Hamburg, March 14, 2016 We are deeply saddened and cannot believe it. With Carlo Rola we lose a great friend and one of our most important directors. We were together in the preparations of our next Katie Forde adaptations. In three weeks, the first take was to be shot in New York. Carlo was a passionate person who loved and enjoyed life. Intelligent, humorous, approachable, charming. With his eye for the deeply human, he was able to move, carry away and entertain audiences with his films. We owe him many great successes. First and foremost, the film adaptations of the novels by Elisabeth Herrmann with Jan Josef Liefers as lawyer Vernau, which he made into great audience successes: Das Kindermädchen, Der Mann ohne Schatten, Die 7. Stunde and, last but not least, perhaps the greatest success in 2014 – Die letzte Instanz.
Content of “Die letzte Instanz”: Mysterious murder attempt in front of the Berlin district court: It is bitterly cold in these first days of March when pensioner Margarethe Altenburg (Gudrun Ritter) tries to shoot homeless man Hans-Jörg Hellmer (Udo Samel). The man is able to escape unharmed.
Margarethe Altenburg was visiting Berlin with her church group. Is she confused? Or is she a cold-blooded murderer? Still on the scene, lawyer Joachim Vernau (Jan Josef Liefers) takes over Margarethe Altenburg’s defense – and travels to her hometown of Görlitz to retrieve her personal belongings from her apartment.
The innocuous trip to Görlitz turns into a shocking encounter for Vernau with the old woman’s past – and the repercussions of the post-reunification era in East Germany.
Shortly thereafter, Margarethe Altenburg dies. The attractive prosecutor Salome Noack (Katharina Müller-Elmau) closes the case. When Hellmer returns to Vernau a few days later, the situation changes dramatically. He feels persecuted by a man he calls the “Gray.” Vernau takes him to safety with his mother (Elisabeth Schwarz) before informing the CID.
With the help of his colleague Marie-Luise (Stefanie Stappenbeck) and the court reporter Alttay (Rolf Kanies), Vernau now feverishly searches for clues in the man’s past life. Although the perpetrator and the victim did not know each other, there must be a connection.
Too late – Hellmer dies under mysterious circumstances. And only after massive pressure from Vernau is an autopsy ordered. The result is that the homeless man was indeed murdered in cold blood. For Vernau it is clear that this is no coincidence, but the beginning of a brutal series of murders. The Görlitz Bible Circle, an eye for an eye, who else is involved in the murders? How many more victims are on the list of the unknown avengers?
But no one believes him. So Vernau investigates on his own: The suspicious trail goes far back into the time after the reunification, when the liquidators of the Treuhand “invaded Lower Lusatia like a horde of Huns”. Guilt is measurable, Vernau has to learn, it has a weight that does not get lighter through the years. The threads come together at the Berlin Regional Court. With Salome Noack, with whom Vernau runs the risk of losing not only his heart, but also his head.
Die letzte Instanz” was produced by Network Movie, Jutta Lieck-Klenke. The producers are Jutta Lieck-Klenke and Dietrich Kluge. Daniel Blum is the editor at ZDF.