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Series / Liquidation

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Liquidation (Russian: Ликвидация, Likvidatsiya) is a Russian 2007 detective/action miniseries with an all-star cast including Vladimir Mashkov, Sergei Makovetsky and Kseniya Rappoport. The action is set in the post-Second World War city of Odessa, where there is a major Nazi conspiracy that seems to puzzle not only the investigation, but even ordinary criminals. The city is on the verge of being thrown into chaos, and Marshal Zhukov, now head of the military district, is forced to use drastic measures against the bandits. Meanwhile Lt. Colonel David Gottsman, chief of criminal investigation unit against banditry, and Colonel Chusov, Head of Counterintelligence, struggle to find the leader of the conspiracy, and the further they get, the more they believe it is a mole among their own people.

The series contains examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: The deaths of Chekan and Ida (treacherously killed by members of their own gang when fleeing the city) are quite tragic, and their bodies being thrown into the same boat (in accordance with the woman's dream the night before) can be a massive tear-jerker. And there's the fact that they have been dreaming of leaving the gang altogether and starting a new life in Turkey from the first episode they appear in, and if it hadn't been for the Academic capturing Ida and pulling I Have Your Wife on Chekan to keep him working, they would have done so.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Both the good guys' and the bad guys' female leads – Nora, Gottsman's sweetheart, and Ida Kashetinskaya, a smugglers' associate, respectively. A stranger shouldn't even think of getting under their shells.
  • Altar the Speed: Nora and Gottsman get married on the night before their plan to bait the Academic since they don’t know whether they’ll survive it.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: Mishka, a homeless boy who helps the investigation, manages to steal the wristwatch from Marshal Zhukov's hand in broad daylight. However, his naturally friendly way leads him to be Easily Forgiven, and even Zhukov lets him keep the watch as a present. Later, Gottsman adopts Mishka.
  • Big Bad: The Academic, the conspiracy's leader. No one seems to know his name or what he looks like. Some would even say he is a mythical figure.
  • Delicious Distraction: Initially thought to be the case with Chekan who can sneak into a sweetshop even in the midst of (or immediately after) a street shooting. Subverted pretty quickly as it is revealed he wasn't buying anything for himself but for his partner Ida.
  • Detective Mole: The Academic a.k.a. Major Vitaly Krechetov. Also one of his minor associates, Luzhov, a soldier.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Victor Platov, who used to serve under Gottsman. He is a notorious gambler, and he deals with the Academic and his superiors, and he used to be an excellent Squadron Leader of the Soviet army. Until the last episode we never find out which side he is truly on.
  • Friendly Enemy. Gottsman is a neighbor and almost friend of one of the city's most wanted thieves, "Uncle Yeshta". He is also a figure of authority among the rest of Odessa's criminals, once even asking them for help with catching the Academic's gang.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Plenty of examples. The Academic himself dotes on his young naive girlfriend, Shtekhel, one of his gang, is genuinely fond of his nephew, and Chekan, another gangster, is in a long-time passionate relationship with Ida.
  • Even Evil Has Standards. The usual criminal bands act according to their own strict set of rules, and their cases can be handled through diplomacy. They are shocked at the Academic's atrocities: after an attempted assassination of Gottsman (a grenade is thrown into his window), Uncle Yeshta firmly says "It's no one of ours."
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: When it's clear, Gottsman begins to suspect all of his closest co-workers. The ones who were Good All Along and who survived the mess in the end.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Gottsman, a classic example.
  • Happily Adopted: Mishka by Gottsman and Nora.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Gottsman lost his family and most of his friends in the war. Throughout the series he loses another of his childhood friends, Fima, and claims it stomped out the last remains of his heart.
  • Loophole Abuse: Gottsman threatens to shoot a crime gang member on the spot because the rule from The 1930s concerning execution without a trial has never been formally outlawed.
    • In a much more heartwarming scene, he reminds his superior that the senior officer’s wartime right to officiate a marriage has never been outlawed either.
  • Mistaken for Cheating. If your partner sneaks out into the night suspiciously frequently, what would you think? Of course he's seeing someone else! You'll never think that in fact he is the Academic.
  • Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters: Uncle Yeshta is well-respected among his neighbors, as well as "the Gray-Haired Greek", a notorious smuggler.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname. Many times.
    • Nora, who took a pseudonym from Ibsen's play after her first husband was shot as a traitor. Her real name, Yelena Bruner, is revealed closer to the end.
    • The Academic. Unless you count that he was always quite well-known as Vitaly Krechetov.
    • Most of the criminals, such as Uncle Yeshta, the Gray-Haired Greek etc. Subverted in Chekan's case as Chekan is his real surname.
  • Reformed Criminal: Fima, a former thief, now actively helps Gottsman's investigation.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: When Gottsman and Krechetov are in the midst of I Know You Know I Know gambit as Gottsman attempts to arrest Krechetov for being the Academic and the latter points out all the clues might also apply to Gottsman himself, a jolly fat woman is singing merry love songs on the background.
  • Sweet Tooth: Ida simply adores cream eclairs.
  • Together in Death: The bodies of Chekan and Ida are thrown into a boat which is then left at sea. Ida has a dream about it the night before, and says that it doesn't matter where they are as long as they're together.
  • Villainous BSoD: Shtekhel goes through it when he sends his nephew to his death on the Academic's orders. He falls into a chair, muttering "That's how it is", and later he is shown weeping.
    • The Academic himself has one when he stabs his pregnant lover in the belly after she finds him out. He attempts to call an ambulance and then sits, horrified, by her side, putting his hand on her stomach. Later he asks Shtekhel what the latter had felt at the nephew's death, and when Shtekhel lies he stopped feeling long ago, the Academic calls him lucky.


Video Example(s):


You've Come to Arrest Me?

Spoilers for "Liquidation".

Krechetov realizes Gottsman suspects him of being behind the crimes they investigate. He tells him about it, while a cheerful singer sings a whimsical song in the background.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SoundtrackDissonance

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