The more a topic is hidden under a cloak of secrecy, the higher the innate the desire to explore, uncover truth and delve into the mystery. Perhaps that's why espionage thrillers, providing a high-pressured mixture of the subtle and the grandiose, have always held high appeal.
As technology has advanced, and threats have evolved, the fabric of top-secret organizations has changed. In the era post-Snowden, the uncovering of unethical, or illegal actions — known has whistleblowing — has taken on a new angle. And it's the act of whistleblowing that is at the center of upcoming TV series, Berlin Station.
Set in modern day Berlin, the premise of the show is a fusing of old and new, much like the city itself — think John le Carré for modern times. Leading man Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage) is a CIA agent who has been dispatched to the German capital with the task of uncovering the identity of a whistleblower who goes by the pseudonym of Thomas Shaw.
While the show does include the tropes you'd expect of a spy thriller — such as hints at a much larger conspiracy, the overwhelming impulse to truly trust no one — it also has a raw and contemporary feel. The plot is elaborate, but the characters grounded. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the show's Executive Producer Olen Steinhauer believes the series's charm lies in its authenticity. He said:
"How did they find Bin Laden? It was not one person who was driven to extremes. This show is supposed to show how normal people with an abnormal job have to work tougher. They are not superheroes. This is an ensemble [show] because intelligence is an ensemble."
While the series will focus on the overarching conspiracy at hand, its nuances scream out potential. From a stellar cast and up-to-the-minute relevance, there are plenty of reasons to tune in to Berlin Station. Let's take a look below:
As Steinhauer explained, this is a show that won't lose itself in the overarching narrative. The characters themselves are crucial, and bringing them from script to screen are some of the finest actors in the business.
Richard Armitage has the lead role as Daniel Miller, the agent seeking shaw. The talented character actor is perhaps best known for his role as Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit trilogy.
The rest of the ensemble is equally as impressive. Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins will head up the Berlin branch, playing veteran Steve Frost, while Rhys Ifans plays conflicted Case Officer Hector DeJea.
The rest of the cast includes Emmy nominee Michelle Forbes, Tamlyn Tomita, Leland Orser, Richard Dillane and Bernhard Schütz.
Considering the large-scale wrongdoings the Snowden leaks revealed, it's not a stretch to say that events happening for real seem far-fetched enough to transfer directly to an espionage thriller. Berlin Station aims to keep the show encased in realism, capturing the authentic workings of the CIA.
Think less individual heroes saving the day, more an intelligent group of individuals teaming together to slowly uncover the truth. That authentic feel will be compounded by...
Berlin is an eclectic, visually stunning city that really takes on a form of its own. It's rich history is matched by its fluid and cutting-edge culture.
The vibrant, lifelike nature German capital will be utilized to its fullest by the show; rather than simply becoming the backdrop, Berlin, and all its idiosyncrasies, will play an important role. As Armitage says: "It almost becomes the lead character."
Finally, as well as the thought-provoking narrative, the show will be incredibly character driven, focusing on the human side of each member of Berlin Station. Their motivations, fears and desires will be conflicted and humanized, and the impact the events of such magnitude can have on personal lives won't be cast aside.
Excited? Check out the show's interactive website for some more teasers. Berlin Station will be released on October 16 this year.
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)