German-language Buddy Cop Police Procedural Action/Adventure Series about plainclothes detectives working for the Nordrhein-Westfälische Autobahnpolizei, a police agency responsible for patrolling the Autobahn superhighways in North-Rhine Westphalia.note
Just visualise it: This is a petrol-exploding, collaterally-damaging, bullet-spurting take on the legendary hardcore profession of... writing traffic tickets.note
A Guilty Pleasure that combines the dead-serious tone and high production values of the CSI franchise with car stunts worthy of Michael Bay or The Dukes of Hazzard. Nearly every episode has at least two or three frenzied chase sequences and at least one multi-car pileup. It's said that the producer had it added to his contract that he could make at least one pileup and ensuing explosions in each episode.
The show ran as an episodic television series for 25 seasons from 1995 to 2021, only stopping because the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult to continue with a weekly production schedule. It will live on as a series of TV movies, however, with the first airing in 2022.
During Germany's version of Cash for Clunkers, this show was happy to help you, deliberately paying you for your car so that you could later see it being blown up or crashed spectacularly.
This series provides examples of:
- Abridged Series: The comedy show Freitag Nacht News, which was produced by the same network, regularly featured an alternate dub parody.
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: A more recent example is towards the end of "Dienstschluss," where even the usually action-intensive truck explosion is reduced to a moment of pure shock and awe. It even comes with minimalistic, yet equally intense music that may come across to some people as almost contemplative.
- Actor Allusion: in the opening Chase Scene of "Operation Gemini," Semir commandeers a tanker truck to go after the escaping bad guys. (This being Cobra 11, it later crashes and explodes.) The truck is lettered for a fictional company, "Atalay GMBH". Semir is played by actor Erdogan Atalay.
- Actor-Shared Background: Andrea Schäfer grew up in East Germany (German Democratic Republic) like Carina Wiese, the actress portraying her.
- A Day in the Limelight: The show is pretty generous about featuring the supporting cast members.
- Air-Vent Passageway: A laundry chute is used as this in "Das Versprechen".
- Always on Duty: Semir and his partners, usually.
- Anti-Villain: Nicole in "Die Geisel".
- Anyone Can Die:
- Being Semir's partner is a dangerous job! Ask Andre Fux, Tom Kranich, and Chris Ritter. Andre Fux actually turns up alive and appears as a guest in a two parter in 19th series, but he dies for real at its end.
- Ingo Fischer, Semir's predecessor
- Two of Tom Kranich's girlfriends.
- Both Horst Herzberger and Dieter Bonrath.
- Police chief-turned-president Kim Krüger.
- Apocalypse Cult: The bad guys in "Das Ende der Welt".
- Bash Brothers: Semir Gerkhan and each of his many partners.
- Becoming the Mask: André Fux after spending years as an undercover agent in the organized crime world, he even admits it to Semir.
- Benevolent Boss: Anna Engelhardt.
- Big Damn Heroes: Semir Gerkhan and his partner will often save the day in the nick of time.
- Big Eater & Sweet Tooth: Herzberger, who is occasionally used as a Fat Comic Relief. He usually has a chocolate bar or creamy wafer at his disposal, or seen enjoying a junk food lunch. Occasionally he even steals leftovers from other people or food they forgot about. As a Running Joke he often gets called into action just when he is about to start his much-desired lunch.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: 5'3" (160cm) Semir and any of his partners.
- Buddy Cop Show: The buddy relationship and interaction between Semir and his actual partner is pretty much the center of the show.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of "Jäger und Gejagte" when Tom and the Girl of the Week share a passionate kiss, Semir turns to the audience and says "See, I told you she's got the hots for him".
- Breakout Character: Semir Gerkhan was introduced in the third episode, as the new partner of original series lead character Frank Stolte. He immediately became very popular, and soon rose to series lead.
- Break the Cutie: Jenny Dorn's character arc in season 37. She blames herself for the death of her partner, Dieter Bonrath, descending into angst and survivor's guilt.
- Bury Your Gays: Architect Katharine Wendt and her girlfriend are both killed in the first 45 minutes of the two-parter "Auferstehung".
