Series / Inspector Rex
aka: Kommissar Rex

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Kommisar_Rex_6193.jpg
What's that, Rex? Timmy fell down the well?

Kommissar Rex, known as Inspector Rex in English-speaking countries, is an Austrian live-action police detective series. The title character, Rex, is a highly-trained German Shepherd dog who works with a team of homicide detectives in the Austrian Kriminalpolizei, initially led by detective Richard Moser.

The series originally ran from 1994 to 2004. In 2008 it was revived as an Italian co-production, with Rex being adopted by a visiting Italian policeman and going to live in Rome. Those Italian seasons lasted until 2015. It also produced a short-lived spinoff, Stockinger, in which Richard Moser's first sidekick is transferred to Salzberg.

Inspector Rex provides examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Kurt Hauff in "Moser's Death". Even if he killed Moser you can see he feels some kind of genuine remorse for what he has just done. There's also the way he looks Rex in the eyes before being Driven to Suicide.
  • All Part of the Show: In one episode, the villain plans to invoke this trope by replacing a prop knife in a play with the real thing.
  • Badass Adorable: Rex is repeatedly seen as a cute dog in and out-of-universe, but is a cunning dog who has outsmarted many antagonists.
  • Badass Beard: Marco Terzani eventually grows a short beard, although he has always had facial hair. Some police officers in both Vienna and Rome sport beards.
  • Badass Grandpa: Filippo Gori is not very active, but has a good physical condition and is perfectly willing to engage in active work. He eventually gets a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Canine Companion: Rex; the tale of a crime-solving police dog and its owner.
  • Chekhov's Skill: If Rex demonstrates a new trick at the beginning of an episode, you can bet it will come in handy later on.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In a few occasions, Rex has switched masters without explanation because the former occupant of that role disappears without justification. This happens to Brandtner, Hoffmann and Rivera. There is no explanation to why Rex became a dog without owner when the series becomes Italian.
  • Connect the Deaths: One episode features a satanic cult that murders women and leaves their bodies so that they form a giant pentagram.
  • Continuity Nod: Some elements from Moser's time were reminded while Fabbri was Rex's master, namely, that Moser called Rex "champion" and that Rex didn't allow Moser to get in a relationship.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Gori punishes Monterosso and Bizzarri by forcing them to eat bananas with the peel because they have delayed Gori's squad by putting bananas in the motor.
  • The Coroner:
    • In Vienna, Leo Graf is the elderly forensic doctor who helps the Criminal Police.
    • In the Italian seasons (at least the six earlier ones) Katia Martelli does both chemical studies and forensic medicine. After Fabbri's death, she appears less frequently and other women also take her role. Giorgio Gaiba, who has a similar role to that of Leo Graf, also works in that aspect.
    • In the latest seasons, Giorgio Vettori and Sonia Randalli are the ones who analyze the bodies.
  • Da Chief: Averted in the Austrian seasons, but in the Italian seasons there is Filippo Gori, who often scolds his team, especially the main inspectors, and wants the cases to be deemed as closed as soon as possible even if the real murderer has not been discovered.
  • Demoted to Extra: After Fabbri's death, Katia appears with less frequency and another women sometimes replace her as The Coroner.
  • Detective Animal: Rex is a skillful dog who has been helpful to solve many crimes.
  • The Doll Episode: Der Puppenmörder/ The Doll Murderer from Season 3.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first time we see Alex, he takes off his jacket and jumps into a river to retrieve evidence. As you might have guessed, he's very dedicated, isn't afraid of taking risks and very sporty.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Happens quite often.
  • Evil Brit: Many a Villain of the Week has a Northern German accent.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Morini starts with a well combed hair, but since he gets a more active role, his hair becomes messy.
  • Fade to White: First, it was used after the ending of "Moser's Death". The Italian seasons used the effect for flashbacks and some scene changes.
  • Fat and Skinny: The sidekicks. First, Stockinger is the skinny and Hollerer is the fat. The former is replaced with Böch when he goes and some time after, the latter is replaced with Kunz. When Nikki comes, it is averted. When Monterosso comes to replace Morini in Rome, he is the fat while the three commisars he knows do the skinny role.
  • Friend to All Children: Whenever a child or children are in a story, Rex earns their heart and gets along with them. In some cases, Rex plays with them at the ending of the episodes.
  • Heroic Dog: Rex is a police dog who often does as much hard policing as the rest of his team put together.
  • Heroic Dolphin: In "Morte tra i delfini", one of the dolphins takes the gun from the murderer.
  • Heroic Pet Story: This series about a cop-canine partnership combines the the Heroic Pet Story and Buddy Cop Show genres, as the titular canine cop fights crime with his human handler.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: In the episode "Snapshot", a young boy interested in becoming a photographer comes with his girlfriend to a damaged building. The case is that they bring a pistol to the scene, which they wrongly believe to be unusable. When the young boy is indicating her how to shoot, he accidentally shoots a tramp. The tramp was a former boxer who wasted his money and the pistol was from a criminal band. The girl's father turns out to be a member of that criminal band.
  • Identical-Looking Asians: This stereotype is present in the chapter "Ombre cinesi" (Chinese shadows). A bus driver who helped Shu Lin to escape from the villain tells Morini that all Chinese are similar, but the girl [Shu Lin] is beautiful. Fabbri is not content with that stereotype.
  • Introduction by Hookup: Marc Hoffman and Nikki Herzog have a one-night stand the morning before they start their new jobs. The next morning, they not only discover that they are both police officers, but they are now partners.
  • Leitmotif: Davide Rivera has the song "Angel on your shoulder", which was sung while he was befriending Rex.
