Alright, I have a confession to make. I am totally addicted to 112 Emergency. It is possibly the most awful soap-opera-dressed-up-as-an-emergency-show ever to grace the small screen, but it is so bad that it is good…and the soap opera side of it has improved significantly of late.
The show is basically a drama series about a fictional “joint co-operative unit” of police, ambulance and fire brigade personnel in Düsseldorf, Germany. The show only lasted on series in Germany, but appears to have been a nightly show as it has about a hundred episodes. I get the distinct impression that the writers knew ahead of time that the show was being axed as they appear to have written a show which should compellingly tie up all of the loose ends in tonight’s final episode.
The main plot at the moment revolves around the corrupt station manager Nils Sellman who replaced, on a temporary basis, Martin Carstens when he fell in to a coma. Martin’s main enemy was head administrative woman Dr. Kristin Driesen who wanted to run a tight ship with a tight budget, constantly getting in the way of Martin’s plans.
When Sellman came on the scene, he managed to blackmail Dr. Driesen so that she wouldn’t get in the way of his enormous spending. Sellman is being bribed by medical equipment supplier Rhine Rescue to drastically overspend the station’s budget so that the government (aka “the ministry”) will deem the joint co-operative unit a failure and shut it down in favour of separate stations…a move which would apparently result in more sales for Rhine Rescue. In return, Sellman would get a place on the Rhine Rescue board.
Dr. Driesen, seeing through the plan, arranged to get Martin treated in some foreign hospital so that he would come back to work, however Sellman took credit for Martin’s transfer and won the support of the staff by also promoting them and offering them a lot of overtime pay.
Ingo Bender, chief firefighter, also saw through the plan and, after Dr. Driesen disappeared around the time of her miscarriage, became suspicious of all the stuff arriving from the “expensive” Rhine Rescue. He attempted to get station secretary Jenny Sauer (at least I think it’s Jenny) to assist him in uncovering the truth…but as her boyfriend is a police officer and was promoted by Sellman, this was difficult. She eventually came around.
In recent times it has become apparent that Sellman’s accomplice, his secretary Franka Tiefenthal, is being used by Sellman. He has pretended that she is his lover and that he will divorce his wife for her. In truth, he intends on dumping her as soon as the station is shut down. Jenny and Franka hate each other, which has made it hard for Jenny to get any information our of Franka.
In the last few days, Bender, Driesen and Jenny managed to plant a recorder in Sellman’s office, which recorded a conversation he had with the Rhine Rescue salesman, outlining how much he dislikes Franka and his plans for her. This conversation was played to Franka, and she then, after a lot of sobbing, agreed to bring Sellman down by giving Bender, Driesen and Jenny access to the incriminating documents.
Tonight is D-Day. The ministry will shut the co-operative unit down if nothing is done, so tonight our fabulous foursome must somehow get Sellman arrested before the ministry make their decision. There might also be a wedding between a paramedic and one of the other staff…who knows.
Tonight should be enthralling. I know that I won’t miss it for the world. 112 Emergency, SBS Two tonight at 8:30.
Update: I had to bolt earlier as I had already gone over my lunch break by a couple minutes when I published this. I do have a little bit to add.
The show’s emergency scenes are, to say the least, laughable and unrealistic. Nobody (with the exception of a would-be murderer the other night) has ever died on this show and the emergencies always seem to involve some bizarre hocus-pocus field medicine and end up with everyone standing around smiling at each other while the orchestra plays. In fact the show was scolded by medical professionals when it aired in Germany for its incredibly dangerous and wrong depiction of medical procedures…it looks like the writers thought it was science fiction and just made it all up.
I mentioned earlier that the show is based in a fictional joint co-operative unit…and when I said fictional, I meant fictional. It’s not the non-existent police station type of fictional…it’s the “there is no such thing as a joint co-operative unit” type of fictional. This certainly gives the writers more room to make stuff up (such as the blind woman answering every emergency telephone call in Düsseldorf and sending half the town’s emergency personnel to every incident.
Early in the series the acting was so bad that it was funny…now the emergency scenes are so much worse that they are funny.
The other night when the would-be murderer was shot by his victim and died, he was found in a park. The police and ambulance attended (one ambulance with two paramedics plus two police cars with one officer in each). When the paramedics declared the man dead and the police recognised the MO of the crime and wanted the paramedics to come with them to the victim in a nearby house, some other paramedic who looked more like a bush than a person and has never been seen before, suddenly appeared from nowhere, couched over the dead man and agreed to stay with him.
Last night a man dialled 112 simply be taking his phone out of his pocket. The mind reading phones must work well in Düsseldorf.
Station-manager-in-a-coma-induced-exile Martin Carstens has, despite appearing in nothing except the opening titles for about the last month, been at the top of the credits for every single episode.
But my favourite bit of all is something which hasn’t happened much lately as, with Martin out of the picture, Ingo Bender has spent more time at the station and less time out fighting fires (why a fireman fills the duties of a policeman is beyond me, but we won’t go there). It seems that the word for “out” (as an indication that you have finished your radio message) in 112 Emergency German is “ender”. Back when Bender was out fighting fires he would often yell something hysterically in to his radio and then exclaim “Bender ender!”, usually this would happen a few times in the space of a minute.
Alas, tonight, Bender’s show does come to an ender, and I am going to miss it. I think I will have to contact SBS about buying it on DVD. The show is clearly an attempt to steal the format of Third Watch (a show of which I am a huge fan), and is so hysterically funny in its awful attempt to do so…and so mindlessly addictive, that my DVD collection will not be complete without this show.