'Berlin Station' cast say German capital more than backdrop

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BERLIN (AP) — Actors Leland Orser and Keke Palmer crouch next to a fence at a dusty former East Berlin concrete plant as cranes whir behind them moving pallets of goods in an industrial area oblivious to the filming going on.

As Ashley Judd has her makeup touched up in a gritty basement hallway of a Cold War-era hospital, a confused elderly couple wanders through the set looking for the elevators. Outside, campaign posters for the nationalist anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party festoon the lamp poles.

Carrying on where Epix "Berlin Station" left off with at the end of its first season, the city of Berlin is very much a part of the modern spy thriller for Season 2, set amid a changing world order.

"The city is changing in front of our very eyes," says Orser, who returns this season as CIA Berlin station deputy chief Robert Kirsch, looking around the set location in the city's Koepenick neighborhood.

"There are cranes everywhere, rents are skyrocketing, the food scene is exploding, the art scene is exploding ... and I think what's cool is that we're shooting it now as it's happening so there's no mistaking that the Berlin we're showing is the Berlin of 2017."

More than just a backdrop, Orser says "in our show Berlin is the star of the show, and we feature it."

The first season saw agent Daniel Miller, played by Richard Armitage, on a clandestine mission to uncover the source of a leak in the CIA's Berlin station — a plot that drew on the real-life experiences of WikiLeaks and Chelsea Manning's leak of hundreds of thousands of classified documents.

New characters this year include Palmer, who plays April Lewis, a new CIA case officer on her first field assignment, and Judd, who is the CIA's new chief of station BB Yates.

Miller returns this season, which premieres on October 15, to infiltrate the German far-right to thwart a plot to carry out a terrorist attack that would be blamed on refugees to drive voters to vote a new anti-migrant nationalist party into power. It features an American ambassador who is the political appointee of a U.S. government that appears to sympathize with the German anti-migrant party.

The season was written before the nationalist Alternative for Germany party won enough votes in Sept. 24's election to enter German parliament for the first time, ahead of this summer's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

"What was amazing about last season is that they seemed to be ahead of the news cycle and wildly enough i think the same has happened this season," Orser says. "The writers are telling a story that strangely enough is unfolding politically now."




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