Comrade Detective (TV Series 2017– ) Poster

(2017– )

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Something of a hidden gem. An almost impossible thing to watch without some context
raares4 August 2017
Yes I am from Romania, so maybe I am a little biased. But this show made me remember some times which were hard for us but for me as a kid, were some of the happiest in my life. If you like history, or have lived and "enjoyed" communism in your life,or you are from Romania and can appreciate a smart TV show, then this is something that will make you an instant fan. Having said that, this is maybe too niche in a word dominated by superpower shows , horrible murders TV episodes or MTV Ridiculousness like shows. The so called "found footage of lost TV shows" mixed with the propaganda tag that the so-called founders are putting on it is for once exactly what the show is . This is a propaganda TV series about 2 cops trying to find the killer of their detective friend and fighting with the West Communism ideology in a 1980's Bucharest Romania ( still under the strong arm of the communist party ). It recreates a 80's propaganda atmosphere with minute attention to details that only a few might fully appreciate like for example the televised chess matches, the Nadia Comaneci craze , the old Dacia cars, the clothes that the actors are wearing, the police methods , the guns , the over-repetition of communism ideals and tropes, the demonizing of the west. While I agree that the show "looks too good " for the so-called propaganda style, I quickly forgot about it while watching. Don't expect over the top villains or action ( although it does have a lot of it ). It's like watching the first Expendables. All the 80s glory with all the new that the present has to offer. But from the other side of Iron Curtain. The show is what Miami Vice would have been if made in Romania before the fall of communism. I would give it a 10/10 just for the aftertaste and for making me smile so wide but I am giving it a 9 just to try and curb my enthusiasm. I am pretty sure it's not going to be the next GOT, but I am pretty sure it will develop a small but devoted cult following. I love the actors and they are doing a very good job. Special kudos for the big names in Hollywood which were involved for the dubbing. It was the biggest surprise I had this year.
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Great Kitsch throwback fun with a twist
triplex3766 August 2017
No one is being exploited. Every actor that was involved got the double, double, entendre. It is done so straight faced, however, that it only adds to the elements of comedy and drama. This is wonderful, clever, television.

The bare faced communist propaganda presented so matter of factly, viewed now through the lens of history, is gold. The take on the 1980's buddy cop scenario played out hundreds of times in American Films and TV is incongruous to the 'behind the iron curtain' setting but, in being so, works. The material is a cartoon style take on the threats communist Romania may have faced from the West. The dialogue is done in an American style with Eastern European content - again this adds to the unlikely seriousness.

The whole six episodes are a blended mix of the above ingredients. The dubbing into English adds to this the idea of a throw back to another era. The camera direction is superb. The whole thing from start to finish riffs on all of the above elements to provide gloriously knowing entertainment.

The show also manages to add in ideas that will make you think on the whole failed communist experiment but also makes you think on the failures of the capitalist experiment that we are living.

That whole thing nearly, completely, failed too around 2008.
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Unique & Fresh
rpgatewood4 August 2017
Wow, this is a great new show. Bravo to Amazon for taking a risk on this – and it must have been a risk if only from a marketing standpoint considering how the writers have blurred the lines between different genres and tropes. The amazing thing is how well it works. Satire is so hard to pull of convincingly, and yet Comrade Detective pulls this off AND develops a gripping cop- procedural/thriller at the same time. This is nifty, ingenious artistry, and you can tell how the whole crew threw themselves into the project. The directing is sharp and moody, the Romanian actors are incredible, the dubbing cast hilarious... even the score is remarkable – a true orchestral sound with real themes and variations the likes of which you don't hear much anymore, even in big screen films. The writing is a masterful mix of the ham-fisted comedy that marked this era's (1980's) cop dramas and subtle satire that works on multiple levels – it lampoons both Western capitalism and Eastern communism but does so in a way that is never snarky or mean-spirited. All of which is to say that even though it's high-concept, it's got a big heart. The only thing left to do now is wait for Season Two... Please, Amazon, you got behind something unique & fresh, keep giving the people what they want!
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This series is hilarious!
kgrovebruce1 September 2017
This series pokes fun at both Western and Communist societies, and there are so many quick one-liners it keeps you on your toes trying to catch them all. Brilliantly done, clever and lots of fun. The costumes and scenery are authentic and spot on. It was hard not to watch them all in one sitting, they are that addictive. Please make another season!
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Comrade Detective turned to be an ingenious show
VicDann22 August 2017
I was a little skeptic about the idea of dubbing the original actors, which by the way, they speak my native language, but turned out that they added a cool flavor by going this way and really hardened the idea of propaganda. Although, I ultimately see it as a comedy, this shows is an example of how television affects politics; communism propaganda with all its portraying in the show makes it clear. Nevertheless the same propaganda happened in capitalist US as well, for example there "Russian bad guy" in movies, and still happens today all over countries, but is more sublime, its mechanism has evolved.

Overall is a good show to watch, ingenious and unique; give it a try, you will have a nice blend mashup when "digested".
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Brilliant Parody
mdesteptu10 August 2017
Smart and funny comedy and an absurd story keeping you surprisingly engaged!

After the first scenes, some might initially wonder about what's going on in front of their eyes and stop watching rating this movie as "garbage". I advise them to go back and reconsider: this movie is a brilliant parody!

The initial rolling credits are the first hint that we are dealing with a joke: the cast appears to have Romanian names, but after a few seconds, one can realize that all of them are funny animal names, very unlikely to be real.

But the beauty comes from the absurdity of the plot and the purposely exaggerated situations, full of stereotypes like: - Romanians listening only to classical music - cheering and commenting on live TV chess matches - being obsessed with gymnastics and Nadia Comaneci. - having no idea what "Jeans" are - having no idea what the Monopoly game is, only to consider it a symbol of the "putrid capitalism", once they find out - teaching kids to snitch on their subversive parents - the Communist Party Manifesto is a precious gift one would always carry in the pocket, next to the heart, like a Bible for some Americans. - group of workers strolling in the park and singing the national anthem - belief that western music is in fact propaganda designed to break down your defenses - CIA importing drugs to undermine the black community - the US Ambassador is busy spreading "freedom and democracy" while her schedule contains 2 hours massages at 10AM and 4 hours lunches - some very fat Americans guys are stuffing their mouths with piles of hamburgers inside the American embassy. - Americans are so lazy they can be bothered to wash their cars (when the Romanian detective is questioning what is a car wash good for) - everyone in America seems to have AIDS - the West wants to turn all women in prostitutes. - New York City looks like a nightmarish hell on earth - Americans elect actors and celebrities (like Ronald Reagan) as presidents, a proof of their indoctrination. - When in doubt, Romanian ask themselves "what would Lenin do?", as opposite to Americans asking themselves "what would Jesus do?" - The "traitor" cop, with that large tattoo (something unheard of in 80s Romania) who is "praying" to the American flag, is nothing else than a parody for the American White Supremacists. Just replace the American Flag with the one with a Nazi Swastika and... there you go. ....

And more Easter Eggs quoting from memory: - "There is an as...hole building skyscrapers in NY, putting his name in golden letters on them" - "Freedom of religion is not an right, universal health care is" - "For once, I appreciate your American obsession with the second amendment" ....

Or funny references like - reference to Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" and his "invisible hand", the corner stone of the capitalist economy. - reference to Tuco Salamanca from Breaking Bad: instead being offered a meth deal, the Romanian smuggler is offered a Pepsi deal. ....

Really enjoyed it!
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Simply brilliant!
PaulPogues7 January 2019
I absolutely loved this show and I hope there's a second season as some point! Tell you what's as funny as the show though! Some of these reviews where people thought it was a real show! Haha. I think my favourite comment from one reviewer was something about it being dubbed was annoying, and why the hell did they put them on when the Romanian actors had done such a good job!? Haha. I think the whole point flew straight over their head! The vast majority of Americans are too lazy to read subtitles, they certainly wouldn't watch an 80s Romanian cop show without it being dubbed. Even in one episode at the beginning Channing & Jon Ronson explain why they went the dubbed route for the supposedly "real show". I'm guessing the reviewer didn't make it to that episode before he'd made his mind up!

It's basically just really silly and over the top with very subtle lines that I personally found hilarious. For me there was a laugh a minute. I loved it from the get go. I'm lucky to have even heard about it really, I'm a huge Jon Ronson fan, of his books, audio books, and films he's credited with so I was just googling what he'd done lately and that's how I came across this, as I'd not heard about it prior, so I'm glad I did that google search as like I said, I really loved the show.

The only let down for me, and which stopped me from giving it a 10, was the ending of the finale, It is an absolutely stupid show with outrageous scenarios but even with that in mind I felt the ending was just a little too much! I won't go into it with spoilers but yeah, I just felt a tad let down with that.

It did say "to be continued" after that last episode anyway so here's to hoping for a 2nd season.
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great but could be better
inefliu5 August 2017
it is a good try and a great spoof series but even Communist propaganda was a bit more subtle.

