DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

MONIQUE NAZARETH

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
There Are No Free Agents in Epix' CIA Drama 'Berlin Station'
October 16, 2016  | By Ed Bark  | 1 comment
 

Epix very much wants to be a player in a standing room only league of rival networks and streamers that already have made their marks with standout scripted programming.

It’s taken quite a while. But now come Epix’s first two original series of note -- Graves and Berlin Station. Preceded by a concerted promotional campaign, they arrive Sunday night at the close of a free preview weekend. Graves is the showier of the two, with Nick Nolte front and center as a former president seeking to atone for being the “worst ever.” Berlin Station has a better grip on itself, though, as a skulk-around spy drama set in contemporary times. Both have 10-episode first seasons.


In the case of Berlin Station, there’s lately too much of this going around -- not spy dramas per se, but the apparent killing of a principal character in the opening segment before a rewind to earlier events.

This time it’s “Two Months Earlier” in Panama, where CIA officer Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage) is traipsing through the jungle before finding something valuable. He’s soon reassigned to Berlin with a mission to track down a dangerous leaker of CIA secrets known as “Thomas Shaw.”

Everything that ensues in the two Berlin Station episodes sent for review isn’t always completely understandable in terms of following the bouncing storyline. But the basic task is clear enough. Shaw must be identified and then stopped by any means necessary.

The cast is first-rate, with Oscar nominee and Emmy Winner Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Olive Kitteridge) in his usual fine form as station chief Steven Frost. Increasingly feeling undermined, he’s encouraged to retire by his wife, Kelly (Caroline Goodall) and encouraged in other ways during liaisons with his secretary, Sandra Abe (Tamlyn Tomita).

Also more or less working for Frost are ambitious internal branch chief Valerie Edwards (Michelle Forbes), officious deputy chief Robert Kirsch (Leland Orser) and veteran case officer Hector DeJean (Rhys Ifans), who turns out to be -- well, never mind.

ISIS (or ISIL as used in Berlin Station) also factors into these webs of intrigue. So there’s a lot at stake, and not a lot of laughs.

Filmed in Berlin and the Canary Islands, Berlin Station has both an authentic look and feel. As with most cloak-and-dagger dramas, there’s a lot of following around while the mind games escalate and the sound track remains stuck in the key of ominous. Berlin Station so far looks like a series worth riding out, with Jenkins, Armitage, Ifans and Forbes all making strong contributions to the cause.


 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Jim Longley
Where do I find the Epix network? I use, reluctantly & unhappily, Comcast as my cable connection.
Oct 17, 2016   |  Reply
 
Linda Donovan
Jim -- Epix is a premium network that I don't think Comcast is offering as part of their lineup right now, but you can check out their website at epix.com to find out more information.
Oct 18, 2016
 
 
 
 
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