Spy/Master

Spy Master season 1

Credits

Cast

Network

Reviewer

Kennedy Unthank

TV Series Review

It’s 1978. And for Victor Godeanu, the Cold War is heating up.

Victor is the personal security advisor for Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, but he’s also got a secret: he’s a mole offering intelligence to the Soviet Union’s KGB. And though Victor’s been careful, he’s learning that just being careful isn’t enough to stay safe anymore.

He’s soon informed of film that shows him revealing Romanian state secrets to the Soviet Union’s Gen. Shakarov. And though his contacts have managed to destroy the evidence, they’re confident that whoever took the film made copies. It won’t be long before it falls into Ceaușescu hands. That’s bad news for Victor, since the U.S.S.R. likes to tie up loose ends—and because Ceaușescu already suspects that someone close to him is playing dirty.

“Lately, I have a feeling I’m surrounded by spies, saboteurs and traitors,” Ceaușescu says, ending his statement by declaring his intent to hang such traitors with his own two hands.

With few options remaining, Victor heads to the United States Embassy in Bonn, West Germany, hoping to defect. But defecting will take time—time that Victor doesn’t have, especially when he has to ensure that his family will be able to escape, too.

And all Victor can do is scheme and hope.

Spy of all Trades, Master of None

HBO’s Spy/Master reminds the viewer of all the reasons they sort of wanted to be a spy: the hidden messages; the neat, disguised gadgets; the slick suits. But this show also reminds us of what knocked that desire out of most of us: the constant paranoia that someone is just a camera click away from destroying your subterfuge. And with it, your life and the lives of those you love.

That paranoia isn’t unmerited. People are catching on to Victor’s schemes. And many of them think he’d look a lot better under six feet of freshly shoveled dirt.

To that end, viewers should expect some violence to be spattered about this normally calm-yet-tense watch. As for Plugged In’s own counterintelligence, it reveals that the first two episodes contain two people who are gunned down. Other content in the TV-MA show is, predictably, of the sexual and profane variety.

This spy thriller certainly provides a compelling and interesting plot to follow. But don’t allow this double agent to catch you off guard with its concerns.

Episode Reviews

May 19, 2023 – S1, Ep1: “The Hunting Party”

Victor arrives at the U.S. embassy in West Germany with the hope of defecting from Romania, but complications arise during his trip.

A car crash occurs, after which men walk over to the site of the crash and gun down the driver; we later see the bloody body in black-and-white photographs. A man is shot in the back of the head and killed as he attempts to walk away, and we see the man collapse to the ground. Someone mentions that they plan to hang a traitor. Nicolae shoots and kills a bear.

There’s a subtle reference to an affair. We see a lot of smoking. Characters also consume liquor.

The f-word are s-word are each used twice. We also hear occasional uses of “d–n,” “h—” and “crap.” God’s name is abused once.

May 19, 2023 – S1, Ep2: “The Survival Story”

Victor reunites with an old lover, and some people discover evidence of Victor’s schemes.

Victor and a past lover named Ingrid lie in bed after implied sex—an affair on Victor’s end. Ingrid is seen in a revealing bra and underwear. We hear another reference to sex later on. Victor and Ingrid kiss. We also see Victor in a towel at a spa.

A man is found hanging in his jail cell after he has committed suicide (though we hear the suggestion that his death also could have been a murder).

People smoke, and others drink liquor or wine. Victor’s wife apparently has a drinking problem.

The f-word and s-word are each used twice. We also hear the occasional use of “b–ch,” “d–n” and “b–tard.” God’s name is abused once in the form of “g-dd–n.” Jesus’ name is used in vain once.

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kennedy-unthank
Kennedy Unthank

Though he was born in Kansas, Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics and hermeneutics. He doesn’t think the ending of Lost was “that bad.”

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