The East German authorities built the Berlin Wall to stop people from escaping to West Germany. Most of the 155 km wall was made up of 3.6m high concrete panels while the rest was barbed wire. A heavily guarded no man’s land (the title of the episode!) known as the “death strip” ran along the Eastern side of the Wall. More than 7,000 East German soldiers manned the watchtowers and the bunkers. It was the best-lit area in Berlin thanks to the lamp posts every 30 meters. In addition, there were alarms, ditches, barbed wire, guard dogs and weapons that automatically fired shots at the escapers.
A Spy Among Friends finale opens at one of the seven crossing points between East Berlin and West Berlin. As I try to understand who is in the car approaching the checkpoint to get into East Berlin…
Continue reading “A Spy Among Friends, Episode 6: No Man’s Land”
A Spy Among Friends is the kind of show where one should pay attention to every detail. For me, this extends to episode titles. Snow. It is a polysemous word. The first thing that comes to mind when snow is concerned is, of course, the small white pieces of ice that sometimes fall from the sky when it is cold. However, as a verb, snow also means to deceive or trick someone with persuasive talk. And it is exactly what spies do, isn’t it? So it snows in Moscow in this episode while the spies keep snowing each other 🙂
Continue reading “A Spy Among Friends, Episode 5: Snow”
The Russian National drink names this episode and is a recurring theme in the story.
Important morning in Moscow for Philby. He has an appointment at Lubyanka, the KGB headquarters, for his debrief. The CIA agents are watching him dress up from the CIA safe house across from his apartment. As he prepares to leave, Philby remembers the press conference he had 10 years ago to deny the accusation that he was responsible for helping Donald MacLean and Guy Burgess escape to the USSR. Continue reading “A Spy Among Friends, Episode 4: Vodka”
Allegory of the Catholic Faith is a painting by the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. The painting, housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 1931, depicts a woman with one foot on top of a globe representing the dominance of the Catholic Church across the world. The Crucifixion scene on the wall is based on a painting by the Flemish artist Jacob Jordaens that Vermeer had in his collection.
The painting makes such a fitting title for this episode since the episode does not only have a direct connection to the painting itself but also to the Catholic faith as well as to the Crucifixion.
Continue reading “A Spy Among Friends, Episode 3: Allegory of the Catholic Faith”
Elliott: Do you remember The Admiral’s Glass?
Philby: The Admiral’s what?
Elliott: Glass. By Southwark Bridge.
As her husband picks up the carrots he grew in their London backyard, Lily listens and re-listens to the Beirut tapes. What happened at The Admiral’s Glass? And why on earth is Philby seriously alarmed when an ambulance with sirens on arrives at their building? Continue reading “A Spy Among Friends, Episode 2: The Admiral’s Glass”