-->''[[TitleThemeTune Ta-daaa... Ta-daaa.... Ta-daaa...!]]''
-->-- [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0pV2faxne4 Intro sequence (YouTube)]]

'''''Tatort''''' ("Crime Scene") is a [[GermanMedia German]] PoliceProcedural series. Even after more than [[LongRunner 900 episodes, having started in 1970]] (making it the oldest still going crime show in the world), it's still one of the most popular German TV series and regularly wins the battle for the highest {{Ratings}}.

An especially noteworthy feature of the series is the fact that there isn't just one single core cast of protagonists. Instead, it features many different teams of police investigators who take turns from episode to episode. Imagine ''Series/{{CSI}}'', ''Series/CSIMiami'' and ''Series/{{CSINY}}'', but with a lot more teams, different locations and less HollywoodScience.

Each team is based in a different city, representing many different [[CityOfAdventure settings]] all across Germany, UsefulNotes/{{Austria}} (since 1971), and [[{{UsefulNotes/Switzerland}} German-speaking Switzerland]] (since 1990). Of the current teams, these five have been active the longest time:
* Ludwigshafen (Lena Odenthal and Mario Kopper) since 1989
* Munich (Ivo Batic and Franz Leitmayr) since 1991
* Cologne (Max Ballauf and Freddy Schenk) since 1997
* Bremen (Inga Lürsen and Nils Stedefreund) since 1997
* Vienna (Moritz Eisner and Bibi Fellner) since 1999

The series is usually broadcast on Sundays during PrimeTime on the German channel ''[[GermanTVStations Das Erste]]'', the Austrian channel ''ORF 2'', and ''[=SF1=]'' in German-speaking Switzerland. You can expect to see reruns of older episodes on some of the regional tv stations about every other day.

The series has a cult following. In many cities, groups of people will gather in a bar every Sunday at 8:15 p.m. to watch the screening of the latest episode together.
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!! ''Tatort'' provides examples of:
* AlternateCompanyEquivalent: ''Polizeiruf 110'' was launched by the television of the [=GDR=] to provide a socialist alternative to the West German blockbuster ''Tatort''. The format is similar, with different investigators in different places. ''Polizeiruf'' continues to be produced after German reunification, now produced by a number of the regional stations of the [=ARD=] both East and West of the former Iron Curtain. The two series share a time slot in UsefulNotes/TheBerlinRepublic, and produced a crossover episode in October 1990, "Unter Brüdern", to celebrate the reunification.
* AlwaysMurder: Nearly every case involves a murder, often also more than one. Suicide is less common. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], because the cops are practically always from the homicide division[[note]] A notable exception in the early days of the series was ''Zollfahnder'' Kressin, an investigator for the federal customs service[[/note]].
* AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents: ''Hauptkommissar'' Frank Thiel's father Herbert (Claus Dieter Clausnitzer), an [[NewAgeRetroHippie old "68er" who grows his own weed]] and occasionally gets involved in slightly illegal activities, although most of the time he works as a taxi driver.
* AmicablyDivorced: One of the early ''Tatort'' investigators, Essen ''Kommissar'' Heinz Haferkamp (Hansjörg Felmy), would often discuss cases he was working on with his ex-wife Ingrid (Karin Eickelbaum), and it was implied that the two occasionally still slept with each other. The Leipzig team of ''Hauptkommissare'' Eva Saalfeld (Simone Thomalla) and Andreas Keppler (Martin Wuttke) used to be married to each other, but got divorced a few years before their first episode.
* {{Badass}}: Duisburg-based Kommissar Horst "Schimmi" Schimanski (Götz George) tries to be this, and is at least good enough for his episodes only being shown at late night.
* TheBeautifulGame: Ludwigshafen-based Lena Odenthal (Ulrike Folkerts) used to be a fan of 1. FC Kaiserslautern but now roots for SC Freiburg. Hamburger Frank Thiel (Axel Prahl), exiled to Münster, is an inveterate supporter of FC St. Pauli and often can be seen wearing St. Pauli T-shirts, scarfs etc.
