Wednesday, 24 April 2019


To Monique Planson.

The legendary private detective Josef Matula and his dog Renz are back.

« Detektiv und'n Anwalt... Gab's da nicht schon mal'ne Fernsehserie?»

Claus Theo Gärtner (born in 1943) first portrayed the street-smart, working-class Hermann Josef Matula in Ein Fall für Zwei ("A case for two"). The long-running series, created by Georg Althammer and Karl Heinz Willshrei for Galmon Film (later Odeon Film), was about a private investigator and a defense attorney who solved crimes in Frankfurt am Main. Matula was 31 when it started on German pubcaster ZDF in 1981. When his partnership with Dr. Dieter Renz (Günther Strack) ended in 1988, the character teamed up with three other lawyers: Dr. Rainer Frank (Rainer Hunold, 1988-1997), Dr. Johannes Voss (Mathias Hermann, 1997-2000) and Dr. Markus Lessing (Paul Frielinghaus, 2001-2013).

In autumn 2011, Gärtner expressed his desire to leave after 30 years. The duo Matula-Lessing bowed out with the 300th episode in March 2013. Surprisingly, ZDF decided to revamp Ein Fall für Zwei around attorney Benjamin "Benni" Hornberg (Antoine Monot, Jr.) and p.i. Leo Oswald (Wanja Hues). With the same title but minus the famous theme composed by the great Klaus Doldinger (The Neverending Story, Das Boot, Tatort), the new version debuted in May 2014 and is still running. Claus Theo Gärtner even had a cameo in an episode. And every Good Friday since 2017, Herr Gärtner returns as one of the most popular characters of German television in Matula, a series of 90-minute specials penned by Ben Braeunlich (Tatort).

Matula - Tod auf Mallorca brings Josef Matula and his dog Renz (named after his first lawyer partner) in Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic islands. The detective must sail a yacht to one of the favourite destinations of German tourists for a rich client named Peter Janek. Once arrived, he meets Ingo Schumann, a yacht owner, and his companion Karin Weißbach. The morning after, Matula finds the dead body of Schumann floating in the harbour basin. Karin is quickly arrested for murder by Comisario Raphael Herras, the head of the local police. Josef discovers that the victim had other women in in his life and many secrets. From a golf course to a local club, via hotel balconies, he gets so close to the truth that someone wants him out of the island... or even dead.

Tod auf Mallorca is another brilliant case of the ever resourceful private eye played with panache and self-derision by Claus Theo Gärtner. Director Daniel Helfer (the SOKO franchise, Balko), who succeeds to Thorsten Näter, worked with the actor on a 2011 episode of Ein Fall für Zweï. Both Helfer and cinematographer Mathias Neumann sure know how to take advantage of the gorgeous locations. Guest starring Heike Trinker (Karin Weißbach), Proschat Madani (Der letzte Bülle) as Angela Bremer, Violetta Schurawlow (Maria Schubert-Sanchez), Carlos Lobo (Raphael Herras), Michael Roll (Kommissarin Lucas) as Robert Bremer, Jochen Horst (Balko) as Ingo Schumann, Tonio Arango (Silvio Mendes), etc.

Produced by Odeon TV (for ZDF and Austria's ORF) and distributed by ZDF Enterprises. Anette Kaufmann produces. Michael Bauernfeind and Rolf Wappenschmitt exec produce. Thomas Höbbel is the line producer. The excellent music was composed by Nikolaus Glowna. Matula - Tod auf Mallorca was filmed between October and November 2018. The real name of Matula's dog is Mumford and he's trained by Charlott Arzberger. (Ratings)

See also: (Matula - Des Schatten des Berges) (Matula - Wer Wind sät)

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