- Bus Full of Innocents: Played straight in "Todesfahrt der Linie 834"; subverted in "Tulpen aus Amsterdam", where the folks on the bus were part of the conspiracy.
- Busman's Holiday: In "Babyalarm", Semir and Ben are sent on medical leave to a health clinic in the quiet countryside. Coincidentally, some hard-boiled criminals happen to conduct dirty business at the same clinic... Rest assured...
- In "Das letzte Rennen", Semir and Alex go to see a car race for some rest and relaxation... and find a corpse hidden at the race track...
- Car Fu: A fine example in "Lauras Entscheidung," with Tom using the door of Semir's speeding Bimmer to wallop a bad guy as they blow past him.
- The Casanova: Ben Jäger, whose cell phone number is 01-6969696969.
- The Cast Showoff: Ben Jäger is a singer-songwriter in his free time much like Tom Beck, the actor portraying him. He is occasionally seen performing with his band or showing Semir his new songs (actually written by Beck himself). In the season 34 finale, Ben leaves the police force to concentrate on his music career, the same reason Beck left the series.
- The Charmer: Ben Jäger is a master of this craft, even if sometimes he is Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.
- Chase Scene: At least Once an Episode, usually two or three times max.
- Chase-Scene Obstacle Course: The show is particularly fond of cargo falling off of trucks during Chase Scenes.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Frank Stolte until his return in "Risiko"; also Jan Richter after "Extrem," and Finn Bartels after "Brautalarm."
- Coitus Ensues: The series occasionally features quite sensual and explicit sex scenes, usually accompanied by soft music. Afterall, it was made in Europe, where sex is considered much less taboo than in the United States.
- Cool Car:
- Semir's BMW 3-Series; his partner's Mercedes-Benz; Horst & Dieter's Porsche 911 patrol car, later a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, a Range Rover, a Cayenne (again), and right back to the 911.
- In a case of Cool Special Guestcar, one episode ("Freundschaft") featured the Maybach Exelero.
- Cop/Criminal Family: Chief Kim Krüger's father was a notorious cat-burglar nicknamed "The Panther".
- Crossover: Semir Gerkhan and André Fux appeared in an episode of Der Clown (The Clown), another German action series in 1998.
- The Cutie: Jenny Dorn.
- Darkened Building Shootout: A highlight in "Auferstehung." While there lies ambiguity as to whether or not this trope is played straight (it's daytime), the (mostly) darkened lighting, along with the grittiness and the intense impromptu action makes this among the best in the series.
- Played straight in the beginning of "Familienfest." Semir and Alex venture to apprehend a robbery suspect in the Cologne Metro, happening upon an abandoned tram cart. Cue muzzle flashes, loud noises, and broken glass/plaster all over.
- Another one in "Die ganze Wahrheit," when Semir tries to rescue Vicky from an office manager-turned-sociopathic killer.
- Deadpan Snarker: Chief Kim Krüger is talented in this.
- Dead Star Walking: Rainer Strecker as Ingo Fischer, one of the first two detectives. Strecker left the series after just two episodes, being replaced by Erdoğan Atalay's long-running Semir Gerkhan.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Chief Kim Krüger as her character develops. From Ice Queen she gradually becomes a true mother figure to the team.
- Demoted to Extra: Andrea, after she married Semir; she reappears only occasionally as a guest star.
- Diplomatic Impunity: The plot of the episode "Ohne Ausweg" revolves around this situation.
- In "Die Nachtreporterin", Semir solves this problem quite easily: when the Chinese diplomat, involved in a human trafficking ring claims he has diplomatic immunity, Semir replies: "No, you don't", and punches him in the nose.
- Dirty Cop: The corrupt police ring on the payroll of a Mafia boss in "Wettlauf gegen die Zeit". Also in "Geliebter Feind". Also, Chief Engelhardt's ex-lover in "Der Verrat", and Nina's father in "Einsame Entscheidung". And the retired first Cobra 11 duo in "1983".
- Alex Brandt's backstory revolves around this: his former chief set him up and sent him to prison on false drug charges to cover a group of corrupt police officers playing together with a drug ring.
