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7.5
" gives "Kleo - Season 1" a 7.5."
Written by on 22 June 2024.
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Kleo - Season 1

Kleo; Only the birds fly from East to West Berlin...

I recently read on the unsurpassed website MySeries.nl that the second season of the German series Kleo will be released on Netflix at the end of July. This series has been on my 'to-watch list' for a while, accompanied by series such as Fallout, Accused (US), Masters of the Air, Fargo, The Boys and many others. As a somewhat serial addict, it feels good to have some supply.

My interest in 19th-century history means that I devour series with this theme. Some examples: Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter (2013) Babylon Berlin (2017-2022) and, if you will forgive me for a foray into the film genre, Im Westen nichts Neues (2022). A series like Kleo should not be missing from this list.

Kleo Straub (Jella Haase) is an East German spy who has been completely indoctrinated by the GDR regime. In addition to brutal violence, Kleo uses extremely resourceful methods in dealing with traitors. In her eyes, she lives in a utopia with Genossen (comrades) who have no interest in the West and especially the West German neighbors. The average GDR citizen considers West Germany to be a capitalist and extremely depraved country. Kleo is part of an elite group and is thoroughly trained in infiltrating, disrupting and liquidating influential people from the west. But what happens when someone like Kleo Straub is betrayed by her own comrades? The theme is betrayal and revenge. It's always a pleasure to watch a revenge quest, especially if the avenger has certain talents or qualities. Think of the special powers of The Boys, or the brute strength of Reacher, the cunning of Emily (Emily van Camp) in Revenge and the indifferent activities of Micheal Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

The differences between the GDR and the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) are large. In East Germany there is a tightly managed communist regime, controlled by the Ministry for State Security (Stasi). The Stasi is in every conceivable capillary of the country, everyone is cautious and suspicious. Due to years of indoctrination, the fall of the wall was a shock for many residents of the GDR, something they found difficult to deal with. The same goes for Kleo.

genossen, immer bereit!

The plot is well developed. The viewer is taken to Berlin, Spain and Chile. The era of the late 80s is beautifully depicted. A lot of computer-generated images will have been used, but real elements have also inevitably been used, such as the Wartburg car in which Kleo drives. The contrasts between East and West Germany become clearly visible when Kleo comes into contact with the clumsy, somewhat sleazy fraud inspector Sven Petzhold (Dimitrij Schaad). He is always shocked when Kleo once again kills someone in a skillful and cold-blooded manner, which he witnesses. This leads to somewhat humorous scenes. Although German humor, but still. Sometimes, in my opinion, the point is missed in that area. An example of this is the role of Thilo (Julius Feldmeier), who plays a supporting role that is unclear to me as a complete weirdo. The scenario is well developed but not always believable. However, a well-developed flashback to Kleo's youth deserves a compliment.

I learned from Mandy and Peter from the MySeries podcast that you should always watch a few episodes of a series to determine whether or not you should continue watching. That's good advice in Kleo's case. It takes a few episodes before you are gripped by the story. But once through the cold water, a warm bath follows: good plot twists, good acting and a nice portrayal of the times. I'm looking forward to the second season. I give the series a high enough score: 7.5……
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