What it is about

It's a 10-part spy series which follows Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage) just arrived at the CIA foreign station in Berlin, Germany. Miller has a clandestine mission: to uncover the source of a leak who has supplied information to a now-famous whistleblower named Thomas Shaw. After  ten years spent as a CIA analyst, Daniel goes back to the rough-and-tumble world of the field agent guided by veteran Hector DeJean (Rhys Ifans).

Spooks and Berlin Station

BBC Spooks  (2002 -2011) used to be one of my best favourite TV series and,  after reading about the filming of a new spy drama starring Richard Armitage,  definitely wanted to see Berlin Station. Despite all my enthusiastic expectations,  it took me a while to delve into it. I watched the first two episodes as soon as they were released by Epix for free online,  but found them rather slow and too cerebral.  A few months passed before I could sit and try again. I rewatched the first two episodes, this time with the chance to move on to episode 3,  and something clicked. The secret is then, “Pass episode 2 and you’ll start liking it”.  Besides this little tip to avoid being stuck by the maybe slow opening, here are also 5 reasons  to not miss this series.

1.Richard Armitage as Daniel Miller

Useless to say dashing agent Miller has his own charms as well as his own secrets well hidden in the past. True is he didn’t surprise me as a totally new agent on the field since too much of him reminded me of Spooks Lucas North. The role is perfect for Richard Armitage,  but hasn’t allowed him to challenge himself into something new and different. Lots of deja vu moments and little epiphanies.  Anyway, impossible to remain indifferent to a Daniel Miller when he has Richard Armitage’s velvety voice, piercing blue eyes and athletic looks. (it was some time I didn't write that, wasn't it?) 

2. Stellar cast

Created by Olen Steinhauer, the series can boast a stellar cast that did an awesome job throughout the ten episodes:  Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under), Michelle Forbes (True Blood, The Killing), Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, Anonymous, The Amazing Spiderman, Elementary) and Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Hannibal, Captain America).

3. Present day concerns

A leak supplying top secret matters to the press, ISL terrorism and refugee trafficking are among the issues featured in the series, which doesn’t shy away from dealing with the ugly truth of present-day deadly threats.

4. Action thriller with psychological insight

Expect surprising twists and turns and a good deal of action, of course, in the tradition of  worthy TV spy drama, but what is actually interesting  in Berlin Station is that all the characters are granted their own narrative arch including psychological in-depth. I particularly like what they did with Rhys Ifans character, Hector DeJean, who happens to be the most intriguing and complex. 

5. Intelligent spy drama
“Beneath one secret there’s another and another and another, one big mess of our own creation.” 
What I mean by intelligent is realistic more than spectacular. The world of a secret agent  must be grey and indefinite, filled with secrets and compromises. No glamour and no superheroes. This is what you get in Berlin Station. You won't find incredibly admirable characters, but fallible and flawed human beings trying to do their job in the terribly complicated web of truths they cannot let come out and lies they must make up to survive and avoid greater ills. 


Guylty said...

Stopping by on Servetus' recommendation. Fully agree with you on your assessment. It took a while to get into, but BS does have an interesting story line and a superb cast. Will you be watching season 2?

dstoutholcomb said...

I saw bits and pieces of it when it aired here.


Servetus said...

Great to hear your impressions! (My issues were opposite -- I thought the first two episodes were great but the middle of the series was wretched.)

Maria Grazia said...

Well, Guylty, I'm sure I'll be watching season 2. I hope they'll develop Daniel Miller's character in a more intriguing way and give him more space and action.
You only saw bits and pieces of Berlin Station, Denise. Does that mean you didn't like it?
We happen to disagree on something, Servetus, but never on our appreciation for RA's work!
Thanks to you all for dropping by. It's been a pleasure to read your comments!

Anonymous said...

Hallo, does anyone know this online DVD-Shop? Haven't heard/read about that they have released a DVD of BS yet, besides a couple of cryptic comments during some of those interviews RA gave in Feb 2017 in LA.
Grazia, good to see that you're still writing and that you still have this penchant for a certain blue eyed handsomeness... ;-) It's been a while....
Yes and yes (!!) we all hope that they put a bit more time, effort and depth into Daniel Millers character development.