Every city has its basic narrative. The one from which everything can be explained. The ones you need to know before you move.
For a good fifty years, that of Cologne can be roughly summarized as follows (translation follows): "What's going on, / That one thing is clear, / That's the most beautiful thing I've had, / For all these long years, / Is our Veedel, / Because he keeps me together, / Whatever fits, / In our Veedel."
In a nutshell - the Bläck Fööss and all Cologne residents may forgive me - this idyllic poem means: Whatever happens - the district will stick together. Because the district is home.
The home construction of a city of millions, which consists of hundreds of quarters. With corner pubs. With Everyone Knows Everyone. And everyone knows everything about everyone. Where everyone is real friends. And real friends, excuse me, friends, stick together. That's how it is in Cologne.
Of course it's smut. Cologne's neighborhoods can also burn. Even under the cobbles of Cologne there is no beach, but a permanently blazing ember. Why should it be different around the Eigelstein than around the Kreuzberg.
However, there is precious little of it to see. At least in the quarter of a century in which the "Tatort" inspectors Ballauf and Schenk are investigating in the streets of the cathedral city.
The fact that everything is on fire now with "protective measures" and that Weidengasse is glowing with torches is a great start. The fact that right-wingers are marching up, black hooded people throw Mollis and shout “We are the people” shouldn’t lure you down the wrong path. "Protective Measures" is not a standard Antifa "crime scene", as it was a rather rare exception in the past Sunday evening crime film year.
"Protection Measures", written by Thuringian-born Paul Salisbury (whom a case of "Soko Köln" identifies as a local color expert), staged by Bremen-born Nina Vukovic, dives deep and equipped with fairly bright analysis light into the amazingly authentic, lively, but above all rather cloudy sociotope named Veedel.
And of all people, the easy-going Freddy Schenk, in whose endlessly wide coat Dietmar Bär quite often shows symptoms of being understrained, is catapulted out of his comfort zone as soon as he arrives in Weidengasse in his Chrysler the day after the riots.
In front of the door of the up-and-coming but now completely burned out multicultural kitchen shop called "Wunderlampe", which his daughter runs. The daughter who turns up in the "Tatort" once in a blue moon, which is also an issue in this case, but only by the way.
A dead man lies in the middle of the "wonder lamp". First beaten, then burned. You could see him in the prologue, standing there with the Molli in his hand. And you could see Sonja and her family, who were acting kind of funny at dinner. And a Turkish woman listening anxiously to what is going on in the streets.
Quite elegantly, Salisbury wears off layer after layer of the sticky Veedel cliché varnish in sub- and side stories. That not everyone knows everything about the other, not even allowed to know. That not everyone is friends with each other. That Germany's mafia does not necessarily have to come from southern Italy and that organic Germans are excellent at taking over entire areas through fear and terror.
That there is definitely xenophobia, even if there are no more foreigners, because everyone has been living together for decades, better: side by side. That violence is growing everywhere, in every house, on every corner. Because there are secrets, secrecy, guilt and little atonement. That the Veedel is not the most beautiful thing that everyone has on the Eigelstein.
That everything in the Veedel is as potentially murderous as anywhere in the country. Instead of a halo, a somewhat hazy light turns Cologne into a pretty dodgy area. Looks very true, feels amazingly true.