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Alarm für Cobra 11 – Die Autobahnpolizei ( “Alarm for Cobra 11 – The Highway Police”) is a long-running, popular German television series about a two-man team of highway police (Autobahnpolizei), originally set in Berlin and since 1999 in the area of Cologne. Cobra 11 is broadcast in 140 countries worldwide, including the Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Turkey, and even in Mexico and China.
The tasks of the Cobra 11 team consist primarily in solving crimes and catching the perpetrators. Typical elements of the action genre are mixed, so that there are regular car crashes, shootouts, explosions and fistfights. These action scenes are elaborately produced in most cases, and appropriately presented in a spectacular way. The high number of unrealistic scenes is a common criticism of the series; for example, large explosions often happen after small collisions while people emerge unharmed out of cars which have sustained catastrophic damage.
The series is known for its extremely well performed stuntwork, which features the destruction of various vehicles in every episode. Almost every episode has a distinct structure, with at least one daring action sequence and the pre-title sequence usually consisting of the main event (i.e. a devastating crash on the Autobahn). The stuntwork is often so spectacular that it would not look out of place in a full-fledged movie, with cars commonly reaching implausible heights as they vault through the air.
The main characters are two police officers who together make up the Cobra 11 team. In the beginning these are Chief Inspector Frank Stolte and Chief Inspector Ingo Fischer. After two episodes, however, Chief Detective Inspector Semir Gerkhan takes the place of Ingo Fischer, after the latter was shot dead during an operation. After seven more episodes, Frank Stolte is replaced by Chief Detective André Fux. After 14 years he reappears and first saves Semir and his older daughter.
Since the pilot film for the fourth season, Chief Detective Tom Kranich has taken over his position. His successor will be the young and dynamic detective commissioner Jan Richter.
At the beginning of season 9 (episode 126 comeback), Semir seeks out Tom. Although Tom wants to quit his job at the end of this case, he officially returns to the service of the motorway police at the end of the episode, thus preventing Semir from quitting his job as well.
From the 11th season he follows Chief Inspector Chris Ritter, who leaves after only two seasons because he is killed in an undercover mission. From episode 180 (13th season, 2008) detective chief Ben Jäger is Semir’s new partner, he leaves the series in season 18 (2013) because he had to shoot his girlfriend to save Semir and doesn’t want to make such decisions anymore. Ben goes to America with his girlfriend Nina. Ben Jäger’s successor is Alex Brandt, who makes his debut in the episode Revolution.
In August 2015, RTL announced that Vinzenz Kiefer alias Alex Brandt would leave the series after the new season had been broadcast (broadcast from 09/10/2015). Vinzenz Kiefer’s successor is Daniel Roesner alias Paul Renner. His character has nothing to do with the role of the “speedometer” that he played in the past on Alarm for Cobra 11. Paul Renner is a completely new character with many facets, who will be ideally embodied by Daniel Roesner.
The episodes with Daniel Roesner (Paul Renner) start from the 20th anniversary of the series in 2016.
It had been clear for a long time that Daniel Roesner, one of the two main actors, would leave the series – and that is not unusual for “Cobra 11”. Roesner was already the eighth partner on the side of Erdoğan Atalay aka Commissioner Semir Gerkhan. What is new, however, is that for the first time it will be a woman who will investigate with him in the new season. Pia Stutzenstein will take over this task from 2020.