Critical Condition: Comrade Detective

Comrade Detective | Amazon Prime, from today

➢ “The new Amazon series Comrade Detective, about buddy cops trying to solve a colleague’s murder in 1980s Romania, is being described as a satire and a spoof, but I’m not convinced that it’s a satire or parody of anything. While there are a few funny moments, it’s not a relentlessly knowing send-up like Police Squad! or the remake of 21 Jump Street (despite the presence of Channing Tatum as one of the American voices dubbing the Romanian characters, à la Woody Allen’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily?).” — New York magazine.

➢ “The Cold War is back and at full refrigeration, so what better time to explore the glories of Soviet Bloc television? Comrade Detective, the police drama that never was, arrives with the kind of timing that might encourage a belief in the collective unconscious, or the zeitgeist, or Nostradamus, if he’d ever made a prediction about binge-able TV.  It’s also a perfectly sardonic show for our times … It works as drama, as well as comedy, and it seems as if putting it together might have been fun. The finished product certainly is.” — Wall Street Journal.

➢ “Even after finishing all of it, it’s an open question if the six-episode Comrade Detective is trying to be funny … It’s not your average television comedy — and certainly a far cry from the classic model, that would deliver the expected laughs right to your living room. But as a journey through film conventions and assumptions about identity, Comrade Detective is quite a trip.” — Variety.

➢ “The comedy … purports to be found TV: a Romanian 1980s buddy-cop drama about two Bucharest officers fighting for truth, atheism and the Marxist-Leninist way. The lead roles — hard-boiled Gregor and idealistic Iosef — are played by Florin Piersic Jr. and Corneliu Ulici, their dialogue dubbed in English by Channing Tatum (also an executive producer) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It’s a brilliant idea. But it’s not much more than an idea.” — New York Times.

➢ “Comrade Detective is also actually a pretty good cop show unto itself, with its own code of blue and bits of David Lynch and Joseph Nye weaved into the mix along with reverse propaganda slamming the crime, poverty, racial inequity and Jordache jeans that dominate America … Makes for a great short weekend binge if you want something different and disarmingly inventive.” — Deadline Hollywood.

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