This German historical fiction TV series about a rookie East German “Romeo Agent” sent to the other side of the wall in the 1970s to gather intel by getting close to female analysts working for the British/Americans really, caught my attention. Starring film and TV star Tom Schilling as Lars, (Generation War and A Coffee in Berlin…I’m a huge fan of both) he’s perfectly cast as the novice spy…he equally exudes boyish charm but also sort of a crazy/dangerous/stoic side. He pulls off the seduction easily because at first glance, he seems innocent and innocuous and that works to lure the women in. When he has to move on to his second target, you can tell that the seemly unemotional/anti-capitalistic/GDR die-hard Lars may be falling for her which will make things a little tricky. The two female targets are superbly played by Swedish actress Sofia Helin and German actress Friederike Becht.
At its heart, this series is also about two families on opposite sides of the wall and how they intertwine. There are subplots involving family members of Lars’ that also keep the show interesting because you’re sure they’re going to intertwine one day with the German-American family on the Western side of the wall. All of these characters are well cast and well played. Dealing with various themes from loyalty to country/ideals to morality and values to the freedom to be yourself and homosexuality, all set against the backdrop of a world dealing with the Cold War and a political/societal divide between capitalism and socialism and traditionalism and modernism.
The politics, intrigue, great story arcs and sex appeal in this series make the 6 episodes of the first season breeze past even when having to read subtitles (this series was initially written in English by British screenwriter Paula Milne and then translated to German by the director Oliver Hirschbiegel). It is brilliantly shot and styled and you really feel like you’re transported back in time to the 1970s. Overall, I highly recommend this one and hope that a new season is forthcoming (but after doing some Internet sleuthing, it doesn’t look like that’s the case which is a huge disappointment since the series ended in somewhat of a cliffhanger smh…hey, let’s get a petition started to give us all some closure on this one with a 2nd season)! Currently streaming on Netflix.