* BelligerentSexualTension: Subverted with forensic pathologist Professor Karl-Friedrich Boerne (Jan Josef Liefers) and his assistant Silke "Alberich" Haller ([=ChrisTine=] Urspruch), who actually not romantically interested in one another. Although they did once meet anonymously on an internet dating forum and became interested. Then they fixed a date in a restaurant, discovered who they were dealing with, and that was the end of that.
* BigFancyHouse: The murders often take place in the milieu of the middle to upper class, resulting in the witnesses/culprits/victims inhabiting accordingly spacious places.
* TheCameo: Numerous celebrities already have had small parts in ''Tatort''.
** In the Kommissar Stoever episode ''Habgier'' (Greed) 1999, [[TheBeautifulGame football]] legend Berti Vogts holds a rabbit and saves a family from being killed in a gas explosion.
** Creator/RogerMoore was seen starting a six-days cycle race in the Bremen episode ''Schatten'' (2002).
** More football people, including DFB president Theo Zwanziger, men's and women's national team coaches Jogi Löw and Silvia Neid, women's world cup organizer Steffi Jones and international player Célia Okoyino da Mbabi appeared in ''Im Abseits'' ("Offside"), a soccer-themed Lena Odenthal episode produced to coincide with the Women's World Cup in 2011.
* CanonImmigrant: Stuttgart-based investigator Ernst Bienzle (Dietz-Werner Steck) was created as the protagonist of a series of crime novels by Felix Huby before being put on the small screen in ''Tatort''.
* CentralTheme: Many episodes embed sociopolitical issues into the plot, e.g. the waste export to Africa or wage dumping at discount stores. The two investigators occasionally have opposing opinions regarding said issue, and discuss them.
* ChekhovsSkill: As the regular cast of the Münster ''Tatort'' contains not one, but two ace pathologists -- Professor Dr. Karl-Friedrich Boerne and his assistant Silke Haller -- and one of them is one of the two main protagonists, it is not surprising that episodes set in Münster involve murders by poisoning, questions of paternity, missing bodies or old cases where only the bones of a victim are left more frequently than others. Boerne's skills in riding and fencing have also proved useful in at least one episode each.
* ClearMyName: The plot of some episodes.
* ClusterFBomb: Schimmi's most frequently used word seems to be ''Scheisse'' ("shit"). It is also the ''last'' word he says in a ''Tatort''.
* TheCoroner: Prof. Dr. Karl-Friedrich Boerne (Jan Josef Liefers) from Münster is one half of the investigator duo, even though Kommissar Thiel doesn't like this very much; Dr. Joseph Roth (played by Joe Bausch, who is a physician in a German prison in real life) can often be seen in the Cologne ''Tatort''.
* CrossOver:
** As part of the celebration of Germany's re-unification in 1990, ''Tatort'' crossed over with its East German counterpart series, ''Polizeiruf 110'', for the episode "Unter Brüdern" ("Among Brothers"). In this episode, a dead man is fished out of the river in Duisburg and is found to have a tattoo marking him as a former Stasi officer, leading to a joint investigation between the Duisburg team, led by ''Kriminalhauptkommissare'' Horst Schimanski (Götz George) and Christian Thanner (Eberhard Feik), and their East Berlin opposite numbers, led by ''Kriminalhauptkommissar'' Peter Fuchs (Peter Borgelt) and ''Kriminaloberkommissar'' Thomas Grawe (Andreas Schmidt-Schaller).
** To celebrate ''Tatort's'' 30th anniversary, the special episode ''Quartett in Leipzig'' was produced where a case took the Cologne team of ''Kriminalhauptkommissare'' Max Ballauf (Klaus J. Behrendt) and Alfred "Freddy" Schenk (Dietmar Bär) to Leipzig, where they got to solve it in conjunction with the local team of ''Hauptkommissare'' Bruno Ehrlicher (Peter Sodann) and Kain (Bernd Michael Lade), who had become involved in the same case from another incident. Two years later in the episode ''Rückspiel'' ("Return Game"), Kain and Ehrlicher traveled to Cologne for another joint investigation.
