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|Country of origin||East Germany (1971 – 1990)|
Germany (1990 – present)
|No. of episodes||366 (as of 28 May 2017)|
|Running time||90 Minutes|
|Original network||DFF (1971 – 1990)|
ARD (1990 – present)
Polizeiruf 110 ("Police call 110") is a long-running German-language detective television series. The name links to the emergency telephone number of the Volkspolizei. The first episode was broadcast 27 June 1971 in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and after the dissolution of Deutscher Fernsehfunk the series was picked up by ARD. It was originally created as a counterpart to the West German series Tatort, and quickly became a public favorite.
In contrast with other television crime series, in which killings are practically the primary focus, while Tatort handled homicide cases, the cases handled in the GDR TV's Polizeiruf were more often the more frequent crimes such as domestic violence, extortion, fraud, theft and juvenile delinquency, as well as alcoholism, child abuse and rape. Contrary to Tatort, which concentrated on the primary characters and their private lives, police procedure was the center of attention of Polizeiruf, especially in the earlier episodes. The scriptwriters attached particular importance to representation of the criminal and his state of mind, as well as the context of the crime. Many episodes aimed to teach and enlighten the audience about what does and what doesn't constitute appropriate behaviour and appropriate thought, rather than just to entertain. Polizeiruf was one of the few broadcasts by GDR media in which the real problems and difficulties of the supposedly more advanced socialist society could be displayed and discussed to some extent, albeit in a fictionalized and pedagogicalized environment.
In 1990 the episode "unter Brüdern" was produced as a crossover with the West German Tatort crime series, in which Horst Schimanski coworked with Hauptmann Peter Fuchs and Oberleutnant Thomas Grawe in a case of homicide and smuggle committed by former members of the Stasi.
After the end of the GDR, the series was taken over by the ARD as a franchise similar to the Tatort series. The local members of the ARD produce their own episodes, which are aired from the ARD. So West German settings and West German characters came into the show. Parallel to the Tatort Series the ORF joined the Polizeiruf franchise with own productions. Consequently, those episodes are renamed to Polizeiruf 112 because of the different emergency telephone number in Austria, while the West German emergency call uses the same number as the East German. The ARD's Polizeiruf deals mostly about murders and homicides, the focus has been more on the entertainment rather than any teaching or enlightening, more stress was put on the characters and personal lives of the detectives, and there has been relatively little difference overall between the newer Polizeiruf episodes and the contemporary Tatort episodes; however, the Polizeiruf continues to feature more (post-reunification) East German settings than the Tatort.
A 1974 episode based on the case of serial killer Erwin Hagedorn was banned by the politburo, which feared an uncomfortable public debate about the death penalty. A script and silent tape of the episode, thought lost, were rediscovered in 2009, and the sound was re-dubbed for broadcast with new actors (the episode was aired 23 June 2011 by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk [MDR]).
In 2014, the series was broadcast with English subtitles in the USA on MHz WorldView under the title Bukow and König (2010–2014 episodes).