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This gritty new thriller is your next Netflix obsession

Published Aug 20th, 2021 7:34PM EDT
The Defeated Netflix
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The World War II years continue to prove an irresistibly deep fountain of inspiration for writers and artists who continue to produce books, movies, and TV series about the last truly global military conflict. On the streaming front, recent examples include the forthcoming Apple TV+ adaptation of Donald L. Miller’s book Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany. That one will be a sequel to HBO’s much-celebrated Band of Brothers limited series. Other recent examples, among those that are actually streaming now, include Netflix’s The Dig, a movie starring Carey Mulligan about a wealthy landowner on the eve of WWII who hires an archeologist to excavate mounds on her property. Meanwhile, in addition to that one? We’re here to argue you should consider putting The Defeated Netflix series on your list of shows to check out.

The Defeated Netflix series

This new show

deserves credit, right off the bat, for setting itself against the backdrop of a WWII moment in time that often gets overlooked: The aftermath. In this case, the story takes place in the beleaguered German capital city. Per Netflix’s synopsis: “Max McLaughlin (played by Taylor Kitsch) is an American cop who arrives in Berlin in the summer of 1946 to help create a police force in the chaotic aftermath of the war.”

Besides Kitsch, other fantastic additions to the cast include Dexter’s Michael C. Hall, Tuppence Middleton, and Nina Hoss. The latter being a German-born actress who’ll be familiar to fans of Homeland. She’s a standout here as Elise Garten. A former teacher of languages who joins the police force and has to navigate gender politics, among other obstacles.

The Defeated consists of eight episodes, each around 50 minutes long. Episode One is titled First Trick and sets everything up pretty compellingly (I started watching on Thursday). “Arriving in Berlin,” the Netflix summary reads, “Max quickly gets a taste of the violence plaguing the city.”

Meanwhile, “Elsie sets the precinct’s sights on a sinister and elusive crime boss.”


The Defeated

is one of several dozen movies and shows Netflix is releasing throughout August. And it’s already garnering some pretty positive reactions, both from critics as well as viewers. The latter of whom include Twitter users like @ktannenbaum04, who posted on the social network: “Binged Netflix’s The Defeated about the nascent police force in postwar 1946. Thrilling, grisly and compelling.”

Same with Twitter user @GersPunk, who tweeted, “The Defeated on Netflix is bloody good. I love historical dramas.”

Overall, I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of the show thus far. It begins with newsreel footage of Berlin. With the footage showing how the city had been carved up by the Americans as well as Russian, English, and French leaders. So, naturally, the rebuilding process was going to be anything but straightforward.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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