1 9 7 4 – 1 9 9 8 (Germany)
A phenomenally long-lasting and successful crime drama, Derrick revolved around the casebook of Detective Chief Inspector Stephan Derrick (Horst Tappert) and his more junior colleague, Inspector Harry Klein (Fritz Wepper), of the Munich police force.
Nearly 300 episodes were made, all written by Herbert Reinecker, a prolific author of tough crime dramas.
Early episodes of Derrick perfectly captured the flavour of the mid-1970s. There was a synthesizer theme tune, blondes were murdered stylishly, and Derrick and Klein were rough, tough detectives forever on the case.
Derrick was still on the air in 1998, by which time its star, Horst Tappert, was 65-years-old and now liked to solve murders by sitting down for a chat rather than chasing suspects through the streets of Munich.
By the time Derrick went off the air in 1998, it had evolved from a German Sweeney to a Columbo, with Derrick gently wearing down his suspect until he was so revolted by the sins of his past that he would break down and confess.
One of the reasons the programme is no longer shown on German television is on account of revelations about Tappert’s own dark past. He had long claimed to have spent the Second World War as a medic, but in 2013 it was revealed that he had been a commander in the Waffen SS.
Herbert Reinecker, too, had worked in the Propaganda Unit of the SS and edited the Hitler Youth training manual, but at least he had been honest about it.
Detective Chief Inspector Stephan Derrick
Inspector Harry Klein