleeps well. He even returns very soon on BBC One for the highly awaited final series of Hustle.

In German:

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