Martin/Moritz may have reluctantly agreed to become a spy on Deutschland 83, but the kid is really, really good at his job.
One important trope of the spy genre is that the hero will be good at the job, even if s/he shouldn’t be. Archer and James Bond do not let alcohol or sexaholism1 get in the way of completing their missions. Maxwell Smart and Austin Powers may be bumblers, but they fall into saving the world from KAOS and Evil on the regular. In the case of Moritz Stamm on Deutschland 83, he is the equivalent of an espionage prodigy contending with his extreme discomfort of the West to get the job done. For that, I nominate Stamm for employee of the year.
This week’s mission requires Stamm to plant a bug in the hotel room of NATO chief Herbert Mayer (Jens Albinus) and recover top secret documents from his hotel safe during a state dinner. There are several obstacles along the way.
First, Stamm encounters Nina (Lena Lauzemis), disguised as a housekeeper, ready to shoot him in the face upon check-in at the target hotel when she tries to blow his cover. Stamm sticks to his story, impressing Nina that he will not crack at gunpoint. Neat!
Stamm has almost no trouble planting the bug in Mayer’s room. However, American General Jackson barges in and whines about his less-than-impressive view. Mayer, too preoccupied with his presentation, offers to switch rooms. Stamm demonstrates quick thinking in getting the bug out of one room and into the target room with no detection.
The next major complication comes from Stamm’s commanding officer General Edel. Mrs. Edel has not heard from their daughter Yvonne and wants hubby to bring her home from university in Cologne. Edel sends his son Alex and Stamm to handle the task. The problem here is the trip will take a while and may prevent Stamm from getting the docs from Mayer’s safe. At the university, we learn that Yvonne joined some hippie singing group and goes by Devita now. Alex gets into a fight with a friend of Devita’s, but Stamm tells Yvonne that her mom is worried since they haven’t spoken in a while. Problem solved, though we don’t know if Yvonne is still hanging with hippies.
Back at the hotel, Stamm has to come up with a plan B to get into Mayer’s new room. Nina had stolen a key for the old room, but told Stamm he’s on his own for this new wrinkle. Moritz is able to get to Mayer’s room by going out the window and sidling along the roof. Once inside things seem to go fine until he tries the passcode on the safe. New room, new passcode. Stamm has to break the safe out of its console and do a manual reset, all while the East German comm team listens in. Stamm cracks the safe and discovers the documents are in a format he doesn’t recognize. “It’s a square with a hole in it?” I love a well-executed floppy disk joke. The comm team figures out what he is referring to and signals their contact for the handoff, which goes smoothly. So far Stamm is aces in only his second mission.
Where Stamm falters involves a woman he met earlier in the day. The waitress at the hotel restaurant asked Stamm what room he is in so she can bill the meal. When Stamm returns from his safe-cracking escapade, the woman is wrapped in a blanket in his bed. He reminds her that he has a girlfriend, but that’s not what she’s here for. She removes the needle holding her hair in place and hand-to-hand combat ensues. The fight gets rather violent, but Stamm is able to subdue his attacker by throwing her over the balustrade overlooking the lobby. She manages to run away, but there is a lot of blood and commotion. The lesson here: don’t give your actual room number to anyone. Also, the hotel needs to do more thorough background checks if both Nina and this lady are able to get jobs in room service.
Despite this setback, Stamm is able to pin any other shenanigans that happen that night on his attacker, just in case Mayer complains about his missing disk. All in all, Stamm has settled into his role as superspy quite nicely, though the impending threat he is trying to prevent continues to escalate.
Next week on Deutschland 83: lots of sound effects.
- Sexahol? ↵