KLEO is a new revenge thriller with a huge streak of dark comedy. Think Killing Eve meets the Swedish Netflix series Clark, but in German. Also, it takes place mostly in the early 1990s. Read our full Kleo season 1 review here!
KLEO is a new Netflix series from Germany. This is essentially a revenge story, but lots of dark humor is used to keep things light. Also, it begins in the 1980s but mostly plays out shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This obviously makes for many interesting observations about that time period.
You’ll get both thriller, crime, action, and some comedy with this German series. It’s very character-driven and the title character quickly made this series remind me of both Killing Eve and Clark. There are eight episodes in the season – each with a runtime of around 45 minutes.
Continue reading our Kleo season 1 review below. The series premieres on Netflix on August 19, 2022.
Killing Eve meets Clark
When you mention a series like the brilliant Killing Eve, it’s important to also say that Kleo isn’t just a German version of that show. That’s why I also want to mention the Swedish series, Clark, as an obvious comparison.
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Killing Eve is all about spies and international conspiracies and murders. Which, to be fair, Kleo definitely is as well. However, it takes place in Germany (and other places) right after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A very turbulent time that had memorable (to say the least) fashion and music.
Due to the time period setting – and use of comedy to a larger degree – Clark is good to have as a reference as well.
Jella Haase is perfect as Kleo
As Kleo, we see Jella Haase. She is all kinds of brilliant in this role. Fierce, funny, and completely unpredictable as this assassin, who is now a free agent. And looking for revenge!
I did not recognize Jella Haase at first, so I was ready to say that I wasn’t familiar with her prior to watching this new Netflix series. However, she already played the title role in a movie that was a remake of another movie, I loved. The German version is titled Kidnapping Stella and Jella Haase played Stella.
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While a direct comparison to Jodie Comer’s “Villanelle” in Killing Eve isn’t fair, it also isn’t exactly wrong. I mean, Kleo is an assassin working for a secret service organ (Stasi in East Germany) and when East and West Germany become, well, Germany, she isn’t quite ready to let go of the past.
For good reason, I might mention, since she was punished severely, simply for doing her job.
Also, Kleo has that Villanelle streak of always going her own way. Sure, she might make a promise, but she’ll just as soon break it. And, of course, there is the assassin part. Both are pretty damn good at that as well.
Watch season 1 of Kleo on Netflix
The showrunners and writers on Kleo are HaRiBo, which is an acronym for Hanno Hackfort, Richard Kropf, and Bob Konrad. The three also created the Prime Video series You Are Wanted which starred Matthias Schweighöfer. Elena Senft also did some additional writing on episodes 4 and 5.
The new German Netflix series has eight episodes that are directed by one of two directors, who each directs four episodes. Viviane Andereggen directed episodes 1-3 and 8, while Jano Ben Chaabane directed episodes 4-7.
Whether you feel like comparing Kleo to Killing Eve (how could you not?!) or Clark or something entirely else, just know that this new series is both smart and funny. And not something you want to miss out on!
Kleo season 1 is out on Netflix from August 19, 2022.
Showrunners & Writers: HaRiBo (Hanno Hackfort, Richard Kropf, Bob Konrad)
Additional writer: Elena Senft (Eps 4 & 5)
Directors: Viviane Andereggen (Eps 1-3 & 8) & Jano Ben Chaabane (Eps 4-7)
Cast: Jella Haase, Dimitrij Schaad, Vladimir Burlakov, Thandi Sebe, Marta Sroka, Julius Feldmeier, Jürgen Heinrich, Yun Huang & Vincent Redetzki
1987: Shortly after liquidating a businessman in West Berlin on behalf of a secret Stasi commando, top East German spy Kleo is arrested, denounced by the Stasi and even betrayed by her own grandfather. After two years in prison, the Berlin Wall suddenly falls and Kleo is released. But she soon realizes that the conspiracy against her is much more complicated than she thought, and that an ominous red suitcase is the key to it all. Kleo thus embarks on a revenge spree that leads her through the anarchic Berlin, improvised electro clubs and Mallorcan fincas all the way to Chile’s Atacama Desert – with the West Berlin policeman Sven constantly on her tail, chasing the case of a lifetime.