** In the Münster episode ''Der doppelte Lott'' Professor Boerne does some investigative work in Cologne and interacts with Ballauf and Schenk, as well as with his Cologne counterpart Josef Roth. It emerges they know each other from university.
** The only two-part story (so far), ''Kinderland'' and ''Ihr Kinderlein kommet'' (2012), was another a Cologne[=/=] Leipzig crossover, teaming up Ballauf and Schenk with the new Leipzig team of ''Hauptkommissare'' Eva Saalfeld (Simone Thomalla) and Andreas Keppler (Martin Wuttke).
* DeadpanSnarker: Most protagonists in the Münster ''Tatort'' are this to some extent, but nobody does it with more flair than Professor Boerne.
* EiffelTowerEffect: No matter where a Münster episode is set, even if it is in the suburbs or a village in the environs, there will always be a sequence involving the ''Prinzipalmarkt'' and the church St. Lamberti, and often Thiel or Boerne will also pass the cathedral. Episodes set in Cologne will usually show Cologne cathedral; here it helps that Ballauf and Schenk are regular customers at a fast-food trailer directly across the river from the cathedral.
* FishOutOfWater: ''Hauptkommissar'' Frank Thiel (Axel Prahl) -- a lapsed Protestant from UsefulNotes/{{Hamburg}} -- in the much smaller and deeply Catholic Münster. Other Tatorts also have such characters, for instance in the new Nuremberg-based one the two leading investigators are Paula Ringelhahn (Dagmar Manzel) from Guben in East Germany and North German Felix Voss (Fabian Hinrichs).
* GermanDialects: Depending on the setting, these can be more or less pronounced. When the episode is set in Munich, Austria or Switzerland, many viewers for further north are glad about the subtitle option.
* GermanTVStations: The German ''Tatort'' episodes are produced by the regional stations that make up the ARD -- BR, HR, MDR, NDR, RB, RBB (formerly SFB and ORB), SR, SWR, and WDR -- which means that all major regions of Germany are represented in the series. How they are represented depends to a large extent on regional peculiarities. Thus Bremen and the Saarland, the two smallest [[UsefulNotes/TheSixteenLandsOfDeutschland German states]] (by population) are seen fairly often because they have broadcasting networks of their own (Radio Bremen and Saarländischer Rundfunk), while some larger and more populous regions and cities are neglected because they don't. Thus until recently Bavarian ''Tatort'' investigators were always based in Munich, the state capital, and people in Franconia (the northern part of the state) would have to wait until 2015 for a ''Franken-Tatort'' (set in Nuremberg). Similarly, most Hessian ''Tatort'' investigators have been based in Frankfurt.
* GreyAndGreyMorality: The episode "Weil sie böse sind". ("Because They're Evil")
* HowUnscientific: The Ludwigshafen ''Tatort'' episodes usually focus on realism, sociopolitical issues and psychology, which makes the 1997 episode ''Tod im All'' ("Death in Space") stand out all the more. Here Odenthal and Kopper had to investigate the murder of a ufologist, and were fed information from a mysterious source, apparently the aliens with which the ufologist had communicated. The episode ended with a special-effects scene where a [[FunnyBackgroundEvent watertower transformed into a spaceship and took off]]!
* IconicOutfit: Schimmi's beige-grey M-1965 field jacket.
* IdentificationByDentalRecords: In a Münster episode [[spoiler: a man faked his death in a house fire in South Africa by having his dentist tamper with his dental records. Since Professor Boerne was the one thus fooled into signing a false death certificate he took this personally and went to the extra trouble and expense of reconstructing the face from the skull found in the burned-down house to identify the victim's real identity.]]
