Deutschland is a German-American television series, starring Jonas Nay as Martin Rauch, an agent of East Germany.
Season 01 aired in 2015, with a second season, Deutschland 86, airing in 2018, and a third season, Deutschland 89, airing in 2020.
Martin Rauch is recruited by the HVA to infiltrate the West Germany army. As a rookie spy, his decisions constantly put his cover at risk and force his agency to take extreme measures.
The show was created by the husband and wife team of American novelist Anna Winger and German TV producer Joerg Winger, who pitched it as a trilogy. It is produced by Joerg Winger, Nico Hofmann, and Henriette Lippold. Anna Winger said that they did extensive research with experts who were from both sides of Germany. Historian Klaas Voss from the Hamburg Institute for Social Research was very important in providing historical information. Jonas Nay, who played Martin, said he received technical assistance from military adviser/NATO expert Steffen Meier.
The show was shot in and around locations in Berlin, Germany. A suburb in east Berlin was used to portray period East Germany. For some scenes the Stasi headquarters (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit) was used as a location and the production was able to film at the Stasi Museum, which is the actual site of the original headquarters. The actual headquarters for the HVA was however in Gosen about 28 km (17 miles) south east of the Berlin TV tower, less than 1 km (0.6 miles) SE of the Berlin city limits, and approximately 4.5 miles (7.5 km) south of the city of Erkner. The backup bunker for the headquarters of the HVA was also located there.
Directors Edward Berger and Samira Radsi used the same crew – and often the same locations – to shoot their respective episodes. One director would prepare for shooting while the other was shooting. They worked in parallel like this throughout the filming of the show. Radsi said she knew producer Winger from working together on the popular German TV show, Leipzig Homicide.
SundanceTV created a digital marketing strategy that reflected the use of locations in Germany that were meant to recreate both East and West Germany in the early 1980s. Reflecting both the intertitle of the show, the marketing team created sliders that show locations as they were in contrast to the current day. The opening credits were created by Saskia Marka.
The show makes extensive use of 1980s popular music, including Nena’s “99 Luftballons”, David Bowie, New Order and Eurythmics among others. Each week’s episode has a playlist of music from and/or inspired by the episodes. The score was created by Reinhold Heil, who produced the song “99 Luftballons.”
Heil, who often collaborates with Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), said that he was on board the project when he saw the first scene of the show, where two teenagers are being interrogated by the border guards (one of whom was Martin, the main character) for attempting to smuggle two books by Shakespeare and Marx across the border. He said that it was very realistic, which comes from his similar experience when he was caught smuggling music (Stravinsky and Bach).
- Episode 1: “Quantum Jump”: DJ Geespin of Power 105.1.
- Episode 2: “Brave Guy”: WFMU Station Manager Ken.
- Episode 3: “Atlantic Lion”: DJ John Fell Ryan of the NYC band Excepter and the documentary Room 237.
- Episode 4: “Northern Wedding”: DJ Jonathan Tooubin of New York Night Train.
- Episode 5: “Cold Fire”: DJ Takefive of CÜR Music.
- Episode 6: “Brandy Station”: Top 10 Songs of 1983 According to Billboard.
- Episode 7: “Bold Guard”: DJ David John Bishop.
- Episode 8: “Able Archer”: Composer Reinhold Heil.
- Episode 8: “Able Archer” (finale bonus): Creator Anna Winger.
The theme for the respective English-subtitled North American and UK broadcasts of the series featured Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home)” – the English-language version of Schilling’s big 1983 European hit “Major Tom (völlig losgelöst)”. However, the markedly different introductory sequence for the German broadcast of the series used New Order’s 1983 hit “Blue Monday”.
The series premiered in the United States on 17 June 2015, on SundanceTV, making it the first German-language series to air on a US network.
The success of Deutschland 83 in the US and UK paved the way for another series also featuring a young Stasi agent dispatched to West Germany under an assumed identity, The Same Sky.