- Discontinuity Nod: At the end of "Turbo & Tacho", the titular police cadets joke that after graduating from police school, they might join the Autobahn cops and become "Cobra 12", to which Semir replies in disdain: "we already had that...", referring to the ill-received and very short-lived Spin-Off series, ''Einsatz für Team 2" (aka "Use for Team 2").
- Domestic Abuse: Featured in episodes such as "Zivilcourage" and "Hasen und Igel;" Laura in "Lauras Entscheidung" arranged her disappearance to escape this.
- Double-Meaning Title: "Alte Schule" ("Old School"). Semir investigates the murder of one of the teachers from his old high school; because his usual partner (Chris Ritter) is in the hospital, he's paired up with an older officer (Diether Bonrath) who does things the "old school" way.
- Eating the Eye Candy: Tom Kranich, Jan Richter, and Ben Jäger often do this, occasionally accompanied by Semir.
- Susanne and Jenny whenever Ben takes off his shirt.
- Eco-Terrorist: The bad guys in "Revolution".
- Everybody Owns a Ford:
- Averted, different brands are used. And to take it literally, the main characters' cars are not Fords, even though they work for the cops in the city where Ford of Germany is based, even though the series producers have made use of the Ford Mondeo as a standard patrol car since 2017.
- Played straight with BMW sponsoring many cars. Aside from the 3-Series, BMW showcased several brand new cars and bikes in episodes. Examples are the X1 in "Das Ende der Welt;" the 5-Series in "Revolution," "Lackschäden," and "Zwischen Leben und Tod;" the X5 in "Tote kehren nicht zurück" and "Verhängnisvolle Nacht;" and the i8 in "Tricks" and "Happy Birthday."
- Mercedes-Benz has also had its fair share of product placement; the Mercedes-AMG GT used in "Cobra, übernehmen Sie," the SLK in "Blackout" and "Alleingang," and the ML-Class in "Rhein in Flammen" and "Operation Hiob," to name a few.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: And so is every truck, bus, trolley, railroad car, and building in the Federal Republic of Germany. Who knew Mercedes-Benzes blow up that easily?
- Exactly What I Aimed At: In "Die Leibwächter", the sniper kills one of the bodyguards of a rich Middle Eastern businessman. Everyone thinks it was a missed shot and an accident, but later it turns out the bodyguard was the actual target all along.
- Fair Cop: Andrea Schäfer, Petra Schubert, Susanne König, Jenny Dorn, and Susanna von Landitz from "Team 2" are all young and attractive. Tom Kranich, Jan Richter, Chris Ritter, Ben Jäger, Paul Renner, Dana Wenger and Finn Bartels aren't at all bad looking, either.
- Fat and Skinny: "Hotte" Herzberger and Dieter Bonrath.
- Flashed-Badge Hijack: With the amount of pursuits that happen, this occurs nearly every week.
- Subverted in "Revolution," where Semir yells at a passing driver to get out of his truck. At gunpoint.
- Again in "Verhängnisvolle Nacht," when Paul simply yanks one from his car.
- Forgotten Anniversary: In "Feindliche Übernahme", Semir forgets his first wedding anniversary, but Tom covers up for him.
- Girl of the Week: While Semir is married (or divorced) during most of series, his partners often get involved with a Temporary Love Interest. This is especially true to Tom Kranich and Ben Jäger.
- Girls Like Musicians: Ben Jäger, of course.
- Heroes Love Dogs: In his very first scene of his first episode, Semir rescues a stray dog. In "Falsche Freundschaft", he adopts a basset hound named Johannes, who was retired from the police.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Semir with Tom Kranich and later with Ben Jäger.Tom: I wonder... if I were lying there [in a hospital bed in a coma], who'd be sitting at my bedside.
Semir: Well... me.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Ben Jäger was introduced in season 24 (12 years into the show), but soon became a fan favorite character.
- Idiot Savant: Félix Krause, the child genius with Hollywood Autism in "Genies unter sich".
- Impressive Pyrotechnics: From all the Stuff Blowing Up, with a particular fondness for exploding tank trucks.
