Part Cold War spy thriller, part family drama, German-Czech co-production The Same Sky has premiered in the US, UK, and the rest of Netflix’s English-language territories.
Set the divided Berlin of the 1970s (about a decade before the time periods of Deutchland 83 and Weissensee), The Same Sky (Der Gleiche Himmel) tells the interconnected stories of families and individuals on both sides of the wall.
The six-part miniseries stars Tom Schilling (Generation War, NSU: German History X) as Lars Weber, an ambitious and accomplished 25-year-old East German lieutenant whose first major assignment for the Ministry of State Security is as a “Romeo” agent in the West. His mission is to “cultivate sexual relations” with his target and get classified intelligence information for the GDR.
That target is Lauren Faber (Sofia Helin, The Bridge, Arn: The Knight Templar), a lonely 43-year-old divorcée of British and Swedish descent with a rebellious teen-aged son, years of celibacy, and a job as a high-ranking British intelligence analyst at the NSA listening post at Devil’s Mountain in West Berlin.
Directing Lars every step of the way is his handler, Ralf Müller (Ben Becker, Bukow and König, Tatort), a burly, no-nonsense operative for the Ministry of State Security. Between tailing Lauren, planting bugs in her home, and meeting regularly with Lars for status updates, there isn’t anything about the mission that Ralf doesn’t know.
Back in East Berlin, Lars’ father Gregor (Jörg Schüttauf, Tatort), a committed socialist who has hidden certain truths of their family from Lars, is keeping tabs on his neighbors and factory staff and recruiting others to do the same for the State. Gregor’s brother Conrad (Godehard Giese, Deutschland 83), a teacher, lives across the hall in a loveless marriage with Gita (Anja Kling, Hotel Adlon), who sees their younger daughter Klara (Stephanie Amarell, Armans Geheimnis), a talented swimmer who earns a spot on the State’s elite team, as the family’s ticket to a better life.
The science teacher at Conrad’s school is Axel Lang (Hannes Wegener, Bukow and König), a gay man who longs to escape to the West, especially after meeting the well-travelled Briton, Duncan March (Richard Pepper, Law & Order: UK). As luck would have it, Axel might found have a way out, thanks to Tobias Preuss (Daniel Zillmann, World of Wolfram). They’d had a one-night stand a while back, before Tobias got involved with a small group trying to dig their way out of East Germany.
Lars’ mission is moving along well: Lauren is attracted, sex happens, and Lars can now play her even more to get the intelligence info. But then there’s a major setback. The mission is about to be aborted and Lars is set to return home, until Ralf’s new instructions are for Lars to play Romeo to a new target: Sabine Cutter (Friederike Becht, Hannah Arendt, Marie’s Mind for Murder), the daughter of a German mother and a senior-level American NSA officer (whose secrets aren’t limited to international intelligence) and the late Lauren’s colleague on the American side of the intelligence ops.
As the stories progress, questions arise, realizations occur, and surprises await…
(Note: The trailer below contains scenes of a sexual nature. Viewer discretion is advised.)
A production of UFA Fiction and Beta Film for ZDF, in co-production with Mia Film and in association with Rainmark Films, The Same Sky is created and written by BAFTA winner Paula Milne (The Politician’s Wife) and directed by Oscar® nominee Oliver Hirschbiegel (Five Minutes of Heaven). The series features Jascha Rust (In aller Freundschaft) as Lauren’s son, Steven Brand (Secrets and Lies) and Claudia Michelsen (Berlin Station) as Sabine’s parents, and Muriel Wimmer (Die Himmelsleiter) as Klara’s older sister.
The Same Sky is now streaming (in German with English subtitles) on Netflix in all of its English-language territories.