Inspector Rex (Kommissar Rex)
European TV's Favorite Dog

Inspector Rex (or Kommissar Rex) is an Austrian television program that first aired in 1994 and ran for 8 seasons until 2004. It was created by two Austrian journalists, Peter Hajek and Peter Moser, who wanted to expose the criminal undercurrent beneath the picture postcard image of Vienna. They chose to do this with an element of humor by making the lead character an intelligent but quirky German Shepherd. The dog's name is Reginald von Ravenhorst, but everyone calls him Rex.

An Inspector Rex fan (1990s)

Overcoming Subtitles

Inspector Rex was a show I initially dismissed as 'too much trouble' when a friend first recommended it. It's aired in Australia with an Austrian German soundtrack and English subtitles, and at that time I rarely watched subtitled movies or television shows. But some months later I was visiting the local library and noticed a DVD titled Inspector Rex By Request. This was a collection of four episodes that viewers had voted as their favorites. I thought I would give it a chance and took it home.

The first episode was called Rex's Revenge, and while watching I fell in love with the dog. By the end of the next episode, the pilot where Rex meets police detective Richie Moser, I had fallen in love with the lead actor as well. His name is Tobias Moretti – he was born Tobias Bloéb but took his mother's maiden name when he became an actor. We don't know how much Italian ancestry he actually has, but he speaks the language fluently, as well as his native German and English. Moretti and Rex had wonderful chemistry – the actor owned a German shepherd named Pico during his time on the show.

The supporting actors are also extremely likeable. Moser's team included Karl Markovics as Ernst Stockinger (he left the show to star in his own series called Stockinger), and Wolf Bachofner as Peter Höllerer. Markovics was replaced by Heinz Weixelbraun at the end of Season 2.

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Inspector Rex with
Tobias Moretti
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Inspector Rex with
Gedeon Burkhard
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Inspector Rex with
Alexander Pschill

Inspector Rex Cast Changes

Tobias Moretti left the series early in Season 4 (much to the distress of female fans) and was replaced by another charismatic actor called Gedeon Burkhard. Gedeon, as the young athletic Alex Brandtner, attracted a whole new legion of female viewers, and the show's rating climbed in many European countries where it was shown. Like the pilot episode, Brandtner's first meeting with Rex is one of our favorite episodes, and their chemistry is equally as powerful as Moser and Rex's.

Wolf Bachofner, the last of the original trio, departed the series early in Season 5 and was replaced by Martin Weinek as detective Fritz Kunz. Sadly, Rex (Reginald) was replaced by another talented German Shepherd named Rhett Butler partway through Series 5, although many fans didn't notice the switch. Perhaps this was in part because Reginald occasionally stepped in to do a scene – the director suggested this once he noticed how the dog looked longingly at the action as he sat on the sidelines watching his replacement play Rex.

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The original Inspector Rex
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Rhett (similar yet different)

Gedeon Burkhard played the lead from Series 4 through 6, and his departure led to a big drop in ratings. Heinz Weixelbraun disappeared from the cast at the same time, with only Martin Weinek remaining from Alex's three-man detective team. No explanation was offered regarding their whereabouts. Instead, Alexander Pschill and Elke Winkens joined the show as the new detectives, and Rex suddenly had a new master.

Inspector Rex Reborn

Viewers tuned off in droves as the show focused more on the romantic relationship between the two detectives than the dog. The series continued for anther two seasons until it was finally cancelled. But Rex proved so popular in reruns that it was resurrected four years later as 
Il Commissario Rex, or Rex In Rome.

To take a look at the collection of subtitled Inspector Rex DVDs currently available from our affiliate partners at Amazon, please click on  Inspector Rex DVDs