EPIX’s original espionage intelligence drama Berlin Station follows Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage), who has just arrived at the CIA station in Berlin, Germany with a mission to determine the identity of a now-famous whistleblower masquerading as someone else. During the show’s presentation at the TCA conference – which also saw the unveiling of a new trailer which you can watch above – a question arose of whether there were any concerns to being compared to critically acclaimed drama Homeland, the fifth season of which also took place in Berlin.
Creator and EP Olen Steinhauer admitted to some initial concerns, as both shows center on intelligence, but maintained that the two shows were different. “A crucial difference ,” he pointed out, “is that in Homeland, you’re following Carrie. She is the focus. It is her drive that gets things done.” Steinhauer insisted that was “not how intelligence works.” “Intelligence is networking,” he contended. “Intelligence is multiple people working together. [Berlin Station] was always supposed to show how normal people with an abnormal job” function and “they have to work together… There are no superheroes. Intelligence is an ensemble.”
Another difference Steinhauer mentioned is in the portrayal of Berlin. “In Berlin Station, Berlin is a character,” he said. “This story can only happen in Berlin. We were insistent on keeping things real. We want Berliners to be able to watch this show and say ‘oh I know this place.’ Homeland’s Berlin could happen in any city. Berlin Station can only happen in one place.”
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When asked about the concern over espionage content, particularly if there remain any more good stories since the fall of the Berlin Wall, EP/Showrunner Brad Winters was adamant that there still are stories left to tell about the city. “Berlin, being a city with such a layer of history just in the 20th Century alone, we found really lends itself to the espionage genre, which of course deals with such existential questions of human identity and the mask that we all wear, not just spies,” he said. In Berlin, he added, the creatives were able to find a vast number of “places to explore all those themes.” Winters continued, “When we told people about the show for the first time, everybody assumed it will be a period piece.” People “were surprised it was about contemporary Berlin. Part of that renewal is right in line with this show’s return to very classic form of the spy drama.”
Joining Steinhauer and Winters on the panel were EP Keith Redmon, and castmembers Richard Armitage (Daniel Miller), Rhys Ifans (Hector DeJean), Richard Jenkins (Steven Frost), Michelle Forbes (Valerie Edwards), Leland Orser (Robert Kirsch), Tamlyn Tomita (Sandra Abe), Mina Tander (Esther Krug).
The 10 hour-long episodes are set to air October 16.
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