  • Mood Dissonance: It's got cheesy theme music, a cute dog acting human, chocolate-box Vienna locations: everything points to a fun family show. And then you realise you're watching a plot about kids being kidnapped from the fair and forced to make child porn... This changes in the Italian seasons, which begin with shots making the shape of a dog footprint.
  • Mood Whiplash: For a show that on one level is tonally very much akin to a cute, kid-friendly "heroic animal" show like Skippy or Lassie, complete with delightfully corny humour and sometimes implausibly anthropomorphised behaviour by Rex, on the other hand the crimes they investigate are generally murders, and can be quite horrific in nature, not to mention occasionally featuring full frontal nudity.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • One episode has Brandtner stripping down to his underwear so show he has no concealed weapons. When asked how he feels about being so exposed, he replies "...Sexy".
    • Moser goes skinny dipping in "Ein mörderischer Sommer".
    • Lorenzo Fabbri, who could perform an arrest in a Modesty Towel and changed his shirt in a scene.
    • Marco Terzani has a few shirtless appearances and is somewhat muscular. His shape of beard/stubble style may help. Francesco Arca, his actor, used to be a model.
  • Murder-Suicide: The killer of Moser's death shoots himself after fatally shooting Moser.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Rex often has a "My master is off-limits!" approach to his masters, especially Moser and Lorenzo. Rex has been willing to do anything to avoid the relationship. If this does not happen, Rex gets angry and destructive. In "Gelosia", Rex gets angry that Terzani had sex with Josephina and it is thought that it is just his protective attitude. It turns out Josephina was helping his brother to escape, since he is the murderer.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: Played for Drama; molested children in an orphanage freak out when their hair is being touched.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Although much of the time it's more like Rex has human sidekicks.
  • Once an Episode: At least one joke involving ham rolls.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Moser has a very High German (theatre) accent when alone, but when speaking to other humans or swearing he slips into Viennese. He is supposed to be Viennese so this is more a case of his accent slipping when he is alone.
  • Protagonist Title: The series is named after Rex, its protagonist.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: It is a very common situation at the climaxes. The captor threatens the inspectors to kill the victim if they do not put down their pistols in the floor and move said weapons away from them. More often than not Rex catches the captors from behind.
  • Rescue Romance: In "Gelosia", Terzani saves Josephina from shootings. They fall in love and have sex in the night of that day. She exploits that relationship to help his brother to escape.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: In a brochure for Rex: Special Unit, there is a shoulders-up image of a shirtless Marco Terzani pointing with his pistol.
  • Seppuku: The victim of the chapter "Affari di famiglia", Count Alfonso Borromini, seemingly used this to commit suicide, but Morini discovers that the method was incorrectly done. Fabbri concludes it was a murder.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Inspector Rex was an Austrian series, but when it was revived in 2008, the setting of the majority of cases was Rome.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Giandomenico Morini, a funny, childlike character, transfers to Milan and is replaced by Alberto Monterosso, a more serious character, before Fabbri is killed.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: A murdered businessman was revealed to be a pedophile and was killed by his teenage daughter who he had been abusing for years and had started to move on to her younger brother instead, which caused her to snap. The episode is even called "Finally The Monster Is Dead".
  • Spin-Off: Sidekick Stockinger got his own series after he transfers to Salzburg. It lasted two seasons.
  • Spiritual Successor: To other Heroic Dog tv series, such as Rin Tin Tin and Lassie.
  • Spoiler Title:
    • The last chapter with Stockinger is called "Stockinger's Last Case".
    • Moser's final appearance is titled "Moser's Death"
  • Tarot Motifs: An episode featured a Serial Killer who would "use" a Tarot deck to choose how to kill his victims. "Use" since he would not use any of the cards' actual meaning and instead just interpret them in the most literal way possible: Three of Swords? Stab victim three times. The Tower? Toss the victim off a tall building. The Chariot? Run the victim over. And so on.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ham rolls, for both Moser and Rex. Later, Davide Rivera is mostly seen chewing a liquorice stick.
  • Temporarily a Villain: In the chapter The Dark Side Rex is drugged with the same elements of a fighting dog so his captors could exploit him for stealing. It turns out that he pretended his madness to avoid being killed.
  • Title Theme Drop: The incidental music during the climax of most of the earlier episodes incorporates the piano motif from the theme song (this is separate from the end credits, which also use the title theme).
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: The killer in one episode was a former high powered executive who was fired and had his career ruined when a female employee framed him for Attempted Rape by going into his office, ripping off her own clothes and screaming. The guy then went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the woman and her co-conspirators. When he's caught, they point out that since he at no point touched the woman, her clothes had no forensic evidence linking it to him and thus if he had simply gone to the police, he could have them all arrested and gone back to his job.
  • Wicked Toymaker: One episode featured an author whose story about a criminal toymaker was rejected by a publishing company, so he used toys to hunt down and destroy the editors who rejected his work, one by one. Much use was made of radio-guided vehicles/aircraft, with simple plunger-triggered bombs on board.
  • Wire Dilemma: Subverted in an episode where the character facing the dilemma takes too long to decide and runs out of time — but his colleague had pulled the detonator out of the explosives. Later played straight with Fabbri, who sucessfully cuts the right wire to deactivate the bomb.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/InspectorRex?from=Main.KommissarRex