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SS-GB recap: Episode 1 brings us Nazis, intrigue and murder

Sam Riley in SS-GB
Sam Riley as Detective Superintendent Archer in SS-GB

SS-GB, a new drama from the BBC, brings us an alternate history for the outcome of the Battle Of Britain, which took place in 1941. In the series, the Germans won the battle for air superiority and took power in the UK.

SS-GB picks up the story 14 months after the invasion of Britain and centres on Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer (Sam Riley).

When a murder at an antiques store sparks the curiosity of SS Officer Dr. Oskar Huth (Lars Eidinger), Archer is put in the unenviable position of not only solving the crime, but also having to report back to Huth with his findings.

Archer’s position is made that bit more complex given that he has a few ties to the UK’s resistance movement, which means he’s literally having to tap dance across a Nazi bureaucracy full of potential land mines while simply trying to do his job.

Further complicating things is the fact that Archer’s partner Sergent Harry Woods (James Cosmo) is suspected to be resistance. Added to all this is the fact that one of the resistance leaders —  a one-armed man — has taken an interest in Archer and has placed himself within easy striking distance of Archer’s son. Which sees Archer rushing off to stop the man from getting to his son by the close of the episode.

A German Officer in SS-GB
A German Officer brutally brings some order while Archer investigates the crime scene

At present, it’s not fully clear where the mystery and investigation is going, but we do have an inkling as to why Huth is so interested in the murder victim.

First off the Victim was found in an antiques store, which is a known to be a front for the resistance, but most interesting of all is the fact that the murder victim was a scientist.

The series also brings us a bit of Hollywood glamour in the form of Kate Bosworth who plays American Journalist Barbara Barge.

We get a brief scene near the beginning of the episode in which we see Barbara heading toward the antiques store, but leaving as soon as she sees the police. This gets Archer curious, who follows and asks her a few questions, but she gives very little away.

This first episode set the scene brilliantly. We got some impressive period costume and the production values are top notch.

The series is based on Len Deighton’s acclaimed 1978 novel and has been adapted for television by James Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

SS-GB Episode 1: Questions we were left asking

  1. Why is Huth so interested in the murder victim?
  2. What kind of scientific endeavour was the victim involved in and why was Barbara Barge looking for him?
  3. Are the resistance looking to try and recruit Archer by using his son as leverage?

SS-GB airs every Sunday on BBC 1 at 9pm UK time.

Ian Cullen is a TV journalist and when not writing for monstersandcritics.com runs his own website SciFiPulse. He has also written for Star Trek Magazine.... read more

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