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Series / Hunters

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Hunters is a 2020 television series, created by David Weil, starring Logan Lerman and Al Pacino and produced/distributed by Prime Video.

The show is about the exploits of a group of Nazi hunters in New York City in 1977, headed by Meyer Offerman (Pacino), a wealthy businessman and Holocaust survivor. Lerman stars as Jonah, a young Jewish man who, upon witnessing the murder of his grandmother, is introduced into this world and the role she played in it.

Hunters only ran for two seasons.

Dark Horse Comics released a short Prequel comic, Hunters: Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth.

Hunters contains examples of:

  • Alternate History: Mostly of The Greatest Story Never Told variety, but it veers more and more into this, what with the assassination of Wernher von Braun and culminating in the televised trial of Adolf Hitler in 1979.
  • Argentina Is Nazi-Land: Alluded to in the first season, which shows that the Fourth Reich has connections there. Played completely straight in the second season, which mostly takes place in Argentina because Hitler himself is living there.
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: Jonah calls his grandmother "safta," apparently from the Hebrew savta meaning grandma; however, Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe didn't use that word; they used the Yiddish bubbe.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Turns out Eva Braun and Hitler suffer from this, with Eva demanding a bigger role in the Fourth Reich movement now that Hitler is old and resenting Hitler for dismissing her on account of Eva being no one until she married him and the failure of ther plot in Season 1. Her resentment leads her to taking on Travis Leich as a lover.
  • Backfire on the Witness Stand: Hitler's insistence on testifying in his own defence backfires when he ends up confessing on the witness stand after the prosecutor plays on his ego.
  • Bait the Dog:
    • Karl Holstedder tells Jonah a story about his Abusive Parents which appears to give him a Freudian Excuse, only for it to turn out he was just trying to get him to let his guard down so he could get free and take him hostage.
    • Tilda Sauer's interrogation takes a turn when she consistently denies being who they say she is even after being tortured and force-fed excrement every time she denies it for several hours, raising the possibility that she may actually be innocent. Then she starts ranting at Meyer in German having recognized him as The Wolf and Lonny comes across a Fourth Reich manual in her house.
  • Big Bad: The Colonel, a.k.a. Eva Braun in Season 1. In Season 2 its Adolf Hitler himself.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The second season, although it's more sweet than bitter. On the one hand, Hitler is brought to justice, the Fourth Reich conspiracy is at an end and all the surviving Hunters have gone on to better lives. On the other hand, Travis is apparently still at large, and the final scene is a chilling reminder that there are still thousands of Nazis who escaped via Operation Paperclip and are still at large.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The TV series, on several occasions, uses Anvilicious advertisements and PSAs to ram home truths about anti-Semitism, Nazis, and the US Government's collaboration with same as part of Operation Paperclip. It's clear that these spots are aimed directly at the audience of the series.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Murray and Mindy re-encounter the Nazi who killed their son, he does not remember doing so. This may be an act to feign innocence, however - when forced to admit it, he recalls the incident with perfect clarity.
  • Bullying the Dragon: As Tobias learns the hard way, constantly mocking a deranged psycho with a chip on his shoulder like Travis is not a good idea.
  • Category Traitor: The Jewish lawyer who represents Hitler is seen as one by the general public.
  • Celebrity Paradox: During the bank heist, Lonny screams "Attica! Attica!"—a reference to a famous moment in Dog Day Afternoon when those words were uttered by a bank robber played by... Hunters star Al Pacino. In addition, the film also featured Mindy's actress Carol Kane as a bank employee.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Most of the Hunters.
    • Ruth lost her parents in the ghetto and her sister in the camps, and as well as enduring the trauma of the camps, she was forced to watch The Wolf torment the man she loved. After the war, she married and had a child, only to lose them both (to the Korean War and childbirth, respectively).
    • Meyer not only survived the horrors of the camps, but he was singled out for torment by The Wolf (due to Meyer's love for Ruth), including physical torture and being forced to kill eleven of his fellow prisoners. It is said by Ruth that this act "killed Meyer's soul", and it is apparently the cause of his and Ruth's 30-year estrangement. The "real" Meyer, that is.
    • Murray and Mindy, in addition to their imprisonment and separation, were forced to watch as their young son was killed by an SS officer.