- Instant Convertible: At the beginning of the "Die Braut" episode, a drowsy driver crashes his truck in front of Semir's car and he is unable to stop before the impact of the trailer rips off the roof.Semir: My car!
Ben: You always wanted a convertible.
- Instant Death Bullet: Almost every last-minute rescue has this. Even when it's not the two detectives making the kill shot (e.g. "Lockdown," when ex-attorney Sander is put down).
- Interclass Friendship: Semir who grew up in the slums as the child of Turkish immigrants and Ben the son of a millionaire.
- It's Personal:
- Semir, when pursuing Tom Kranich's killer in "Auf Leben und Tod", when trying to bring Chris Ritter's to justice in "Auf eigene Faust," when his illegitimate daughter, Dana, is kidnapped in Brussels in "Auf eigene Gefahr," and when someone steals his father's remains in "Happy Birthday." In the latter half of "Ausgelöscht," he beats the murderer of Dieter Bonrath to so much of a pulp that he has to be held back by Alex in order to not beat him to death.
- Also, Tom Kranich in "Doppelter Alptraum"; Horst in "Alte Freunde."
- It Was There I Swear: Happens to Ben Jäger in "Das Komplott" when he witnesses a mysterious murder in the neighboring apartment.
- Also happens to Bonrath in "Fieber", when he witnesses a murder in a car park, but everyone thinks he had a fever dream or a hallucation due to medicine side effects.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique and Truth Serums: In "Auf eigene Gefahr", in Brussels, Semir and Alex hijack an ambulance carrying a man involved in kidnapping of Semir's daughter Dana. Alex then proceeds to drive the ambulance through Brussels, while Semir injects the suspect with adrenaline, to make him confess where Dana is. All that while they're pursued by the Belgian police.
- Just Keep Driving: Almost in every episode the main characters overtake several cars while shooting at the bad guys or doing other dangerous stuff. But when the hell breaks loose and everyone crashes, cars that were overtaken before also crash into the pileup, which makes one wonder, why didn't they stop when they saw someone shooting?
- In a subversion, Tom Kranich's first episode's main conflict is that the car he and a few other people (including a baby) are in cannot stop.
- The Lab Rat: Hartmut Freund, the Kripo Autobahn's CSU consultant.
- Ladykiller in Love: Ben Jäger, who previously never had a relationship longer than three or four months, falls in love with Nina in season 34. Eventually, she is the main reason Ben leaves the police force - after almost killing her in the line of duty, he doesn't want his job endanger his One True Love.
- Lampshade Hanging:
"We're in the autobahn police; shouldn't we take it to the autobahn?"
- In nearly every episode, at least one Dienstwagen (official vehicle)—usually Semir's 3-series BMW or his partner's E-Class Mercedes—is demolished. In later seasons, the show has begun lampshading this:
- In the episode "Im Aus," Kim Krüger, the new Chefin (precinct captain), on her first meeting with Semir, berates him for wrecking so many Dienstwagen.
- In "Babyalarm", Kim Krüger sends Semir and Ben to a health clinic in the countyside and tells them, "You're not going to wreck any cars this week".
- In an Affectionate Parody of CSI and other criminal shows, made by the same program, Semir and his partner are seen at a fast food stand with Semir announcing "Hey, this is the first time we didn't wreck our car!". Cue the movies Chase Scene to happen right there and subsequently, crashing into their car.
- There's a promo in which Semir calls the Chefin to request a new Dienstwagen. Hilarity Ensues.
- Finn Bartels makes a titular play in "Das B-Team."
- In nearly every episode, at least one Dienstwagen (official vehicle)—usually Semir's 3-series BMW or his partner's E-Class Mercedes—is demolished. In later seasons, the show has begun lampshading this:
- Law of Conservation of Detail : If there's a car pulling a trailer and a tanker truck with hazmat placards in an Establishing Shot of the Autobahn: There will be a crash, a vehicle will crash through the trailer, and the tanker truck will explode.
- Let Off by the Detective: In "Schmölders Traum", Tom and Semir let the homeless Schmölder flee with the money he found, so he and his daughter can sail to Canada and start a new life.
