Set in a divided Germany in 1983, during a peak period for Cold War tensions between East and West. Martin Rauch, a wide-eyed 24-year-old East German soldier plucked from obscurity, goes undercover as a West German soldier for the East German Secret Service.
It is exaggerated, it is pretty dramatic. But thats what we usually expect today. On the other hand it were pretty dramatic times, the cold war was no fun at all even if we might think so today. This is what happens if you do not communicate.
For me personally it's one of the best German TV shows of the last decades - speaking as a German. Our movies and TV shows are usually totally crap (especially today I would say). American readers might think that's a sad fact that is also true for American productions, but believe me, it's not the same. But that's a different topic.
The series has its weaknesses, sometimes its pretty much a cliché but don't forget it's a comprehension of these times, it's not a documentary, it's a drama series. And there were in fact a lot of stubborn and blind people in high-rank positions, who even thought they were smarter" than anyone else.
I've been born in West Germany. 1983 I was just 7/8 years old and I do remember that my father (a teacher) was somehow upset at this time. I didn't understand the whole stuff, the TV was sometimes full of it, but this made me grow up with the idea that the whole world is pretty close to destroy itself in an instant. Strange times - I hadn't really a clue what was happening and was watching and doing a lot of different stuff. Geez, I was a kid, kids are always optimistic although I did have one or another nightmare of some big war". The American culture had a deep and massive influence on Western Germany at this time, I do remember this quite well and it's not so obvious in this show but it's still noticeable. Like the GDR was under massive influence of the soviet union. Till today it's burned into my brain, indelibly. (Keep this is mind if you're an American and talk to Germans today - this whole cold war thing has pretty much messed up everything in the aftermath - till today.)
But I'm loosing my point. For me the series captures the feeling in Germany at this time pretty well, the characters are spot on, the actors do an awesome job, they really feel 80s style", only the budget limit obviously stopped it from being better overall. But for this it's pretty impressive and for German standards pretty brave. It could have a bit more teeth but not to much since it's fairly trying to find a balance without punching into faces, it gives both sides a fair share of the story. We are smarter today - aren't we?
Kudos to the producers, the writer, the director and the actors. Great job, it's a remarkable show I really wish it would go on and become even better. It were pretty difficult times but I believe Germany today is in an even more delicate situation and this story is not over yet. Unfortunately.
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