• ‘Shadowplay’. (© Tandem Productions and Shadow Play)Source: © Tandem Productions and Shadow Play
Berlin. Summer of 1946. The city’s feverish and unpredictable, hot and sweaty and dusty. Here’s who you will meet along the way.
SBS Guide

2 Feb 2021 - 2:43 PM  UPDATED 9 Mar 2021 - 10:32 AM

Shadowplay is the new drama series from the creators of Midnight Sun and The Bridge. Now we know we’re in safe hands, let’s meet the cast of characters driving the eight-parter. 


Max McLaughlin (Taylor Kitsch)

Max is 31 and hails from Brooklyn. He’s third generation NYPD, but couldn’t serve in the war due to his poor eye sight. When the chance to contribute post-war pops up, he grabs it. He’s sent to Berlin to help set up a police force in the broken, divided city. His personal agenda is to track down his older brother Moritz, who’s been MIA since the war ended. Berlin was the last place Max heard from him.


Moritz McLaughlin (Logan Marshall-Green)

Brothers Max and Moritz were so named by their German immigrant mother after the rascally brothers in famous illustrated story ‘Max und Moritz’. When the boys were 9 and 12, their father came home drunk one night and shot their mother dead during a fight. When little Max ran to her, he fired again, but Moritz took the bullet, saving Max’s life.

Since his time in the 45th Infantry Division, Moritz has been hiding in Berlin’s shadows, on the prowl for ex-Nazis. His mind cracked during service, leaving him with a vengeful agenda: to relentlessly pursue and kill every last Nazi. In a grisly adaptation of the famous seven boyish pranks played by the comic-book brothers, Moritz chooses one prank by one, by which the Nazis he tracks down meet their end.


Elsie Garten (Nina Hoss)

Elsie is a Berliner, torn apart by the war, rape and now, the hard labour of being part of the Trümmerfrau – women who clear rubble from the streets and railways and reconstruct the city. Her husband is presumed dead, but she is adamant he’s alive and convinced they’ll be reunited and able to raise a family.

Eager to build a new Berlin in a less back-breaking way, she joins the police force, which brings her into contact with Max. Not unlike a New Yorker, Elsie is streetwise and informal to the point of being disrespectful, with gallows humour.

'So strong': Nina Hoss talks about fighting for a new life in 'Shadowplay'
The German cinema star headlines new SBS drama 'Shadowplay'. Here she shares insights into her complex character.


Tom Franklin (Michael C. Hall)

Tom in his official capacity is American Vice Consul. Unofficially, his objective is to make sure Russia doesn’t take too much of the city. Tom is essentially Max’s boss, but he’s less interested in Max’s police work than in encouraging him to inform him of anything that may be of use in his intelligence work.

'Dexter' star Michael C. Hall on the "formidable secrets" of 'Shadowplay' (Interview)
Post-war Berlin is full of secrets. Michael C. Hall should feel right at home.


Claire Franklin (Tuppence Middleton)

Tom’s wife Claire was born and raised in Sussex, England. The perfect hostess, she is ever ready with a smile and a quip, and is the doyenne of the American Housewives of Berlin Club. But she’s quite the Russian roulette to a dinner party – her mind works quickly, and she seems to lack impulse control of any kind. Claire is instantly attracted to Max, not least because he’s so different from Tom. Her hatred of the Germans runs deep; when she finds out Tom is helping ex-Nazis escape, she is unstoppable.


Shadowplay  premiered with a double episode Thursday 4 March on SBS. Episodes will continue weekly at 9:30pm from Thursday 11 March. New episodes will be available at SBS On Demand each week on the same day as broadcast. Shadowplay will also be subtitled in Simplified Chinese and Arabic, available to stream for free at SBS On Demand. Each subtitled episode will become available at the same time as broadcast. Start with episode 1:


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