- The same happens in "Und... Action!", when Semir and Ben let Schillinger keep the money he stole from the gangsters, to pay his debts and save his family from being evicted.
- In "Heinrich und Paul", Semir and Jan allow retired con man Heinrich to flee prosecution, although they take back most of the money he stole from the race track.
- Licensed Game: Several video games based on the series have been made, under the name "Crash Time."
- The Main Characters Do Everything: Semir and his partners do patrol duty on the Autobahn, and also detective work investigating crimes, as well as interrogating the suspects and other tasks.
- Meaningful Background Event: In any in-the-car scene where the camera is looking at Semir and his partner through the windshield, watch the traffic in the rear window. You'll often see a plot development coming up behind them.
- Mexican Standoff: In "Schmölders Traum", occurred between three cars running doorhandle-to-doorhandle at freeway speed.
- Miscarriage of Justice: Alex Brandt spent two years in jail because he was falsely convicted for drug possession. (His cellmate was also falsely convicted, but for an entire different case, the murder of his girlfriend.)
- Mistaken for Cheating: "Unter Verdacht," in which Semir is framed for murder and made to look unfaithful in one fell swoop.
- In "Die Leibwächter" both Semir and Andrea suspect the other is cheating, and it turns out false in both cases.
- Monumental Battle: Urban action sequences often have the Cologne Cathedral or Rhine river bridges in the background. In "Kein Weg zurück", there is a chase sequence involving the Dortmund "H-Bahn" monorail◊.
- Mr. Fanservice: Ben Jäger. For a while, fans were begging for him to come back. He did, although for just one episode.
- Mystery Magnet: Semir and his colleagues, sometimes to a riduculous extent.
- For example, in "Das Aupairgirl" a Brazilian drug lord's daughter flees to Germany to save her undercover cop boyfriend. On the plane, she switches places with the random girl sitting next to her, who by all chance, happens to be the babysitter hired by Semir.
- In "Das Komplott", Ben moves to a quiet downtown apartment to recover from his injuries, and - guess what - witnesses a murder in the apartment in front of his own.
- In "Das Ende der Welt", Semir and Ben just happen to be hiking nearby when a conspiracy theorist reporter is murdered by thugs.
- In "Himmelfahrtskommando", an injured criminal seeks refuge in the same church where Semir's daughter is due to be baptized.
- Naïve Newcomer: Jenny Dorn when she is assigned to the Autobahn police.
- Negative Continuity: In his first episode, Semir says he grew up in Turkey, however later episodes established that he grew up in Germany as the son of Turkish immigrants.
- Never Found the Body: When Andre Fux get harpooned Semir could not retrieve his body but everyone assumes he's dead because Semir saw the whole thing. Sure enough, he was only badly wounded and was found and saved by a fisherman.
- Non-Idle Rich: Ben Jäger is the son of a millionaire, but he chose to work as a cop and help the people instead of enjoying the family wealth (much to the disappointment of his father).
- No OSHA Compliance: One episode showed an abandoned factory in which no one apparently ever bothered to drain the propane tanks or remove the hazmat inventory.
- Not What It Looks Like: In "Die Leibwächter", when Andrea sees Semir stepping into a hotel room where a nice-looking lady is waiting for him. But it's strictly professional business, despite what it looks like.
- A similar situation happens in "Wilde Tiere", when the couple are already separated, and Andrea sees Semir with a woman, falsely thinking he found a girlfriend.
- Old Cop, Young Cop: Semir and his initial partners were roughly the same age, but as years (and decades) went by, he gradually aged while getting new and younger partners. Ben Jäger was 12 years his junior, Alex Brandt 13, Paul Renner 18, and his current partner, Vicky Reisinger 23.
- Once an Episode: The big Chase Scene, with cars crashing and flying through the air and Impressive Pyrotechnics from all the Stuff Blowing Up.
