24 December 2014 | t_atzmueller
The Austrian answer to Inspector Clouseau
By that, I don't mean that "Kottan ermittelt" (eng: "Kottan investigates") has tried to emulate or copy Blake Edwards cult-films. But there are similarities, that are often plain eerie. Major Kottan (played throughout the series by three different actors, first being tragic Peter Vogel, in three episodes by Franz Buchrieser and later still, perhaps in the most popular incarnation, by Lukas Resetarits) is a Major – the running gag is that "there is no Inspector Kottan" – with the Viennese police, specialized in solving murders. Dependent on the actor, Kottan is either a melancholic misanthrope (Vogel), a cynic (Buchrieser) or a anarchistic nihilist (Resetarits). Kottan lives with his nagging wife and mother, who seems preoccupied to read pulp-fiction crime novellas. Despite being generally lazy, Kottan solves various crimes with the help of his incompetent assistant Schrammel (Curth Anatol Tichy) and the one-legged Schremser (Walter Davy). Kottans nemesis is his boss, police-president Pilch (Harald von Koeppelle, later Kurt Weinzierl), who has elements of a megalomaniac, a phobia of flies, fights a hopeless fight against a coffee-dispenser (that Kottan had installed in the office) and seemingly seems to drift evermore toward insanity.
Having seen my fair share of TV-shows, few have I seen that went through such distinct metamorphosis like "Kottan ermittelt". Originally envisioned as a straight police-drama, the stories quickly took a turn toward the satirical, eventually becoming somewhat of a anarchistic slapstick-comedy. The earliest viewers didn't exactly know where to place this show; some (mainly policemen) even criticized, that "Kottan" depicted the police either as buffoons, nihilistic misanthropes or maniacs. But that soon came to pass and today you'd be hard-pressed to find an Austrian household where "Kottan ermittelt" isn't known or considered a cult-series, second only to "Ein Echter Wiener geht nicht unter". If one had to compare it to an American show, "Sledge Hammer" might come to mind, although "Kottan" seems far less scripted, going more into the direction of anarchistic cabaret. In short, you'd never know what to expect from the next episode, apart from the running-gags themselves, which likewise have gained cult-notoriety.
It is difficult to rate such a diverse TV-show, but if we're talking about satirical, Austrian TV, "Kottan" surely stands somewhere between a 8/10 and (for the fans) a straight 10.