    • Joe served three tours in Vietnam and as such, deals with a great deal of trauma and PTSD. In addition to that, due to his age and ethnicity, it is more than likely that he was imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp during the war. Season 2 confirms that he was indeed sent to an internment camp as a young boy, and also that his father died in the Army fighting Nazis.
    • Harriet was a Jewish child sent to England on the Kindertransport and subsequently raised in a Catholic orphanage, where she was forced to assimilate and punished if she did not use her assigned Christian name. Her father promised her that they would reunite, but they never did, because he - and presumably the rest of her family as well - died in the Holocaust.
  • Downer Ending: Season 1 ends on a really downer note. Sure, The Hunters manage to destroy the Nazi factory poisoning corn syrup but almost the major villains escape scot-free. Biff escapes from Morris' custody and flees the country while The Colonel survives her near fatal crash and is living in South America with an alive & well Hitler. Travis is arrested and in prison but is actually enjoying his time behind bars since he has won the respect of his fellow prisoners. The Hunters aren't in good shape either. Jonah kills "Meyer" after discovering he was The Wolf the whole time, Joe is kidnapped and taken to South America while Mindy was Put on a Bus. The only positive takeaway is the fact Jonah will step up as the new leader.
  • Fourth Wall Psych: At the start of the season two premier, Meyer/Zuchs, who was killed at the end of the previous season, is shown to be alive and, while looking directly into the camera, says "My friends, you look like you've seen a ghost!" It's then revealed that he's talking to some friends of his two years before his death in the previous season.
  • Government Conspiracy: The Nazis trying to rebuild the Third Reich in America. It has many ties to the US government.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While "the Colonel" is in charge of the American Nazis, she is backed by a rarely-mentioned "General." The season one finale reveals "the General" to be Hitler himself.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The Hunters uproot a widespread Nazi conspiracy and narrowly avert a bioterror attack that would have killed millions, but the world at large never learns about it.
  • Groin Attack : When Harriet and Lonny capture and extract information from the plant manager of Schidler Corp. Jonah also interrogates Wernher von Braun this way.
  • Historical Rapsheet: In addition to the Holocaust, the Nazis are also implied to be responsible for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy, as the date and location of his assassination was broadcast on Holstedder's radio. They also caused the 1977 New York City blackout.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Eva Braun is revealed to be the leader of the Nazi conspiracy to eradicate the minority population of America. Needless to say, the real person never did anything of the kind. Wernher von Braun is also turned into a cackling maniac who gloats over how many people will be killed by the Solution, when in reality he was nowhere near as openly malevolent.
    • Even Adolf Hitler gets this treatment. In addition to his Real Life atrocities, he oversees an international Nazi conspiracy to kill millions of Americans and beats his wife, which there's no evidence he ever did.
  • Informed Attribute: Jonah is supposed to be some kind of analytical genius, and makes a point of telling the Hunters that they need someone with his skills.
  • Karma Houdini: The various Nazis who escaped to America after the war, or in some cases, were permitted in by the American government. Hitler and Eva Braun are revealed to be this as well in the first season finale. Biff escapes Morris' custody and flees the country. While most shown Nazis, including the aforementioned three, are eventually punished, Travis manages to get away in the final episode after being wounded by Joe, with no implication that he'll be caught.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Delivering vengeance to the aforementioned Nazis is the general mission of the Hunters and the general premise of the show. Biff is not immune from this.
    • The Colonel/Eva Braun is killed off in the final episode when she's betrayed and shot by Travis.
    • After years of escaping justice, Hitler is captured alive by Jonah and delivered to the authorities, culminating in a televised trial where he's eventually found guilty and imprisoned for life, with his final scene hammering home how alone he is in prison where he's just another inmate who no-one pays any mind to.
  • Laughably Evil: Biff Simpson's Villain Opening Scene is quite chilling, but with his fake folksy all-American accent and being played by Dylan Baker makes him come off as quite humorous while not undermining he's also a Nazi monster.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It hasn't been clearly established whether certain characters are merely imagining having conversations with their dead loved ones, if they're having legitimate hallucinations of said loved ones, or if they're being visited by spirits/ghosts/otherworldly entities.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: The show averts this by having female Nazis among the antagonists, from unimportant Mooks all the way up to the Big Bad herself (at least until it's revealed that Hitler is still alive), that are no less likely to be killed by the hunters than male Nazis. This reaches its height in the first season's climax, where the hunters destroy the factory that's a front for the Nazis' plan to commit genocide against American racial minorities by overheating vats of virus-laced corn syrup, and both male and female Nazi factory personnel, including the female company CEO, are shown getting horribly burned by the scalding hot syrup shortly before the factory is blown up. Very much Truth in Television, as the show is about escaped Nazis in America, and there were millions of women directly involved in the Third Reich, many of whom didn't adhere to the Reich's official Stay in the Kitchen policies and most escaped justice after the war.