- Opening Narration:
- The opening titles of the first 158 episodes (1996-2006) had the following:Ihr Revier ist die Autobahn (Their precinct is the Autobahn)
Ihr Tempo ist mörderisch (They work at break-neck speed)
Ihre Gegner: Autoschieber, Mörder und Erpresser (They're up against car thieves, burglars, and extortionists)
Einsatz rund um die Uhr für die Männer von Cobra 11 (They're on call around the clock, the men of Cobra 11)
Unsere Sicherheit ist ihr Job (Our safety is their job).
- During episodes 159-243 (2007-2012), the opening narration was:Ihr Revier ist die Autobahn (Their precinct is the Autobahn)
Ihr Einsatz heißt: volles Tempo (Their mission: Full speed)
Ihre Gegner von heute: extrem schnell und gefährlich (Their enemies today: Extremely fast and dangerous)
Verbrechen ohne Limit Jeder Einsatz volles Risiko (Crimes without limit every job at full risk)
für die Männer von Cobra 11 (For the men of Cobra 11).
- During episodes 244-261 (2013-2014), 268 (2014) and 285 (2015) the opening narration was:Ihr Revier ist die Autobahn. (Their precinct is the Autobahn)
Ihre Gegner: extrem schnell und gefährlich. (Their enemies: Extremely quick and dangerous)
Verbrechen ohne Limit. (Crimes without limit)
Jeder Einsatz - volles Risiko (Every job: At full risk)
für die Männer von Cobra 11. (For the men of Cobra 11)
- From episodes 262-365 (2014-2019), the opening narration was:Ihr Revier ist die Autobahn. (Their precinct is the Autobahn)
Ihre Gegner: extrem schnell und gefährlich. (Their enemies: Extremely quick and dangerous)
Verbrechen ohne Limit (Crimes without limit)
Volles Risiko (Extremely risky)
für die Männer von Cobra 11. (for the men of Cobra 11)
- Since episode 366 (2020-), there is none. Probably because Semir's new partner is a woman.
- The opening titles of the first 158 episodes (1996-2006) had the following:
- Outrun the Fireball: "Schmöders Traum" and "Um jeden Preis" feature scenes where Semir barely backs out of a tunnel to avoid an explosion; "Der Anschlag" features him and Ben running away from one to cover from what's basically a heavily-condensed nuke.
- Papa Wolf: Semir in "Auf eigene Gefahr", when his illegitimate daughter Dana is kidnapped in Brussels. With total disregard for all international laws, Semir travels to Belgium all by himself and gets occasionally in trouble with the Belgian police to rescue his daughter.
- In fact, "72 Stunden Angst", the episode where Dana was introduced, has her kidnapped by the drug cartel with which her stepfather was involved. Semir, along with Ben, pursues them all the way to Turkey to save her.
- Plucky Comic Relief: The Dieter Bonrath and "Hotte" Herzberger duo.
- Prison Episode: "Hetzjagd" and "Die Gejagten".
- Pulled from Your Day Off: Happens frequently to Semir and his partners.
- Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Happens very often, Semir is a master of these situations.
- Put on a Bus: Several:
- Frank Stolte after "Endstation für alle". Also a case of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome as he disappeared inadvertently. Until The Bus Came Back 300 episodes later in "Risiko".
- Tom Kranich leaves the force in "Abschied" after his pregnant girlfriend was killed in a car bomb meant for him. He then returned two years later in "Comeback".
- Jan Richter after "Extrem". Also same as Frank Stolte, minus that he hasn't returned yet.
- Ben Jäger leaves for Hollywood to start his singing career in "Einsame Entscheidung", with a guitar signed by his teammates.
- Alex Brandt/Rickert leaves for Brazil to find his mother, after his father is killed in "Windspiel".
- Paul Renner decides to leave the Autobahn Police in "Brautalarm" to care for his demented father in New Zealand, and finally sets sail in "Vermächtnis"
- Recycled Script and Better by a Different Name: The Season 4 (production order) (or 7 in broadcast order) opener "Höllenfahrt auf der A4" features pretty much the same story as 1997 TV movie Runaway Car starring Judge Reinhold. After a young woman in a Mercedes accidentally hits Tom, who is biking to work, with her Mercedes, she offers him a ride, but on the Autobahn at 160 km/h, the car's brakes suddenly fail with no way of stopping it. However, while the original TV movie was largely a fluke and Reinhold named it one of the worst movies he had ever done, the episode is often considered to be one of the best in the series.
