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Deutschland 83 is a German eight-episode Spy Fiction Thriller that revolves around an East German spy named Martin Rauch who is sent to work in West Germany undercover as a military aide-de-camp named Moritz Stamm. It premiered on June 17, 2015, on Sundance TV, making it the first German-language series to air on a U.S. network.

The show has received very positive reviews, with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, an 8.6 on IMDb, an 8.4 on tv.com, and a 79% on Metacritic.

A second season, set three years later and called Deutschland 86, was broadcast in 2018 in Germany and 2019 in Britain. A final installment in the trilogy, Deutschland 89, is planned.


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Deutschland 83 provides examples of these tropes:

    Deutschland 83 
  • Adult Fear: Several.
    • What if you knew an apocalyptic nuclear war was going to devastate your country, but couldn't tell anyone or act on it, because the information is classified - or you're not supposed to have it in the first place?
    • Martin worries that his son will grow up without a father - like he did.
    • Edel has to grapple with his son rejecting every ideal he holds dear, then running away from home. And then committing a terrorist hostage-taking.
    • A lover dying of a then-poorly understood, highly infectious, incurable disease, namely, AIDS.
    • The fear of imminent nuclear war. Worst, the Pershing-II missiles posed this to the entire Soviet high command, as the missiles could reach Moscow faster than their early-warning system could detect an attack, meaning nuclear war could break out with absolutely no warning.
    • For Annette: Martin disappears with no word, for weeks. And she's carrying his child, which she learns after he disappears.
    • Ursula shows a grave and realistic concern when the commune Yvonne has joined causes her to stop coming home for days at a time, and moreso when Yvonne offhandedly mentions some cult-like, controlling behavior, like controlling when she can go to her home and even pressuring her to change her name.
  • Ate His Gun: Henrik Mayer shoots himself through the mouth after the SSD try to blackmail him into becoming a spy.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Martin intervenes in Project RYAN, among other things. He even kills the man responsible for the bombing of the French cultural center in West Berlin.
  • Betty and Veronica: Anette and Yvonne. Subverted in that Yvonne is a better person than Anette in most ways.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Martin helps stoping a nuclear war and gets to come home. But Edel or Alex seems to commit suicide, Yvonne finds out that not only is her boyfriend having another girlfriend but said girlfriend is pregnant with his child, Thomas is deported and Martin's relationship with Anette is strained at best.
  • Break the Cutie: Martin through the series, but especially after Linda is murdered after he fails to convert her and is made to bury her in the woods.
  • Call-Back: The first episode opens with banned literature (Shakespeare) being confiscated by Martin in the un-free east. The second starts with Alex being chided for reading leftist literature (although it isn't taken from him in the more free west).
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • As in real history, East German and Soviet intelligence services refuse to believe that Able Archer 83 is just a military exercise, and dismiss any intelligence assets telling them so as just being duped or not seeing the bigger picture.
    • Wolfgang's sister-in-law overhears Martin sneaking a phone call to the East, realizing he's a spy. Because she was drugged and had drank a lot of wine, everyone assumes it was a drunken delusion. Even her.
  • Chase Scene: After Martin blows his own cover to Edel.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Discussed. Two East German officers use American nuclear weapons production to justify their belief that war was imminent, likening it to the literary technique of Chekhov's Gun: "Don't put a rifle on stage unless someone is intended to fire it."
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Schweppenstette occasionally dons a trenchcoat and fedora.
  • Culture Clash: A big part of the series is about exploring the differences in culture between just East and West Germany. Both America and the Soviet Union are portrayed as very distant powers with very distant ideas.
  • Dead Drop: Martin receives orders and communications through coded papers hidden in a fake AA battery hidden inside a tree branch outside the base.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Some characters briefly argue in favor of nuclear war, arguing that a first strike is a winnable scenario.
    • Not to mention several characters smoking in front of a pregnant woman - a pregnant woman who drinks wine at one point.
  • Domestic Abuse: General Edel hits his wife a few times when he's sufficiently antagonized, though one was by accident. She blames the bruises on tennis.
  • Double Standard: Anette loses her shit when she finds out about Yvonne, even though she herself had an affair with Thomas.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Either General Edel or Alex are implied to shoot themselves at the end of the series - it's not confirmed which.
    • Mayer, the NATO analyst, kills himself when blackmailed by the SSD.
  • Dramatic Irony / Foregone Conclusion:
    • If you know anything about Cold War history, specifically the history of NATO, you'll know that "Able Archer" was a military exercise that put the Soviet Union on high alert for a number of days. In the context of the show, however, the characters don't know this, and so they think they're scrambling to stop the Americans from a pre-emptive first strike. Interestingly, even if you know about the true historical nature of Able Archer, it still manages to be really tense. The show in general is also this, because we know there wasn't a nuclear war in the end and that 1983 didn't result in that much in the way of hostility. It's still pretty tense on a personal level though, and all the more tragic when several major players in the story die for what we the audience know is nothing.