* IDidntMeanToKillHim
* AnImmigrantsTale: A number of ''Tatort'' investigators have ''Migrationshintergrund'' ("migration background), for instance Munich-based ''Kriminalhauptkommissar'' Ivo Batic (Miroslav Nemec) was born in Vukovar, Croatia, and for him xenophobia can become a BerserkButton. Mario Kopper (Andreas Hoppe) in Ludwigshafen is the son of a German father and an Italian mother. Nadeshda Krusenstern (Friederike Kempter) is an ethnic German born in Russia who came to Münster with her parents (who find it much harder to assimilate to West German society than her). Hamburg-based Cenk Batu (Mehmet Kurtuluş) is the first leading ''Tatort'' investigator with Turkish roots.
* TheInfiltration: The mission of undercover investigator Cenk Batu (Mehmet Kurtuluş) from Hamburg; this was the first ''Tatort'' franchise not to use a whodunit format.
* InsufferableGenius: Professor Karl Friedrich Boerne oh so much.
* LadyLooksLikeADude: Or sounds like one. When Kommissar Thiel first spoke on the telephone to ''Oberstaatsanwältin'' Wilhelmine Klemm (Mechtild Großmann), her gravelly voice made him think he was dealing with a man. In some episodes the heavily-smoking district attorney approaches BrawnHilda status.
* {{Leitmotif}}: The 1920s song ''Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins'' functions as one for ''Hauptkommissar'' Thiel as he uses it has his ringtone and, as a Hamburg tune, it sticks out like a sore thumb in Münster.
* MeaningfulName: The Berlin duo of Till Ritter ("knight", played by Dominic Raacke) and Felix Stark ("strong", played by Boris Aljinovic) as well as the Saxon one of Ehrlicher ("honest one") and Kain (the German spelling of Adam and Eve's son Caine).
* TheMovie: Kommissar Schimanski appeared in two cinema films, ''Zahn um Zahn'' ("A Tooth for a Tooth", 1985) and ''Zabou'' (1987).
* NakedPeopleAreFunny: In one episode, Schimanski is knocked out (again); when he awkens, he finds himself naked lying in the middle of the playing field of Duisburg's football stadium.
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous[=/=]FamousNamedForeigner: Thiel's assistant Nadeshda Krusenstern (Friederike Kempter) is an ethnic German who immigrated from Russia with her parents. Her surname is that of the Baltic-German admiral who commanded the first Russian circumnavigation of the Earth, Nadezhda ("Hope") was the name of one of his two ships.
* NoNameGiven: ''Hauptkommissar'' Kain's first name was never mentioned.
* NWordPrivileges: Professor Boerne's assistant Silke Haller is a little person ([=ChrisTine=] Urspruch, who plays her, is 132 cm tall) and Boerne not only gave her the nickname [[RichardWagner Alberich]], but continually makes short jokes about her. "Alberich" returns the favour and sees his jokes as a sign that he respects her for her competence and does not pity her. But woe to anybody who actually laughs at Boerne's jokes - then Boerne will make him or her feel deeply embarrassed.
* OneEpisodeWonder: The format resulted in a number of one-episode wonders as a new investigative team set in a different city was tried out but for one reason or another (often other commitments by the lead actor) was cancelled after just one episode. One such case was Diether Krebs (Michael in ''Series/EinHerzUndEineSeele'') who played the deadly serious ''Kriminalhauptkommissar'' Nagel from Hanover in 1979, while Klaus Schubert ("Ekel Alfred" himself) played retired ''Kriminalhauptkommissar'' Felber in Frankfurt in 1995. Klaus Löwitsch played two such roles in 1982 and 1985, in the first episode he did his character was killed in the line of duty.
* PlatonicLifePartners: On the Ludwigshafen ''Tatort'', Lena Odenthal (Ulrike Folkerts) and her colleague Mario Kopper (Andreas Hoppe) share an apartment.
* PropheticName: In the earliest Münster episodes, ''Hauptkommissar'' Thiel had a second assistant called Bulle. The word means "bull", but it is also slang for "cop".
