By Valerie Milano
Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/18/17 – BERLIN STATION is an American espionage drama starring Richard Armitage as an American CIA agent who is stationed in (you guessed it!) Berlin. A ten-episode first season premiered on Epix on October 16th, 2016. On November 17th, 2016, Epix renewed BERLIN STATION for a ten-episode second season that premiered on Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at 9 p.m.
BERLIN STATION from Paramount Television and Anonymous Content was discussed at the Epix TCA Press Tour panel held on Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Jocelyn Diaz introduced BS Showrunner/Executive Producer Bradford Winters and new Season 2 talents Keke Palmer and Ashley Judd. The show was still being produced in Berlin.
BERLIN STATION has stood out from the first for its painstakingly realistic portrayal of the CIA and up to the minute relevance that places it firmly in the zeitgeist of the 21st century. The action-packed second season opened just ahead of a pivotal election in Germany set against the backdrop of the rise of the Far Right in Europe.
Keke Palmer was glad to do something so different that was also so up to date. “I was really excited about tackling something through entertainment that is topical to what’s going on today,” she said. Ashley Judd added, “I felt that [my BS character] BB Yates was such a leader. . .the type of woman that the world needs now. . .in the 21st century.”
Now being such a pacifistic society after the horrors of World War II, Germany is absolutely terrified about the rise of even a small group of ultra right wingers as one of the audience members rightly pointed out. Bradford Winters said that their German production crew had given a very affirmative response to BERLIN STATION’S treatment of these complex and sensitive issues. The crew loved the scripts because they seemed so true to life.
Another audience question concerned the Cold War of the 60s and 70s and whether we should be even more afraid now than we were then of all the intrigue connected with counterintelligence. Bradford Winters said that with the advent of technology and shift in geopolitics, today’s landscape is much more fluid and chameleonic. The macro entities and “good vs. bad” mindset of yesteryear have definitely changed with the times.
Winters cited John le Carré as a primary influence in the pilot and in the shaping of the world of the show. “It was more in literature than in film that the show. . .finds some of its truest roots,” he said.
“We did not have help from the CIA. We have a consultant who used to work in the CIA,” said Winters in conclusion. BERLIN STATION is not officially endorsed by the CIA.
Ashley Judd pointed out that the city of Berlin itself becomes a character in the show with reference made to such events as the bombing of the Kaiser Wilhelm ruin during WW II and the bombing of the Berlin Christmas Market on December 19th, 2016. Judd also alluded to the classic Gene Hackman mystery thriller “The Conversation” directed by Francis Ford Coppola with supporting performances by Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Harrison Ford, Teri Garr, and Cindy Williams that was felt to be a cinematic response to the Nixon Watergate scandal.
Ashley Judd has never been shy about playing a “badass” on screen! “It is a little scary because there are plenty of people who would like to squelch the general badassery of strong women everywhere,” she said.
When asked, “Does badassery still continue to allow you to be a troublemaker?” Judd responded, “Of course. And I think that the trouble is misogyny, so we’re just responding to it in empowered ways.”
In that spirit, let us consider the second season of BERLIN STATION this fall! We can watch the watchdogs–women AND men. For added excitement, you can visit the BS site and begin your very own espionage operation: