Russia is dominating the news cycle these days in ways not seen since the Reagan era. Now one of Amazon’s newest original series is cashing in on that, serving up a Cold War relic that’s a chip off the old Soviet Bloc. We’re talking about the oddity that is Amazon’s Comrade Detective.
And make no mistake: this is a weird one. But it might also be hilarious. Comrade Detective is presented as a “lost” 1980s buddy-cop detective show created by the Romanian government to demonize the West during the Cold War. Allegedly, a VHS copy of Comrade Detective was “rediscovered” and sent to actor Channing Tatum, who is now partnering with Amazon Studios and A24 to share it with the world. It’s got ’80s nostalgia, inverted patriotism, intentionally terrible dubbing, and a sniper in Ronald Reagan mask. It looks amazing. Check out the trailer for Amazon’s Comrade Detective.
As part of his efforts to “reintroduce” Comrade Detective to the world, Channing Tatum has lent his voice to the project, providing English dubbing for Detective Gregor Anghel. His partner, Iosif Baciu, is voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (The actual performances are delivered by Russian actors Florin Piersic Jr. and Corneliu Ulici, respectively.) The star-studded voice cast doesn’t stop with those two, however. Keep your ears open and you might recognize the voices of Daniel Craig, Chloe Sevigny, Jake Johnson, John DiMaggio, Jason Mantzoukas, and Nick Offerman as “The Captain,” just to name a few.
Here in the real world, outside of Comrade Detective‘s framing narrative, the show was created by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka (The Sitter, Animal Practice) and directed by Rhys Thomas (SNL, Documentary Now!).
This sort of faux “found footage” thing has been mined well several times recently in the streaming world, including Netflix’s Mindhorn and HBO’s Tour de Pharmacy. This first look at Comrade Detective definitely looks promising…but then again, I might just be the victim of insidious Russian propaganda. Either way, I’ll be giving it a shot when Comrade Detective premieres on Amazon Prime on August 4.