Comrade Detective (Romanian: Tovarăș Miliţian) is a Prime Video TV Series produced by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, first streaming in August 2017.
A satire of the politically charged American pop culture of the 1980s, it purports to be a remastered edition of Tovarăș Miliţian, a gritty crime series produced by the Romanian government in the late Cold War as a response to western works like Rocky IV and Red Dawn, to both entertain and to celebrate the ideals of communism. It follows Gregor Anghel and Iosif Baciu, two Bucharest policemen and loyal communists on a quest to unravel a capitalist conspiracy and find their friend's killer.
The series was filmed with Romanian actors in Bucharest, with the English voice cast including Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nick Offerman, and Jenny Slate.
Tovarăș Miliţian provides examples of: note
- Artistic License – Sports: In "The Invisible Hand," an American embassy guard makes a fairly nonsensical comment about an American football game "so many passes," and even referring to it as American football. Played for laughs, of course.
- Big Bad Friend: Stan for Dragus, Nikita for Iosif and Gregor.
- Bland-Name Product: Patriot Pop, which is definitely not Pepsi.
- By-the-Book Cop: Iosif Baciu.
- Cowboy Cop: Gregor Anghel.
- The Corrupter: Nikita to Stan, to whom he was a partner previously.
- The Comically Serious: Given the concept. Tovarăș Miliţian isn't supposed to be funny, but Comrade Detective is.
- Crapsack World: The West, America, you name it. A flashback to Baciu and Ionesca's youth shows New York as a surreal wretched hive, and according to Jane, everyone has AIDS back home.
- Eagleland: Firmly Type 2.
- Da Chief: Captain Covaci.
- Death by Materialism: The American Ambassador is poisoned by money in Episode 2.
- Dirty Capitalists
- Get Ahold Of Your Self Man: In Episode 2, Gregor does this to a woman fighting another over a pair of jeans. Done to Gregor in Episode 3.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Casual mentioned by Baciu as standard procedure to get perps to talk.
- Later Baciu gets a mook to talk by slicing open his femoral artery and threatening to let him bleed to death.
- Malevolent Masked Man: Ionesco's killer, he wears a Ronald Reagan mask.
- More Expendable Than You: Attempted by Gregor in the finale, when Nikita wants him and Iosif to fight to the death and let the survivor go, citing Iosif's family for why he should be the one to die. Nikita insists on a real fight, though.
- Pop-Culture Isolation: The heroes don't recognize things like Jordache jeans or Monopoly, played with in that the purported audience wouldn't, either.
- Primal Scene: Played with. A young Gregor watched his parents get it on, but the scene emphasizes their indulging in materialism, which is what drives him to inform on them.
- Really Get Around: Anghel applies takes Marx's famous slogan 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need' and applies it to his sex life.
- Religion of Evil: Christianity is depicted as such in "Bread Is Bread." Really, given the setting, the whole concept of religion is shown as dubious.
- Serious Business: Chess. Everyone is into it and know the names of various gambits. It is even televised in bars.
- Justified, as chess was and is a popular spectator sport in the Eastern Bloc, and watching chess over there would be no more out of place than watching football in the United States.
- Sinister Minister: Anton Streza, an unstable baker moonlighting as a catholic priest.
- The Stool Pigeon: The show views informing on potential subversives as the right thing to do. Gregor Anghel informed on his parents at a young age.
- Slut-Shaming: Often directed at western, capitalist women.
- The Sons and the Spears: A variant. Captain Covaci likens his men to fingers in an open hand, but together, they are a fist.
- A Threesome Is Hot: Anghel takes two young ladies home the night after they think the case has been closed.
- Those Two Guys: Stan and Dragos, a pair of oafish Bucharest cops. Subverted later in the series, when Dragos ends up Taking A Level In Kindness, while Stan reveals himself as one of the killers in the Reagan mask.
- The Vamp: US Ambassador Sally Smith.
- Vocal Dissonance: The Romanian wrestling coach is dubbed in English by Mahershala Ali.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Man in the Reagan mask is very fond of this
Comrade Detective provides examples of: note
- Felony Misdemeanor: Played for laughs, given the concept.
- Monopoly is regarded as an indoctrination tool and fundamentally immoral.
- Mrs. Baciu screams when she sees her daughter admiring a pair of jeans.
- A cop pukes after seeing a mural of Jesus.
- Another cop warns Anghel of the content of a film reel, only to reveal it is a girl doing a cheerleading routine.
- Stealth Parody: Both the Romanian actors and the English dub cast act as if they're taking the show seriously, and the intro segments are intended to confuse the viewer into thinking that it was an actual show in Ceausescu's Romania. The video quality (and the fact that it's in a widescreen image format, which wasn't used for TV production until the late nineties, and only really took off after the turn of the millennium) is the major giveaway that it was filmed in The New '10s.