Hard to believe that I wrote about the spectacular German TV series The Weissensee Saga 3 years ago. Here I am back for season 4. This is the story of the Kupfer family, East Berliners in the 80s-90s. When the series begins, senior Stasi officer Hans Kupfer (Uwe Kockisch) and his wife Marlene (Ruth Reinecke), live in a large lakeside home in the prestigious Weisensee neighbourhood. They have two sons, the very nasty, ambitious Falk (Jörg Hartmann), and divorced Martin (Florian Lukas) who has a mind of his own. Falk, who is also a Stasi officer, is (unhappily) married to Vera (Anita Loos) and they have one child, Roman, together. Both sons live with their parents, and while Vera, thanks to life with Falk, is literally falling to pieces under the eyes of the Kupfers, it’s interpreted as ‘her problem’–something she needs to fix.
Over the course of the series, we see how policeman Martin tries to break away from his family and his Stasi-connected ex-wife. When Martin becomes involved with the gentle Julia Hausmann (Hannah Herzsprung), all hell breaks loose. Julia is the daughter of dissident singer, Djuna, a one-time love interest of Hans Kupfer and now Djuna, in spite of her ex-lover’s protection, is under Stasi surveillance. Marlene and Falk Kupfer are opposed to Martin’s relationship with Julia–it’s partly personal but also this is potentially fatal for Falk’s career.
The Weissensee Saga examines how the tendrils of Stasi surveillance infiltrated every aspect of East German life. Emotionally twisted Falk’s vicious determination to destroy Martin’s relationship with Julia has tragic and far-reaching consequences.
Series 3 takes us to the fall of the Berlin Wall, so series 4 finds the Kupfers in a whole new Germany. It’s hard to say just who has the harder time here–the older generation who hide their Stasi past, the middle generation who try to find footholds in the new economy, or the younger generation who suddenly have freedoms they never dreamed of. Series 4 shows the wolves at the doors as East Berliners, after initial euphoria, cope with economic and social shock. Workers in an economy that can no longer compete, lose their jobs, while others fall prey to various slick conmen. We see how a couple of cheeky entrepreneurs manage while other East Berliners are treated like second-class citizens in their own country. Of course, the Big Question here is what will happen to the Stasi elite? Will they pay for their crimes? Will the Stasi files be opened? Many Stasi submerge and then reemerge in prime positions in the New Germany all-too ready to throw their old Stasi skill set into capitalism. The Kupfer family continue to be divided and loyalties are thrown into question once more as some family members throw others to the wolves.