In Germany, Deutschland 83 began to air after the US run on RTL 26 November 2015. There, the series lost viewers over the course of its run; the series finale had 1.72 million viewers, or approximately half of the series premiere’s viewers. As a result, German newspaper Bild called the show “the flop of the year”.
It premiered in Ireland on 29 November 2015, on RTÉ2. All episodes were added to Australian streaming service Stan in December 2015. On 14 January 2016, the series was made available for streaming in The Netherlands via Videoland.
It premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom on 03 January 2016, with the final two episodes shown back-to-back on 14 February. It has since become the most popular foreign-language drama in the history of British television with an audience of 2.5 million viewers as of January 2016.
The series was aired for Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan by BBC Persian in October 2017.
Deutschland 83 was met with critical acclaim.
Deutschland 83 has received a number of international and domestic awards including an International Emmy Award, a Peabody Award, Grimme Prize, The Golden Nymph, a Metropolis Award, two C21 Drama Awards, a Golden Camera, the “Special Jury Award” of the Roma Fiction Fest, and Series Mania 2015 for Best World Series.
- It was the first German-language series to air on a US network.
- For the first season, creator Anna Winger said that all of the episode names originated from NATO military exercises from 1983.
- Episode 01: Quantum Jump.
- Episode 02: Brave Guy.
- Episode 03: Atlantic Lion.
- Episode 04: Northern Wedding.
- Episode 05: Cold Fire.
- Episode 06: Brandy Station.
- Episode 07: Bold Guard.
- Episode 08: Able Archer.
You can find a full index and overview of Deutschland here.
Production & Filming Details
- Edward Berger … (5 episodes, 2015).
- Samira Radsi … (3 episodes, 2015).
- Esther Gordon … post producer (8 episodes, 2015).
- Tim Greve … line producer (8 episodes, 2015).
- Nico Hofmann … producer (8 episodes, 2015).
- Ulrike Leibfried … executive producer: RTL (8 episodes, 2015).
- Henriette Lippold … producer (8 episodes, 2015).
- Sebastian Werninger … producer (8 episodes, 2015).
- Jörg Winger … producer (8 episodes, 2015).
- Philipp G. Steffens … supervising producer: RTL (5 episodes, 2015).
- Anja Schakowetz … assistant line producer / assistant producer (1 episode, 2015).
- Anna Winger … (created by) (8 episodes, 2015).
- Jörg Winger … (created by) (8 episodes, 2015).
- Steve Bailie … (1 episode, 2015).
- Georg Hartmann … (1 episode, 2015).
- Ralph Martin … (1 episode, 2015).
- Andrea Willson … (1 episode, 2015).
- Reinhold Heil … (8 episodes, 2015).
- Philipp Haberlandt … (5 episodes, 2015).
- Frank Küpper … (3 episodes, 2015).
- Sven Budelmann … (5 episodes, 2015).
- Boris Gromatzki … (3 episodes, 2015).
- Production: RTL and UFA Fiction.
- Amazon Prime Video (2015) (Germany) (video) (VOD).
- Amazon Prime Video (2016) (Singapore) (video) (VOD).
- Kino Lorber (2015) (USA) (DVD).
- RTE 2 (2015) (Ireland) (TV).
- RTL (2015) (Germany) (TV).
- Roadshow Entertainment (2016) (Australia) (DVD).
- StudioCanal (2016) (France) (DVD).
- SundanceTV (2015) (USA) (TV) (as Sundance Channel).
- Universal Pictures (2016) (UK) (DVD).
- Universum Film (UFA) (2015) (Germany) (Blu-ray).
- Universum Film (UFA) (2015) (Germany) (DVD).
- Yleisradio (YLE) (2016) (Finland) (TV).
- Release Date: 17 June 2015 to 05 August 2015 (US) and 26 November 2015 to 17 December 2015 (Germany).
- Running Time: 42-45 minutes.
- Rating: 15.
- Country: US and Germany.
- Language: German and English (subtitles).