Berlin Station - Season 1 [no spoilers]


Staff member

Berlin Station - watching you.

I picked up Berlin Station by chance, as it was shown as a recommendation on Amazon when I was looking at another spy-related film. I'm glad I did.

This is a ten-part series set in modern-day Berlin, in the CIA Station. A former analyst, Daniel Miller, is assigned to the station; it's his first field assignment in ten years, and no-one in the station knows that he's really there to find a mole, Thomas Shaw. Thomas Shaw is a CIA member who is leaking information about the unethical and illegal operations that the CIA has carried out globally. Berlin Station is in crisis, as suddenly all Shaw's leaks are focused around their operations. There's friction between the Chief of Station and his underlings, and the politics and tension visible. The leaks are being published by a Berlin newspaper, so it's believed that Shaw must be at the station or have some link to it.
The series opens dramatically, and much of the season is a flashback which brings you to understand what has just happened. There are layers of plots with entwined threads and it manages to treat the characters sympathetically even when they may have done terrible things. They feel very human. There is friction between the BfV (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) and CIA due to the bugging of Angela Merkel's phone, and Mossad is operating quietly in the background. Everyone is playing everyone else. The ending is satisfying, and I'm looking forward to watching the next series.

If you like spy-thrillers, complex plotting, and compromised characters, this is one for you. I'll add that Berlin itself is a character in this, giving a cosmopolitan and decadent backdrop for the plots to fester in.

The opening music is great; the NIN take on David Bowie's 'Afraid of Americans'. I've linked it here for your entertainment.​

22 May 2020​

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