The Communist propaganda movie heroes did not drink heavy or sleep around carelessly ( albeit seducing an imperialist women in the service of the Party would have been perfectly fine ). The filmmakers there were also all too conscious that the Soviet block realities were grittier so usually the movies would show more prosperity and modernity than was the case for the vast majority of the population. Only the best buildings and the nicest parts of the city would appear on screen. The main character of a Communist propaganda movie would be a happy worker or collective farmer (if he was a policemen he would have started as factory worker and then promoted for his qualities), wise and good-mannered, uninterested in material wealth and devoted to the building of the "multi-lateral developed socialist society and steady advancement toward the golden dream of humanity - the Communism". His parents would have been also of "healthy social origin" - also workers, peasants, socialist intellectuals, etc.

Albeit snitching for the regime was encouraged it would have been glorified - the persons reported to the authorities would be portrayed in a more negative manner and the person reporting to the authorities would appear more heroic and occupying the higher moral ground ( eventually he/she would have tried to educate the "traitor to the people" but be rebuffed/ laughed at).

Communist movie makers watched Hollywood movies and would know how to tweak its recipes in the service of the Party.
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Too Competent
paul-day-clone4 August 2017
It's so close. The biggest issue is that it looks too good. Part of the joke is that Communism is better than Capitalism...but not really. Instead, we get a glossy, overproduced product that couldn't possibly be what it pretends to be. There's far too much of the West in this show to establish the verisimilitude and that is the entire genius behind Garth Merenghi's Darkplace. Darkplace showed a horrible show produced by incompetent people and it kept up that fiction. Comrade Detective only gets half of the joke. Gorgeous cinematography, sweeping camera pans with nary a trace of the grit of the "source material." If you've ever seen any Eastern European from that time period then you know it doesn't look good. Even under the rubric of "restoration" it falls apart pretty quickly.

The other issue is they couldn't decide whether it's a comedy or an homage to bad TV. There's not enough jokes to be rollickingly funny and the plot is too believable to really sustain jokes. The stuff with chess is great but they should have hit it harder. The profanity seems really out of place to pass it off as an actual TV show. Perhaps that wasn't their vision and this was the product they wanted to produce. However, just throwing a few communist phrases out in the middle of police drama doesn't create a world. It just points out that they didn't fully think the project through.

Still, it's a good effort.
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Whose Propaganda?
Prolecenter16 August 2017
I really enjoyed Comrade Detective a lot more than I thought I would. Others have referred to it as a comedic version of Miami Vice, but from the communist perspective and set in Bucharest, Romania. This is a very good way to describe it.

I wanted to give this show a 10-star rating, but I had to hold back a couple of stars for a very important reason - it is clearly propaganda. It is meant to poke fun at socialism and the socialist countries; as you watch this will be quite obvious. However, if you can forget everything you think you know about socialism and the Cold War and pay close attention to many of the statements of the protagonists of the show, you might find that they make quite a lot of sense. In fact, they are stating a lot of indisputable facts such as how the socialist countries really were targeted by the US and the capitalist West with propaganda, sabotage and subversion. If you doubt this, then I suggest you check out the documentary, Chuck Norris vs. Communism. Also, in many instances, our hero cops convincingly explain key points and arguments in favor of socialism and against capitalism.

Don't just turn off your brain and laugh when you watch this. Pay close attention and you might just learn something.
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Good...good show.
eve-4150614 August 2017
I'm watching it again as I write this. The details of why I'm a fan have been elucidated on. The second time around and more gems are being revealed. Good job to the folks who were involved. I have to write more, good grief. Okay, the writing, the feel for the eighties, the acting, local, good call. Even the humor has a feel of that decade, "kitschy" and it works. I will be watching it again with friends and family just to enjoy their reactions.
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I liked it
mykethemakeupguy25 August 2017
First off let's set the record... this isn't an actual show that aired of Romanian TV back in the 80's , it's meant to lead you to believe it was. Some of the actors playing the characters that are being dubbed by some of today's actors where not even born in the 1980's ... but the show is pretty good either way.
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One of the best things I've watched in a long time.
slutmillionaires31 December 2018
To all the actors, your actions translate perfectly.
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So much fun to watch!
scvj-069117 August 2017
That they dubbed this Romanian detective series from the '80s was irritating at first, but after the first episode it became a part of the appeal. Whose voice is that? Why it's Daniel Craig guesting as the voice of the evil priest who smuggles bibles and leads good Communists astray.

I grew up in the coldest years of the Cold War: hearing the Communist spin on the evils of capitalism, how America always rigged Olympic judging, seeing their version of dangerous New York or the decadent/slutty American ambassador with her minion eating a mountain of hamburgers for lunch. It was eerily similar to the stuff I was taught about the Soviet Union.

