Babylon Berlin on Netflix captures the wild times of the 1929 German capital. Gangsters, party girls, Communists, American Jazz musicians, and Nazis all mingled and fought while the Berlin police force tried to keep some semblance of order. Berlin was a complex mix of personal and political secrets, with no one ever being exactly who they seemed on the surface.
Babylon Berlin is one of the best new series on T.V. and we give it our highest rating. It combines a murder mystery with political drama and a search for stolen Russian gold. Liv Lisa Fries is Charlotte Ritter, a beautiful young woman with the ridiculous dream of becoming a police homicide detective. She works for the police part-time as a clerk, and has become fascinated with crime investigation. However, Charlotte has a secret of her own. Like many young women in the post World War I devastation of Berlin, she is sometimes a part-time prostitute just to make ends meet. Charlotte attends wild night club parties in Berlin where for the right price men can get something extra.
Volker Bruch stars as Gereon Rath, a straight-laced police Inspector who was sent to Berlin from Cologne Germany, to find who in Berlin is blackmailing the Mayor of Cologne. Gereon has secrets of his own. He is a “trembler”, what today we would call someone suffering from severe post-traumatic stress. He had served as a combat soldier in the war and saw his own brother captured and probably killed. However, in 1929 there was no concept of “PTSD”. War veterans who showed PTSD symptoms such as shaking, were ridiculed as cowards and “tremblers” Gereon controls his shakes with illegal drugs, bringing him into contact with a part of Berlin society a police office is not supposed to touch.
Severija Janusauskaite is Russian Countess Svetlana Sorokina. Once a wealthy Russian aristocrat, she had to flee when the Communists created the Soviet Union. She now makes her living as a night club singer. Her hatred for the Communists has never cooled, but she has a plan for revenge. Only she knows that the vast Sorokina fortune was smuggled out of Russia and into Germany as gold. Her plan is to use her seductive power to recruit the men she needs to get back her family’s gold.
Peter Kurth is Detective Bruno Wolter. At first it seems that Bruno is nothing more than a brutal corrupt cop, but we soon discover that he has his own complex moral code. Devastated by the humiliation Germany suffered in the war, he and other ex-military men want to re-arm Germany and bring it to its former glory. He considers himself a true patriot and is capable of great tenderness to his friends and loved ones. His enemies, however, soon discover that his brutality is also matched by a keen intelligence and ruthlessness.
Babylon Berlin is definitely worth binge watching on Netflix. It is in German with English subtitles. This is actually better than seeing a dubbed version. Hearing the real actors speaking German gives the series an authenticity that dubbing would ruin. Babylon Berlin has every aspect required for a great series. The twist and turns are unexpected and the conclusion is great and astonishing.
- We give Babylon Berlin our highest rating of 5 Stars *****
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