* Creator/RichardWagner: Professor Boerne is an admirer, which led him to give his assistant Silke Haller the nickname [[Theatre/DerRingDesNibelungen Alberich]]. In the course of later episodes she acquired a dog called Wotan, which belonged to a murder victim [[spoiler: who turned out to be Boerne's near-identical half-brother]], and it was revealed that she lives in ''[[Theatre/TheRingOfTheNibelung Rheingoldweg]]'' ("Rhine Gold Way").
* ScreenToStageAdaptation: Stuttgart-based ''Kommissar'' Ernst Bienzle (Dietz-Werner Steck) appeared in the play ''Bienzle und der Mord am Neckar'' (2006). Berlin-based Franz Markowitz (Günter Lamprecht) even appeared in two small-stage plays.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections: "Do you know who I am?" and "I regularly play golf with the Chief of Police" do crop up from time to time.
* TheSeventies: The [[UnintentionalPeriodPiece opening sequence and theme tune]] has never been changed.
* ShoutOut: In one Münster episode, Frank Thiel, in order to get a criminal's goat, goes through a lovingly done "[[Series/{{Columbo}} Oh, uh, one more thing...]]" routine (complete with characteristic hand movements) before flourishing the damning piece of evidence.
* {{Spinoff}}: After leaving the police force, Horst Schimanski became a private investigator in the series ''Schimanski'' (1997-2013).
** Starting in 2008, a monthly series of radio plays, ''Radio-Tatort'' is broadcast on ARD radio stations. Episodes last 55 minutes each.
* TemporaryLoveInterest: As a rule, ''Tatort'' investigators are single or divorced, definitely unlucky in love because practically the only kind of romantic subplots they tend to get is with a suspects, which usually does not end well. One of the rare aversions is the Weimar-based team of ''Kriminaloberkommissare'' Lessing (Christian Ulmen) and Kira Dorn (Nora Tschirner), who have a child together.
* ThatRemindsMeOfASong: Starting in 1996, the Hamburg team of Paul Stoever (Manfred Krug) and Peter Brockmöller (Charly Brauer) would sing a jazz standard in the course of each episode, which was loved by the audience as they did it well enough (Krug had been a popular jazz singer in East Germany before leaving for the West). A compilation of the 17 songs was successfully produced as a CD.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: For Heinz Haferkamp (Essen) it was ''Frikadellen'' (frikadeller in English), for Horst Schimanski (Duisburg) ''Currywurst''.
* VitriolicBestBuds: In Münster both the relationship between Professor Karl-Friedrich Boerne and Hauptkommissar Frank Thiel and that between Boerne and Alberich qualify.
* WakingUpAtTheMorgue: Subverted. Boerne was once knocked out by a bad guy with a sword (ItMakesSenseInContext) and then woke up in his familiar morgue. His assistant Silke Haller had brought him there and put him on a table to stitch his wound and wait until he regained consciousness.
* WorkingWithTheEx: The permanent setup for the Leipzig team of Eva Saalfeld and Andreas Keppler.
* YouDidntAsk
* YouLookFamiliar:
** Creator/SibelKekilli had a guest role before becoming regular character Sarah Brandt.
** Before she played ''Kriminaloberkommissarin'' Charlotte Sänger (Frankfurt ''Tatort'', 2002-2010), Andrea Sawatzki had already appeared as ''Kommissarin'' Gabi Bauer in ''Polizeiruf 110'' (1995-2004), and before that as a secretary in ''Der Fall Schimanski'' (1991), the last Schimanski ''Tatort''.
** Simone Thomalla had played small parts in two ''Tatort'' episodes before being cast as Leipzig-based ''Hauptkommissarin'' Eva Saalfeld.
** Mehmet Kurtuluş had a one-shot role as an assistant in the controversial episode ''Wem Ehre gebührt'' ("To Whom Honour Is Due", 2007) before being cast as ''Kriminalhauptkommissar'' Cenk Batu.
** Fabian Hinrichs had a one-shot part as annoying assitant Gisbert Engelhardt in the Munich episode ''Der tiefe Schlaf'' ("The Deep Sleep") in 2012 before being cast as ''Hauptkommissar'' Felix Voss in the ''Franken-Tatort''.
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