I'm a little confused by the reviewer who seems to think this is a spoof--I think that reviewer probably thinks the moon landing was faked too.
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Historical materialism
ferdinand19329 August 2017
In 1980s when world was on brink of nuclear clash, culture wars made on medium of opiate of masses, the TV. This to convince different people that American music, movies, hamburgers, and between meal snacks and sodas, were better than folk music and costumes of rural people and people in cities, like Sofia or Bucharest.

Now Americans mock that time in sort of irony of TV series like was a Coen Brothers movie: All the events are real only people changed, type of deal.

The show is not funny all time only when making propaganda against capitalism and US lifestyles of narcissism and individuality. And of American diet high in saturated fats. But mostly not laughing all the time, just on state ministry type Marxism dialogs.

The show is really improved on TV made at that era and application of propaganda too obvious when ethical qualities of life in countries of old Soviet bloc were much clear to people.

Still, the shows is going good so far and with much online review adopting bourgeois conformism to all other comments saying that it is all good time and having fun, a second season is as inevitable as the march of historical materialism.
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Cute idea done badly
cherold25 August 2017
The intriguing premise of Comrade Detective is that a hit Romanian detective series of the 1980s has been dubbed for an American audience.

There is little attempt to make this persuasive; the show is shot in wide-screen, the show looks better filmed than even American TV series of the period, and the constant swearing seems like it would be no more likely in Romanian series of the period than in American ones. (I don't know what to make of the numerous user reviews that seem to believe this series really is an old Romanian series; it doesn't strike them as silly that Romanians in the 80s wouldn't even know what blue jeans are?)

The most amusing part of the one episode I saw were those that had characters spouting propaganda points, as when the detective lectures drug dealers on the CIA bringing drugs into black neighborhoods or tells his commander that he knows there can't be a mole in the police force because there is no corruption among the Roumanian police. It's also amusing to see two cops eagerly watching a chess tournament or the portrayal of the U.S. embassy chief as a conniving, overly-made-up woman in a ridiculous fur coat.

I found myself never really understanding what Comrade Detective was trying to do. It had some of the style of '80s series, but it didn't hit the era's tropes all that hard and doesn't come across as much different from today's cop shows. The political satire is fitful, as though the series keeps forgetting it's supposed to be a parody of something. It feels like the creators felt that once they had the basic idea the series would write itself, so they just let it spool out without ever deciding what kind of thing they were making.

It's not quite satire, not quite parody, not quite cop drama. It's not quite anything.

If you want to see someone who gets east European parody, find the user review of this series by ferdinand1932 called "Historical materialism." He wrote his review in fractured English that is full of badly- expressed communist nonsense So far it's gotten all down votes, probably by the same people who don't know the series is a fake.
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One good idea, lots of bad ones.
pawebster5 August 2017
Somebody had an intriguing idea for a fun series: Cold War nostalgia, a bit like "The Americans" or "Deutschland 83", but more comedic. What came out is a mess. (1) It's supposed to be a Romanian series from 1983, but is totally unconvincing as such. A communist TV series would not include swearing, blood and gore (of which there is a gratuitously large amount) or rampant crime and corruption in the police. Also the visual style is not that of eastern European TV or film in the 1980s. (2) If it's meant to be a comedy, it isn't anything like funny enough. "Top Secret" (made in 1984, from the "Airplane" stable) could get away with making a joke of the oppression in East Germany, because it was completely wacky. This show is too close to reality to succeed as a comedy - even if it had enough jokes. (3) Romania in the Ceausescu era was no comedy at all. For example, in its supposed role as a communist production, this show mocks religion and believers, which is a very bad move in this case. Romania treated religious believers with unimaginable cruelty (Look up Richard Wurmbrand on Wikipedia). (4) The show, again purporting to be a communist production, puts forward cogent criticisms of the shallow and exploitative culture and politics of America and the west. Yet the show itself is a prime example of all this. (5) Whatever were the Romanian actors thinking of when they agreed to take part in this? I couldn't help feeling again and again that they were being exploited and debased.
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Lacks that special glue that sticks scenes together
danalaura-cazacu6 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Director: Bebelus Pisicuta (translation: Baby Small Cat)". That was literally, the best joke in the first episode. I barely got to the end of it.

The communists did not film this way. There's too much of...oh well, everything. Also, communist movies have a background noise, a certain buzzing sound. Recording sound in a studio was not the common practice in that era. Seems to me like they did not do any research regarding how communists filmed things. But no matter, moving on.