  • Mood Whiplash: A very serious problem for the show. For one side, it behaves like a black humoured Naziexplotation show, with ridiculously over the top antics (like the human chessboard). On the other side, you have dramatic subplots ala Schindler's List, like Murray and Mindy's story, Ruth, some of the backstories, etc. Both are so off tone with the other, that instead of complementing, they confuse each other and the viewer. Not helping is the show's attempts to bring up serious moral dilemmas when every single Nazi is a one dimensional monster with practically no human or redeemable qualities (and jumping from real life atrocities to things like a human chessboard or a plot to kill 12 million Americans) which could make a more realistic and interesting show, given the protagonists are all morally grey antiheroes.
  • Nazi Hunter: The show's main premise.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Whoever built the corn syrup-poisoning plant had the bright idea of building an emergency bunker right underneath the floor with the vats and machinery. And not only that, but have the bunker's air vents being simple slots that directly connect the ceiling with the chemical floor above. The result: scorching corn syrup leaking directly onto the bunker's occupants.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: After a scene depicting government officials debating whether or not to bring Nazi scientists to the States, there is a old-timey graphic stating "Yup, that shit really happened!"
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The woman at Ruth's funeral who chides Jonah for sitting shiva, stating that only "immediate family" are allowed to do so. Both Jonah and Meyer (publicly and privately, respectively) call her on it.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Several examples.
    • Ruth lost Naomi, her daughter, in childbirth.
    • Murray and Mindy lost Aaron, their eldest son, when he was shot by an SS officer.
    • Biff Simpson is a self-inflicted example.
  • The Perry Mason Method: After Hitler's defence does a surprisingly good job, the prosecutor finally manages to catch him out by suggesting that he might lose his popularity with the Neo-Nazis if he didn't actually order the Holocaust, provoking him into a rant where he admits that he's guilty.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: All the Nazis, naturally.
  • Plot-Irrelevant Villain: You can honestly cut out all of Biff's scenes and nothing would change. His plot has little to absolutely nothing to do with the main story and he never even encounters the Hunters until his only scene in season two when he's unceremoniously shot by Jonah. Heck, the Hunters aren’t even aware of him.
  • R-Rated Opening: One of the very first scenes in the series is Biff Simpson slaughtering his entire family after being exposed as a Nazi, with graphic blood spurts to boot.
  • The Reveal:
    • The man believed to be Meyer is actually The Wolf, a Nazi surgeon who killed the real Meyer Offerman and stole his identity.
    • Hitler is still alive and The Colonel is Eva Braun.
  • Ship Tease: Between Jonah and his childhood friend, Carol.
    • Joe and Roxy have a considerable amount of this as well.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Narrowly averted in the penultimate episode, when Travis stabs Lonny. Though he is badly injured, he is not killed.
  • Spot the Imposter: After Meyer kills the Wolf, Jonah realizes he's not reciting the prayer he had promised Ruth he would say when he got his revenge. This leads Jonah to realize Meyer is the Wolf.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: A Double Subverted example. Jonah is said to physically resemble Meyer, his grandfather. While this is initially a Subverted Trope, since the "Meyer" living in the present day is an impostor, flashbacks featuring the real Meyer show that this is more or less true (see Separated-at-Birth Casting in the trivia tab).
  • Western Terrorists: Without a country to rule, this is what the Nazis have become, plotting a bloody comeback through covert acts of violence to pave the way for a "Fourth Reich".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The show never resolves what happens to Travis after he makes his getaway in the final shootout at the end of season two.
  • Wham Shot: The reveal of an aged Hitler, still alive and living with Eva Braun in South America in the first season finale.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Nazis certainly would. They tested their "Solution" bioweapon on dozens of children in Paraguay, and of course murdered many more during the Holocaust, among them Murray and Mindy's son Aaron.