Lustless “bomb business”: That was the Cologne crime scene

Lustless “bomb business”
:That was the Cologne crime scene

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  • Anne Burgmer

Crime scene bomb shop

Maiwald senior (Ralph Herforth, l) and his son Joachim Maiwald (Adrian Topol) work at the ordnance clearance service.



The case

Duds from the Second World War are a big problem in Cologne. Again and again, they come to light during construction work. In the new “crime scene” from Cologne the demolition champion Peter Krmer was killed in the removal of an already disarmed bomb.

Everything pointed first to an accident, but then it turned out that the explosion had been triggered by a modern hand grenade.

The resolution

Max Ballauf (Klaus J. Behrendt) and Freddy Schenk (Dietmar Br) had to clarify who has the popular experts on their conscience. And there were many suspects: Sascha Feichdinger (Thomas Darchinger), for example, who, like Krmer, wanted to buy a house in a new construction project.

But Krmer had been awarded the contract – and then for unexplained reasons, resigned from the purchase. And that’s where the solution of the case lay. Krmer had discovered that Joachim Maiwald (Adrian Topol), junior manager of the company where he worked, had written a fake appraisal for the site of the new settlement.

He had certified to the contractor that the site was free of bombs, which did not correspond to the facts. To conceal the fraud, Maiwald Kramer killed.

The topic

Cologne was bombed 262 times in the Second World War from the air – as often and as hard as hardly any other German city. And not every explosive device exploded. In total, a bomb load of 650,000 tonnes is said to have fallen on NRW. If you want to build in the city of Cologne, you must therefore provide proof of the freedom of ordnance in the ground.

With aerial photographs from the war it is examined whether impact craters are to be found. These images keep the district governments under wraps, also to prevent laymen looking for World War II ammunition. The ordnance disposal experts move out about 20 times a year for a bomb. No one knows how many duds still lie in the Cologne soil. The topic was well chosen.


Author and director Thomas Stiller has written a classic whodunit thriller with “bomb business”. It was about love, jealousy, betrayal, crooked business, father-son problems. There were many suspects, who were gradually excluded as perpetrators until at the end only one left. “My aim was to tell the story in such a way that the viewers have no informational advantage over the commissioners,” says Stiller.

“They should discover together with Ballauf and Schenk and puzzle who was involved in the act.” That could have been exciting, but unfortunately it was not for long stretches. Because the story was too frayed, had no twists or breaks, eventually drew a lot. And the two investigators seemed somehow listless.