‘The Undertaker’ (Der Bestattler)

By: 
John Thomas
The small Swiss community of Aarau doesn’t have its own emergency vehicle. Hence, to collect and transport bodies-in-need, the local mortician, Luc Conrad (Mike Müller), is called. The latter owns both the mortuary and a shiny black 70s Mercedes Benz hearse complete with a pine scented air freshener dangling from its rear-view mirror. 
 
He usually accompanies a police vehicle to the scene of a crime. Before becoming himself the suspect in a murder investigation, Luc was a detective with the Aarau PD. The accusation of murder forced him to leave the department and take over the family mortuary business, The Conrad Institute. Along with the business he inherited his father’s trusted assistant, Ericka (Suly Röthlisberger).
 
Luc needs to hire his own assistant, though, someone who can help him move heavier bodies when necessary. The most intriguing candidate is young Fabio (Reto Stalder), who appears for the interview wearing a black goth outfit and lots of dark eyeliner. Fabio is not sure if he wants to be a gardener or a mortician. Luc feels a mortician is both, so hires him on the spot. 
 
A former colleague, who replaced Luc in the police department, is Anna-Maria (Barbara Terpoorten). She relies on Luc’s skilled investigative eyes. There are no hard feeling between them after his leaving the department under troublesome circumstances. A body was found in the kitchen of a local restaurant. Anna-Marie called him to meet her at the scene of the crime.
 
A kitchen helper is found in a pool of blood and broken eggshells on the kitchen floor of the restaurant. As there are no signs of a struggle, the only explanation for her death is she slipped on the slick floor and struck her head on the tiles. Luc is not convinced as the soles of her shoes are dry. 
 
Anna-Marie begins her investigation with the help of the two other mortuary staff who each have their own insights. Gossiping around, Ericka finds there are two men in town who are sexually attracted to her. One of the men owns the restaurant where she works and the other one owns a butcher shop. Fabio finds the two men competitors for the woman’s attention, going so far as to fight over her in public. Luc discovers that the woman is pregnant. 
 
The two men are prime suspects in the investigation, until one of them is found dead. Now, with two murders to investigate the search for “the who done it” widens. More interviews are needed as more people are added to the suspect list. The wife of the butcher shop owner is implicated as she wants to change her life by selling the shop and moving away–with or without her husband. 
 
The wife of the restaurant owner may know of the pregnancy and think her husband could be the father of the child. Underhanded business dealings of the part of both men bring a criminal element into the investigation. 
 
Luc and Anna-Marie have their hands full as they move from one criminal investigation to the next. In following episodes more secrets and developments take place in Aarau. Ericka reveals her real relationship with Luc’s father. Fabio has formed a goth rock band and Anna-Marie’s feelings for Luc are as strong as ever. 
 
The black Mercedes continues roaming the Swiss countryside with the ever-present air freshener swaying in the windshield. 
 
This is a “should see” production.
 

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