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”
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”
“Don’t take your eyes off this star-packed espionage thriller.” – Guardian
Kim Philby is arguably the most famous – or should I say infamous? – secret agent of all times. He may not be as well known as James Bond, but in contrast to 007, Philby was a real-life spy and the most successful member of the Cambridge Five, a group of spies recruited by the Russians to pass information from the UK to the Soviet Union during the Second World War through 1950s. A charming and brilliant Cambridge graduate, he quickly rose to the top of the counterintelligence unit at the MI6. He became the head of the anti-Soviet unit, served as the MI6 chief in Istanbul and ultimately became MI6’s Washington-based liaison with the CIA. Having his confidantes at MI6 and becoming close friends with James Angleton, a rising star at the CIA . While his betrayal got some of his colleagues into big trouble and took several Soviet defectors to their deaths, nobody suspected Philby for years. And when some at the MI5 flagged him, his colleagues at the MI6 and the CIA came to the rescue. When they finally had the evidence to confront him, Philby had already provided secret information to the Soviets for 30 years! Continue reading “TOP Damian Lewis Moments 2022: A Spy Among Friends”
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”