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TO APRIL 7
“Yankee detectives are always on TV,” griped Joe Strummer almost 26 years ago, but that wasn’t true in Germany. Every Sunday night since 1970—when it was still West Germany—TV viewers in that country have settled in to watch a German cop solve a case in 90 minutes. The ongoing series is called Scene of the Crime; for many years there was also an East German equivalent, Police Call. This retrospective showcases 11 of these TV dramas, eight from Scene of the Crime’s run. This week’s mystery is “The Delicatessen Shop Owner” (at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10), in which a woman’s body is discovered the morning after her neighbor, the owner of a small suburban grocery, allowed her to make a late-night shopping trip. The tale’s underlying assumptions could easily be transplanted to American TV: The uptight, bourgeois deli owner may not be a murderer, but that doesn’t mean he’s a nice guy. Similarly familiar are such episodes as “Death in the Chaffchopper” (pictured, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 10), which dispatches a young, urban, female cop to an isolated rural region to investigate a missing-person case; the local inhabitants are soon revealed as clannish, unfriendly, and menacing. Politics renders at least some of the Police Call episodes more distinctive. In the most interesting of the previewed programs, “The Duel” (at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 2), a dedicated police veteran tries to keep his focus during the chaos and re-evaluations of East Germany’s final days. The series runs to Monday, April 7, at the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes’ Goethe-Forum, 812 7th St. NW. $5. (202) 289ÿ2D1200. (Mark Jenkins)