“The Defeated” tells the unheard-of stories of post-war Berlin.
American detective Max McLaughlin lands in Germany to help establish a police force in war-torn Berlin. In the chaotic capital filled with crime, he will search for his missing brother, a soldier who was last seen in a Nazi death camp.
This underrated 2020 TV series (also known as “Shadowplay”) tackles the problems in post-World War II Berlin. The story’s focus is on Max McLaughlin (Taylor Kitsch), an American police officer tasked to help the local precinct fight crime in the German capital. Wilhelm Busch’s “Max and Moritz” is introduced in the plot, and as with a map, it served as the central theme of chaos, mischief, and intrigue in Berlin. From there, we learn about Max’s quest to find his missing brother Moritz (Logan Marshall-Green) and like a web, other subplots emerged.
There’s “Angel Maker” played by Sebastian Koch who runs a crime syndicate, mainly murdering Allied soldiers. Then there’s the whole Russian politics and their aim to dominate the capital. Of course, there will be the avenging Jews seeking justice with Max’s brother Moritz leading the charge. Thrown in there is a corrupt American official who is transporting Nazis out of Germany.
There are many subplots in this series but “The Defeated” has successfully portrayed each one of them. It connected the subplots in a seamless manner leading to a suspenseful ending. There are no dull moments in the series’ episodes, each delivered without dragging the story too much.
Kitsch is perfect as Max with his brooding personality. I love Elise Garten (Nina Hoss), Gad (Maximilian Ehrenreich), and the other members of the Berlin police force who are mostly women. The spotlight might not be focused on them but their characters provide spice to the story. Marshall-Green is effective as the crazy brother of Max. Mala Emde portrayed Karin, a woman raped by an American soldier. Her acting, together with Kitsch’s performance, adds so much depth to the story.
(Sky god worthy. 5 out of 5 stars). I thought I would only like stories about World War II, but the stories about what happened to the Germans after their defeat was so few that this series captivated me from the get-go. The audience is given a glimpse into this rarely discussed chapter of history. I enjoyed the revenge against the Nazis part, to be honest. “The Defeated” successfully (and realistically) portrayed post-war Berlin and for that this series deserves five stars.
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