Everything unfolds rapidly (too rapidly for a non-American film) and yet somehow manages to bore the life out of you. It lacks that special glue that sticks scenes together, it's called, hmm, let me see... coherence. A general perspective that can hold things together to create a story. A lot of stuff is happening, too fast, all over, and with no real impact. We cannot linger on an idea or aspect too long, cause you know, more ideas are coming our way.

As a result, I am forced to piece things together myself, which even if I wanna do, I can't, because I don't know how. There are no hints to what is actually important here. Too many references with no actual point to support. I am not pretentious and looking for anything big, like ideologies and propaganda machines, or any of that other blah blah, I am sick of it. Just give me something to grab on, please.

Either way, watching this was exactly like eating a piece of overpriced chocolate that tastes horrible. You cannot exactly point to what makes it horrible, but you are super upset that you bought it.
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Archer meets Spenser for Hire meets poorly dubbed 1960s Japanese movie
admin-227254 August 2017
Well produced but the dubbing to English is too off putting to make it anything more than just passing entertainment. The creation story is ridiculous and only serves to remind you that it is only two steps up from an Adam Sandler or a Rock production. The producers should have recognized that TV audiences are more perceptive to being manipulated and have a growing resentment to it. That they didn't is a shame. The dubbing to English has so many off notes that you spend most of the time thinking of what could have been. If they hadn't dubbed, it would be a nice series–similar to Life on Mars (vintage/throwback) or the first season of The Sniffer (import detective series). Certainly not as good as Bordertown but enough to be entertaining.
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Comrade Defective
Neuey344 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
On paper, the concept of a dubbed Romanian cop drama has serious potential and Channing Tatum and co. do expand on this well specifically with humor. At any chance, possible characters will reference the superiority of their government out of nowhere and demonize western values like the monopoly smugglers who "get high off the supply". The expansion of the concept ends there unfortunately as the by-the-numbers direction in editing and framing undercuts any transcending qualities about the source material. It's weird to say in a review to critique something was shot too competently but when other retro-genre parodies like Black Dynamite (2009) or Kung Fury (2015) can take jabs at tropes, they are able to deconstruct the flaws in dialogue and filmmaking of their respective era's while Comrade Detective only manages to ride the dubbing joke until the very end. If you are into bad 80's films there are some great visual cues (The excessive amounts of Ronald Reagan portraits) and the dubbing can be fun at points but that's as far as the entertainment goes.
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Funny and balanced
Mikeelliott5821 May 2018
This is genius! Well acted , technically perfect and funny .

You could almost believe it was done as propaganda.

Season 2? I want to see it but I am prepared to be a little disappointed because you can't polish perfection
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Pure perfection
anderser-892912 February 2018
Seldom or ever in television, w notable exception D Lynch, you come across something that's never been done before. To get the idea. Then to write it note-perfect. Somehow get amazon on board. Assemble truly excellent romanian cast. Shoot it in fantastic locations in Romania. Dub it with such impressive offbeat timing w great american actors including Chloe. Carry it out w so much conviction and love. Bless all involved!!!!
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A surprisingly refreshing "Mel Brooks" styled comedy
neutrino-5152430 December 2017
Fun to watch, thanks to the outrageous characterizations of the people and life in here, hyperbolically addressing the oddities of the communist system.

It delivers a biting satire on the role of the players of the Eastern Block society - the servile state police, the black market as a door to the inaccessible world of the West, the total social and moral corruption of a nation numbed by the vicissitudes of the history.

Corneliu Ulic, Florin Piersic JR, Olivia Nita, and their US dubbing counterparts, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Channing Tatum, Jenny Slate as well as a plethora of other Romanian and US actors are getting the viewer into binge mood for the series.

The dubbing idea is interesting, gives a special flavor of the concept, but you must adjust and go past the first episode. The US crew did a great job, making the film very unique!

An original Romanian track with subtitles would be interesting to watch as well, but might lose some of the charm.
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It's very surprising that I really liked it
Michelle-654-55404028 February 2019
Normally I dislike shows with subtitles because I can't watch the actors faces & body language, & I especially don't like dubbing. So imagine my surprise when the show almost immediately roped me in.

I was literally going to turn it off due to the dubbing, cheesy low quality music, & the 80's low quality flavor, but something kept me watching.

The acting was good, the story line was also very good, & I was torn by both sides of the fence/culture.

Then I started to chuckle as we got closer to the end.

It was a very good show, I hope you will give it a chance even if you are a TV snob like me LOL.
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I'm still trying to get my head round it.
slutmillionaires31 December 2018
I guess this is what it must have been what it was like to the Spanish watching Murder She Wrote for the first time. I gave it 8/10
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