- Retcon: Many flashbacks, especially those to ca. 1995-1998. Back in the day, the series were filmed in Berlin-Brandenburg area. Especially many at the beginning of "Cobra, übernehmen Sie!" aired April 7, 2016:
- In a flashback to April 7, 1996, Semir suddenly has a beard and is wearing a black leather jacket, neither of which he had in the 1996 episodes (Season 1).
- Also, he calls for Andrea on the radio, except in 1996, Andrea wasn't working at Cobra 11 yet.
- He drives a silver BMW 328i (E36) with license plate NE-DR 8231, a license plate featured in his BMWs from season 3 to 11 (in production order, 5 to 21 in airing order). He did drive the BMW E36 in Season 1, albeit it was black with license plate HVL-S 199, later silver and with license plate B-PV 185.
- The license plates bring us back to the fact that the early season were filmed in Berlin area. In Germany, the first 1-3 letters of license plates before the vehicle safety test and regisration seal stickers indicate where the car is registered. NE is reserved for Rhein-Kreis NEuss, a district (Landkreis) directly to the south of Düsseldorf (and north of Köln in NRW). Meanwhile, B is reserved for Berlin, and HVL means HaVeLland, a Landkreis directly to the west of Berlin.
- Road Block. Most cases, these end up in vehicular carnage (watch "Unter Feuer," "Die dunkle Seite).
- Runaway Train: Played straight in "Endstation."
- Screaming Woman: Russian undercover cop Natalia, while hanging from the back of a commercial van in "Liebesgrüße aus Moskau."
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Done often by Semir and his partners. Curiously, they never seem to get any repercussion for it.
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: "Operation Hiob" is an interesting aversion of this trope. When the gorgeous, rich and highly intelligent Doctor Marlies Eisner falls for plucky cop Dieter Bonrath, everyone, including the viewer thinks she is pulling him, and must be up to something. Even Dieter himself gets convinced of that eventually. However, as it turns out, Marlies genuinely loves him, and as she has terminal cancer, wants to spend the rest of her days with an honest, caring man.
- Shout-Out: "Rhein in Flammen" featured what might be called a "Miami Vice tribute montage," complete with the theme music.
- Skeleton Key Card: Autobahnpolizei ID cards seem to be quite useful for this.
- Slo-Mo Big Air: With all the wrecks that happen on this show, and all the cars that somehow reach new heights.
- Spin-Off: A spin-off series titled "Alarm für Cobra 11 - Einsatz für Team 2" (aka "Use for Team 2") was launched in 2003, however, it only ran for two seasons and 11 episodes (in contrast with the original show which has 300+ episodes).
- Required Spinoff Crossover: Semir and Tom Kranich appeared in the pilot of "Team 2", while Andrea Schäfer, Anna Engelhardt, Dieter Bonrath and "Hotte" Herzberger made frequent appearances on the show.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Tom Kranich, Chris Ritter, and Ben Jäger.
- Tank Goodness: The stolen Leopard 2 main battle tank in "Ein Leopard läuft Amok."
- Terrible Pick-Up Lines: Ben Jäger tries a terrible (but funny) pick-up line on Kim Krüger when they first meet, much to her inconvenience. The next day Ben is shocked to find that she is actually his new boss.
- "The Reason You Suck"Speech: Partially averted in "Vermächtnis." Semir's berating of Kim Krüger at her grave (over a grudge that has lasted through the latter half of the episode's season) ends when a passerby offers him a flower, which he respectfully, and somberly, passes to his former chief.
- There's No Kill like Overkill: The first big action sequence in "Auf eigene Faust." A police convoy carrying a key witness to the courthouse is shot up by associates of the organized crime boss on trial—using attack helicopters.
