There's a new show on Sundance TV called Deutschland83. We missed the first episode, but now have the DVR set to record all new episodes. We're hooked. No need for a synopsis here. Suffice it to say that the Sundance TV website bills the show as a "gripping coming-of-age story and spy thriller set in Germany in the '80s." Brilliant! Look, I've written a coming-of-age novel, and I've written three spy novels, but to combine the two genres strikes me as a stroke of genius. Maybe it's been done before; if it has I missed it, so that's on me. But I'm not missing it this time around.
I got to Berlin in 1983, so the show (besides its great writing, acting, and production values) resonates on a personal level. You see, the central character is an East German working as an undercover spy in West Germany. Those of us working at Field Station Berlin during those years were cognizant of the potential for espionage from the East. As part of a briefing when we first reported for duty we were told that Berlin was an espionage and counterespionage hotspot like no other. An earlier blog entry chronicles my own my own less-than-momentous brush with STASI in 1985. But, honestly, I was focused primarily on my job of monitoring the Soviets and gave little thought to what my counterparts were doing on the other side of the Wall. Now, more than 30 years later, I get to re-imagine the context of my Cold War stint in Berlin thanks to this smart new show. Not a bad way to spend an hour once a week.