‘A program like ‘Aktenzeichen XY… unresolved’ always remains relevant | Opinion

When the first program “Aktenzeichen XY … unsolved” flashed across German screens on October 20, 1967, Sven Voss was not yet born. Now the 46-year-old is in charge of “XY Solution”. In the four episodes of The New True Crime Branch in successful format (Friday, August 5, weekly, 9:15 p.m., ZDF), he reconstructs the investigation of dramatic executions, including murders, along with the detectives responsible at the time. , prosecutors and other experts 8-year-old Joanna and 10-year-old Mirko. To do this, they often go to the original crime scene. What does Foss matter as a father of two when he reconstructs the story of child murder? And how did his view of criminal offenses and investigative work change during the shooting of “XY Solved”? Sven Voss answers these questions in an interview.

teleschau: Mr. Voss, have you ever been the victim of a crime yourself?

Sven Voss: Not myself, but my uncle, who lives alone, fell into this grandson’s trick five years ago: the offender, unnoticed by all the other members of the family, met him again and again and thus gained his trust. At some point he actually pulled out all the accounts, life insurance, and cash and was nowhere to be found. It’s funny that I was in contact with the editors of “Aktenzeichen XY” through Rudi Cerne. I spoke to someone who said, “Yeah, we’ll be doing a presentation on stuff like that soon!” That’s when I realized that it’s not uncommon for people to fall into such a trap.

teleschau: Was the case finally resolved?

Voss: Maybe it wasn’t a single perpetrator, but a gang who were about to mischief in the area. The cars they later bought were confiscated and they were also convicted. As someone with a great sense of justice, this was also very important to me. Even if you can usually write offset to the wind.

teleschau: Have you become more careful in dealing with cases like this by working with “XY Solved”?

Voss: “XY Solved” relates to capital offenses. Episodes one and three deal with infanticide. These are the cases when you can’t say: I’m more careful in general, nothing will happen. But I became more sympathetic and attentive to these crimes. I have two kids, ages 10 and 14. Of course, such cases are much closer. But I was always careful before.

About dealing with dramatic issues

teleschau: As a father, what exactly goes through your head when you hear stories like infanticide?

Voss: First of all, I think of this terrible act, of what happened there. We also recreated the works in “Solution XY”, we were in the original locations. If you imagine: this is where the bike was lying around. Here the boy or the girl has been bugged, as the police language says, then this does something for you. Then it’s different than if you watch it on TV or read a press release. Then you can really understand and feel it. My next thought is always for parents who live in horrific fear and hope that their child will return before they finally have to face the horrific reality of their child’s murder. These are things that are not easy to get rid of when you come home in the evening. I heard a lot of stories there and had to talk about them a lot. In my work with inspectors and prosecutors, I’ve seen a lot, a lot of sad, a lot of shocking things.

teleschau: What techniques have helped you to process so that the issues do not haunt you emotionally for too long?

Voss: On the topic “Solution XY” we’re working with criminologist Lydia Bennick. She told me right from the start, “Sven, if you’re going to be involved in a true crime, you should be willing to talk and think about brutal things.” She helps me. Just like my conversations with investigators and prosecutors, who of course are all personally affected, although they have to deal with it professionally. You gave me a little hand there.

“I have great respect for the patience of the investigators.”

teleschau: How has your profile of police work changed as a result of working with investigators?

Voss: Before that, it was a fanciful view of things: I’m a crime watcher, I’ve always followed “Aktenzeichen XY…Unsolved.” But the fantasy scene has always had the upper hand for me. But how the investigators work in SOKO or at the “crime scene” is nonsense in many things! I have learned. I also have great respect for the impatient and pressured detectives: I mean, there’s a missing child in a village. Every minute counts! The offender can strike again, and of course the public wants the case resolved so that they no longer have to live in fear. Let’s think smart and say: We’ll find the lead! We’ll get to the culprit! This is a very complex task, and now I respect it more.

teleschau: Can you still watch crime thrillers at all now that you know none of them are true?