    • When Martin returns home only to find Annette with a tied-up Yvonne, we know the circumstances that led to this, but Martin doesn't, and he panics, thinking Annette is working for East German Intelligence.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Kramer is shot dead by the West German police by pure bad luck, while helping Martin to clean up after Alex Edel's calamitous hostage-taking protest action.
  • Dutch Angle: Used several times, most notably when Martin tells Edel he's the mole.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It takes place in Germany in 1983, with real historic events from that year being pivotal to the plot.
  • Fish out of Water: Martin, who initially finds West Germany somewhat alien to him.
  • Historical Fiction: The show is set in Germany, 1983, if that wasn't obvious from the title. Events from that time, such as Able Archer 83, the shooting down of KAL 007, and the bombing of the French cultural center in Berlin play roles in the plot, as does the occasional Historical-Domain Character. Season 2 takes place in 1986 and focuses on the fact that East Germany was very broke as well as the political situation in South Africa and adjourning states.
  • Hostage Situation: Alex takes General Jackson and a prostitute hostage in "Brandy Station".
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All of the episodes are named after real NATO Exercises from 1983.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Played with regarding Anette and Yvonne. The blonde Anette is more domestic and fiercly loyal to the ideals of East Germany. The brunette Yvonne is rebelious and much more easy going. Anette is also manipulative and Yvonne is innocent and loving.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Schweppenstette is actually Martin's father, although Martin never finds out in the show.
  • The Mole: Martin, obviously. Lt. Karl Kramer also works for the Stasi.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Markus Fuchs (fox) is clearly this to Markus Wolf, real life head of the HVA
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The original German version used "Blue Monday" by New Order. The American and UK versions of the series used a German song instead, Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)".
  • The '80s
  • The Reveal: In-universe; when Martin blows his own cover to General Edel.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Lenora flees to Mozambique with her lover when she believes that World War III is imminent.
  • Source Music: Martin's cassette player provides Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf" at one point.
  • Spy School: Tischbier prepares Martin to be a spy through a Training Montage in "Quantum Jump".
  • Stock Footage: There are clips from documentaries, movies, and news programs from 1983 present in every episode.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The anti-nuclear movement in West Germany is a useful-idiot movement for the Soviets and East Germans, and in many cases led by eastern spies, as was later discovered actually happened in real history.
  • Wham Line:
    • ABLE ARCHER IS CASE RYAN (nuclear attack). PREPARE FOR WAR.
    • "Turn or eliminate Linda Steiler."
  • Your Cheating Heart: Martin has relationships with both Linda and Yvonne while Annett is at home. Although Annett also starts a new relationship with a schoolteacher named Thomas.
    Deutschland 86 
  • Bi the Way: Leonora seems to have ditched the (male) lover she left with in the end of season 1, and is seen kissing Rose, a spy she met in Africa
  • Cutting Corners: What East Germany has to do in season 2, given that they are very broke. They sell patients to the west as testers for risky medical studies, they sell weapons to their enemies just to get money, and their yearly celebration for the true workers has to be cut down.
  • Defector from Commie Land: When Tina Fischer discovers the full details of the drugs trial and is fired, she tries to get her family to the West by hiding in a modified van. The East German authorities are tipped off when her secret tape discussing the trial is played on West German radio; the driver is shot running away from the police. Fischer and her husband are sent to prison, their children to an orphanage. Later, Tina is allowed to go the West in exchange for Martin, but Annett crosses the rest of her family off the list of people being sent across. Martin gets her children out in the finale, along with Lenora, although the last of these gets arrested by the West Germans.
    • A real life example in the cast - Sylvester Groth (Schweppenstette) started his acting career in East Germany. On a trip to Austria, he chose not to go back and defected to West Germany.
  • The Fundamentalist: Season 2 spoilers Both Leonora and Annett have shades of this. Schweppenstette, however, who was this in season 1, has lost his idealism in the three years between the seasons and is now seen enjoying forbidden West TV
  • Money, Dear Boy: East Germany is in such an economic mess that they must raise funds by selling weapons to the Apartheid regime in South Africa, even though they are far more ideologically aligned with the resistance movements.
  • Moral Myopia: Leonora is selling weapons to the actors of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, despite the fact that the East is in political and moral conflict with them (indeed, not supporting the racist Apartheid regime is one of the points where the East has the moral high ground!) simply because East Germany is completely broke and desperately needs the money. She doesn't really seem to see the problem with it, which is probably because she desperately wants to believe in the East, but Martin stops the sale when he learns that the weapons are supposed to be used to destroy a building close to the orphanage he spend the last three years working at
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Season 2 spoilers: Martin in season 2. He saved the world from a nuclear war, and as a reward he's been stuck in Africa for three years, and has never even met his son. He also really doesn't trust his aunt anymore. Also, Schweppenstette, formerly near fanatical believer in East Germany, is seen to watch forbidden West TV.
  • Took a Level in Idealism:Annett, sort of. She's even more fanatic in her belief in the ideology of East Germany now.

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