- Tone Shift: In the first ten years or so the tone was basically the same: high adrenaline action with spectaular chase scenes, fun romps and buddy cup humor. When Tom Kranich died and Chris Ritter came in, the tone became slightly darker and more serious. However, in the Ben Jäger years, the series got more comedic than ever, with deliberately over-the-top action scenes. With Ben's departure and the arrival of Alex Brandt, the tone became a lot Darker and Edgier and episodes featured much less car chases and more drama. A large portion of the audience disliked the change (and still hoped for Ben's return), so the producers fired Vinzenz Kiefer (Alex) and got Paul Renner as Semir's partner, who was much closer to Ben's personality. Cue Daniel Roesner (Paul) leaving three years after, and we're back to the grittiness that Chris and Alex brought.
- Translation Convention: The Japanese cult members in "Das Ende der Welt", the Brazilian mobsters in "Das Aupairgirl", and the American cops in "Der Wettkampf" converse in perfect German even when they're among themselves.
- Averted in "Die letzte Nacht" where the bad guys speak Romanian (subtitled in German).
- Subverted and averted in "Vendetta," where both cases happen within an Albanian mafia.
- Treasure Map: "Die schwarze Madonna", a charming mash-up of Indiana Jones and The Maltese Falcon on the Autobahn with ninjas and Stuff Blowing Up!
- Undercover Cop Reveal: Happens quite often.
- Cleverly averted in "Das Kartell", where the Girl of the Week appears to be the bad guy's henchwoman, but is revealed to be an undercover cop... then revealed to be a former undercover cop turned criminal, who is the actual boss running the crime operation.
- Also in "Auferstehung", where André Fux claims he's an undercover agent, but is later revealed to be on a private vendetta quest to avenge the death of his wife and daughter.
- Under the Truck: Often done during pursuits. All the more impressive is that it's often done with a car.
- Vacation Episode: The feature-length episode (and season 30 premiere) "72 Stunde Angst" takes place and was filmed in Istanbul, Turkey.
- Season 44's opening episode, "Most Wanted" takes place and was filmed in Budapest, Hungary.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Dieter Bonrath and "Hotte" Herzberger.
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: Happens in "Highspeed", when Klaus Weller shows off a spectacular way to propose to his girlfriend Tina; he drives down the highway at 230 km an hour with a fake license plate on the car and wearing a rubber pig mask, a climbs out the car's sunroof and perches on the top of the vehicle, pulling back his jacket to reveal a T-shirt with the message in German "Tina, do you want to marry me?" Of course, this causes a spectacular traffic pileup behind Klaus, but he gets away with it unscathed.
- Western Terrorists: Played straight in "Engel des Todes;" subverted in "Das Ende der Welt," where the baddies are based in Japan.
- Wet Blanket Wife: Andrea, who constantly tries to convince Semir to leave his dangerous job and spend more time at home with his family. Of course, it's completely futile. Eventually, she divorces him because of this (but they re-marry a few years later).
- When All You Have Is a Hammer : The resolution to most episodes seems to require a high-speed chase down the nearest Autobahn.
- With My Hands Tied: In "Hals- und Beinbruch", Semir nearly defeats a bad guy in hand-to-hand combat despite having one leg in a cast.
- Word Salad Title: Averted. It may look like one without the umlaut, but it merely translates as "Emergency for Cobra 11".
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Happens often to people who help the villain(s)-of-the-week. (examples: "Das Komplott", "Das Ende der Welt", "Zerbrochen", "Operation Hiob", etc...)
- You Have to Believe Me!: In "Das Ende der Welt", Sturmi uncovers a plot by a Japanese Apocalypse Cult to unleash a deadly virus and kill most of the world population. Of course, when he reports it, everyone thinks he's crazy - it doesn't help his case that he's a conspiracy theory nut, who bumbles endlessly about secret worldwide plots whole day long.
- You Look Familiar: Several cases:
- Daniela Wutte played a guest role as a criminal's girlfriend in the 2006 episode "Der letzte Coup", one year before she got cast as series regular Susanne König.
- Vinzenz Kiefer guested as a troubled youth in 2009's "Bruderliebe", five years before he landed in the co-starring role of Alex Brandt.
- Daniel Roesner appeared as police trainee "Tacho" in "Turbo & Tacho" and "Turbo & Tacho Reloaded" in 2010 and 2011 respectively, and got cast as Paul Renner in 2016.