Voss: (laughs) I don’t know if nothing is real. A criminal act is above all a mental act! It is very rare for someone to shoot and chase after the offender. But that’s what the thriller is about. The truth is, the arrest itself is less exciting than you might think, but the process of putting leads together when detectives stand in front of a wall like this and have these pictures and try to trace the links – I think that’s really an issue. I have to smile about a lot of things now when I see them in crime novels.

teleschau: In the cases described in “XY Solved”, was it only technical progress that ultimately led to clarification, or were there other crucial points?

Voss: It’s the development of criminology in different fields: one example is fingerprints that were taken years ago and were not digitized at the time. Today, you can compare a digital fingerprint with a database much faster than it used to be. In our examples, it was actually the case that the cases were taken back a few years later and compared to the database, and suddenly matching cases appeared. But what I also discovered: the famous chance commissioner is still around! This unsub is on his way somewhere and says, “I’ve never been there.” But suddenly a card with a license plate appears.

A communication program like ‘Aktenzeichen XY…unresolved’ always remains appropriate.

teleschau: The first episode “Aktenzeichen XY…unsolved” premiered in 1967. What are your first memories of the show?

Voss: This is a very harsh memory: I was 12 or 13, before that I wasn’t allowed to watch the show because my mother forbade it. Then there was the case of “theft in the gazebo” or something like that. At the time, I did an original and impressive re-enactment of how two perpetrators attacked an elderly lady in the gazebo. The lady had not much that the thieves could plunder, except for the golden ring on her finger, which the robbers did not take down. With a film cut into a hedge trimmer, it was made clear to the audience that they had cut off the lady’s finger with it. This is still on my mind to this day! It shaped me a lot, but the interesting thing is this feeling that as a bystander you can help convict the offender. This sense of justice characterizes me to this day, so I always feel that the issues in my area address me. This is what makes the show so successful and original to this day.

teleschau: In times of online missing persons reports and the latest forensic technology, do you think the show will still be a hit in 20 years?

Voss: 20 years is hard to predict on TV. But in my experience, you can never say, “Classic TV is obsolete!” In this regard, I would also say that a communication program such as “Aktenzeichen XY … notolved” is always suitable. This is also due to the fact that the police have been working with the “Aktenzeichen” team in the spirit of trust for more than 50 years. They have experience when it makes sense to reach people on TV and when it doesn’t.

About True Crime: “I Don’t Like Thrills”

teleschau: In “XY Solved” you reconstruct cases that have already been solved. The 2017 program “Aktenzeichen XY … Solved” took a similar approach, what is the difference between the two formulas?

Voss: With the new format, we’re really going out to the crime scene: it’s a bit more reportage, documentary and journalistic. We’ve been meeting with investigators and prosecutors since that time at the crime scene. What is impressive is that because I have the opportunity to ask what interests me there, interesting conversations develop because the detectives at the old crime scenes also recall completely different things they had already finished. They become very emotional and very detailed. That’s a difference, but it’s also the strength of the newly launched format.

teleschau: Are these the reasons why the real crime genre is so popular in Germany right now?

Voss: I’m going to team up with True Crime: I listen to a lot of podcasts from the region. There are some that I like and some that I don’t. I don’t like thrills much, I like journalistic formats that deal with investigative work more. This is something that anyone with a sense of justice would appreciate: How are crimes resolved? Questions like this fit with the original concept of “good versus evil.” For this reason, True Crime’s success will continue. Often everything that is fiction in crime or thriller is twisted and far from reality.

Will your kids be allowed to watch the premiere?

teleschau: Rudy Cern will turn 64 this year. Can you imagine inheriting it from “Aktenzeichen XY…Unsolved” one day?

Voss: First of all, the successful formula “Aktenzeichen XY…Undissolved” is in very good hands. I’m glad Rudy will continue to do this for another four years. In this regard the question does not arise. I am glad that I can expand the portfolio of this powerful brand with “XY Solved”. I think I’m fine with that too. I’m very curious to know how viewers like it. And then we’ll see.

teleschau: Will your kids be allowed to watch the premiere?

Voss: Actually, my 14-year-old daughter is really interested in these true stories and crimes. That’s why I think he’ll let her watch, yeah.

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