Created by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, the German-English bilingual series ‘The Defeated’ (original title: ‘Shadowplay’) blends police procedural aspects with historical fiction and post-war drama to present a compelling board for audiences. Inspired by the age-old story of ‘Max and Moritz’, the story is set in the aftermath of a larger story – a sense of ending guides the story.
The story follows NYPD cop Max McLaughlin, who comes to Berlin to restore law and order and track down his estranged brother in the devastated city. But as foreign powers vie for control of the ruined city, a drama of relentless fascination ensues. After the gripping finale, questions will no doubt arise in your mind. In that case, let us decipher the last moments for you. SPOILERS FORWARD.
The reports season 1 summary
World War II is over and countries are vying for their grip on a decimated Berlin. Brooklyn-based cop Max McLaughlin flies across the pond to establish a police force in Berlin. Max takes orders from his superior Tom Franklin in Berlin, while Tom’s wife Claire hits him close. Max teams up with semiotics professor turned police officer Elsie Garten and her crew as they attempt to restore law and order in the lawless area of post-war Berlin. Elsie’s team includes young agents Gad and Trude, who help Max with his venture. But the real reason for Max’s visit to Berlin is to find the whereabouts of his older brother Moritz, who has become an unhinged soldier who attacks formidable members of the Nazi.
Upon reaching Berlin, Max realizes that there are many stakeholders. In the aftermath of the war, the city is divided into occupation zones controlled by the Russians, French, Americans and British. Max senses that the early days of the Cold War have already begun, as Russian military officer Alexander Izosimov thinks the war is not over – he has just entered another stage. Meanwhile, the police begin an investigation into Anne Friedrich’s death after retrieving her diary. The investigation leads them to a dilapidated synagogue and a hotel.
After some investigation, Max extracts the name of a certain Angel Maker, a mob boss who puts women in debt forever by helping them. The women (mostly prostitutes) in turn join his ever-growing army. He is a feared and respected name in the city’s shadowy underworld. On the other hand, Karin Mann meets Herman Gladow for penicillin, a rare commodity in post-war Berlin. Karin appears to be involved in the deaths of two American soldiers and a homeless girl, and the police are trying to track her down.
Max’s estranged brother Moritz has made a name for himself as a notorious Nazi murderer and he communicates with Max through letters. Later, he pays a surprising visit to Berta Spiel, former concentration camp guard. Moritz kills Berta after torturing her for a while, while finding his next target in Otto Oberlander, a high-ranking official of the Third Reich. After distracting Moritz’s next move, Max pays him a visit to the house where Moritz is keeping Oberlander locked up. Max tries to thwart Moritz’s plan, but Moritz hits Max hard on the head and Max falls unconscious. Moritz escapes from the premise after carrying out the murder.
Russians get hold of Elsie’s presumed dead husband, Leopold, and Izosimov personally sends a voice recorder to Elsie to take her to his office. Elsie enters the Russian side of town and, after some humiliation by subordinate officers, is taken to Izosimov. Elsie wants nothing more than to meet her husband, while Izosimov seeks information from Elsie about Max McLaughlin and his superior Tom Franklin. Elsie agrees to Izosimov’s terms to catch a glimpse of her husband, albeit without touching him.
The police find out that “Engelmacher” Gladow has a base at a hotel called Alt-Bayern, in Moabit, which is in the British part of the city. Tom tells Max about another NYPD officer named George Miller who trades apparently stolen artifacts to take former Nazi members to safer ground. Gad and Trude spy on Karin to reach the hotel, and Gad brings in a child named Cassandra. Meanwhile, Dr. Gladow makes a devastating attack on the police station, and when Trude is deemed unfit for the operation, Karin intervenes.
The bomb explodes and soon after, a band of militant women wreaks havoc on the officers, but Max gets hold of a machine gun to shoot the women. But a devastating revelation awaits him. Max learns that Tom Franklin is the one helping Nazis flee Germany from stolen artifacts. After the reveal, Max goes to Claire to warn her, and Claire wants to go to London, leaving Tom for justice. After learning about Dr. Gladow in the tunnels below the Weishaupt Institute, law enforcement rushes to bring him in. Gladow denies the charges, but he officially turns to Officer of Special Operations Bob Travis some of the biggest news about the city’s underworld. Meanwhile Claire leaves for London, but when Claire and Tom get in the car, we sense that the car is being driven by none other than Moritz.
Defeated Season 1 Ends: Is Moritz Dead or Alive?
At its core, the story revolves around two brothers, Max and Moritz McLaughlin. The makers update the age-old story and provide a compelling look at decimated post-war Berlin. The makers also rewrite the stories of benign jokes in the background of war. Moritz is the real reason behind Max’s visit to Berlin, and the story of estranged brothers is contextualized with occasional flashbacks. One day, their father grabbed the gun that the brothers had “blessed” and shot their mother to death. When the brothers tried to save their mother, the father threatened to kill Max and Moritz was forced to attack the father.
In his rewritten version of the stories of Max and Moritz, the first chapter is devoted to the Weber brothers. The second chapter is to Berta Spiel and the third to Otto Oberlander. Moritz tries to make Tom Franklin the subject of the fourth chapter and therefore sabotages Tom and Claire’s journey disguised as the driver. Moritz takes Tom to Moritz’s mother’s childhood home, hoping to attack him in the same way as the previous victims. Max, however, rushes to save the day and after making sure Claire is okay, he enters the abandoned house to confront Moritz. Max knows that his brother has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and tries to talk his brother out of the violence.
Failing to discourage Moritz, Max is forced to shoot his brother. While the act seemingly saves Tom Franklin from his deadly fate, Moritz is seemingly dead. But when Max comes down, hoping to find Moritz’s body, he sees no one. The season finale assures us that Moritz has successfully escaped the scene. A farmer and his son rescue him. The story is biblical in relation to the rivalry between brothers, the age-old story of the obedient and the prodigal sons. In the end, the story stops with the reconciling of the estranged brothers. So while Moritz is on the run, we hope the brothers will meet again next season.
Will Leopold return?
In the season finale, another revelation is in store for fans. Towards the start of the season, the Russians get hold of Elsie’s husband, Leopold. Despair then turns Elsie into a double agent, working with both Americans and Russians. She becomes a Russian spy to save her husband and keeps an eye on Tom Franklin as she follows orders from Izosimov. She meets her husband twice over the course of the story, and during their second meeting, Leopold confides in Elsie his plans to escape from prison. It is seemingly impossible to escape from prison and Elsie, frightened, tells Izosimov all about Leopold’s escape plan. Leopold’s associates are killed in the firing line, while Leopold is wounded alone and ends up in the prison hospital.
Izosimov keeps Leopold alive for a political motive – to extract information from Elsie. At first he tries to intimidate Leopold. But then piano tuner Leopold and Izosimov strike up a hearty conversation and Izosimov reveals his mother’s fondness for pianos. Finally, Izosimov frees Leopold from captivity. Elsie finds Leopold on her doorstep while Izosimov says goodbye. The small act expresses a great deal of kindness. Though divided by political interests and nationalities, the two come together in their shared humanity. The rare notations of ‘shadow play’, Bach’s piece, are also given to the violist by Elsie, and in these small acts a glimpse of humanity shines through.
Filmy One (FilmyOne.com) – Exclusive Entertainment Site