‘Spy/Master’ Episode 1 Recap & Review: Who Is Victor Godeanu?

Spy/Master tells the story of Victor Godeanu, the fictional aide of real former Romanian president Nicolae Ceaușescu. A KGB mole, Victor has been selling secrets to the Russians for 15 years until now. Roman counterintelligence gets the scent of his acts. With them on his tail, he has to find a way to get out of Romania and decides to defect to America. It is a race against time for him. Will he be able to take his family and move to America, or will the Romanians find him and bring him to justice? Let’s find out.


Spoilers Ahead

A Mole Defect

In Bucharest, Romania, Victor Godeanu, the personal security advisor of Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu and Deputy Chief of Romania’s foreign intelligence service, realizes that someone [a bald guy] is following him as he gets onto a train to Bonn, West Germany. He arrives at the American Embassy in Bonn to speak to Frank Jackson but leaves without meeting him. Frank knows that there has to be a reason why someone like Victor would come to meet him. It must be something very important. Frank decides to do a background check on all the visitors and see if anyone has connections with Victor.


Victor leaves the American Embassy after spotting Ingrid von Weizendorff of Eastern European Affairs there. She has also seen him, although she wasn’t supposed to. A high-ranking Romanian intelligence official at an American Embassy does raise doubts. Victor returns to his hotel, meets his assistant Rancea, and together they arrive at the Ministry of the Interior, where they meet Mr. Klaus and Ms. Ingrid. They offer Victor a huge sum to transfer over 200 Transylvanian Germans from Romania back to Germany as a part of the Pilgrims program. Victor doesn’t extend the discussion any further and leaves. The way Ingrid looks at Victor from the window as he gets into his car proves that she has begun harboring doubts over his intentions. Victor returns to his room and finds a bottle of champagne on under whose tag a location is mentioned that he has to go to. Surel, the bottle was sent by Frank who has located him. He goes to the location, a clothing store, and is taken to Frank Jackson. Victor finally tells Frank the reason for his trip to the American Embassy. He is ready to defect. In other words, he is ready to prove his allegiance to America. He is told to return the next day while Frank contacts his superiors, including American President Jimmy Carter, for their permission.

Victor, meanwhile, goes to the Romanian Embassy in Bonn and looks up the files of Ingrid von Weizendorff and Carmen Popescu in the Archives. With no one around, he clicks the photographs of the two women in their respective files. Back at the American Embassy, Franks receives the news that Victor’s defection has been denied for the time being. Victor returns to his hotel and finds Ingrid pointing a gun at him. Before judging Ingrid, we must remember that a German associate told her to get more names added to the list of Transylvanian Germans from Romania by any means necessary. So maybe the reason she points the gun at him is so that she can convince him to add the names, not because she doubts that he is doing business under the table.


10 Days Earlier: Bugged And Found

In Bucharest, Romania, Nicolae tells Victor that he feels that someone is watching him. In other words, there is a mole around him. He is also dissatisfied with the way Dan Banea handled the recent negotiations with West Germany and wants Victor, the guy he trusts more than anyone else, to take care of the situation. The expression on Victor’s face, considering we know what’s going to happen, proves that he has already decided to take some kind of step against Nicolae or has something in his mind that isn’t in Nicolae’s best interests.

Victor returns home and, in his personal room, cuts a negative film roll into pieces. It contained clips of him with Russia’s General Shakarov. If Romanian counterintelligence or Nicolae comes to know of it, he will be chased to death. Victor flushes the pieces of the film down the toilet and then goes and meets a Russian guy, handing him Romanian passports for Egyptians. This is when we realize that Victor is a KGB mole. This guy warns him of a copy of the negative film, which Victor flushed away, that some French agent has gotten hold of. If the French agent has it, Romanian counterintelligence is bound to receive it soon. France and Romania share a long-lasting bilateral relationship. If that happens, he is doomed. Apparently, Victor has been sharing secrets with Russia for the last 15 years. But according to the guy, if the Russians doubt him, they will soon take him away to Moscow. This, Victor cannot afford it at all. Later on, on his way to his office at the Department of Foreign Intelligence, we see him listen to an audio clip of a conversation between Romanian counterintelligence agents Carmen and Mircea, who know about Victor. They know he has planted bugs everywhere so that he can listen to conversations that he isn’t a part of and sell them. How they have found out, we do not know yet. Victor meets Mircea in front of the building and then finds that Mircea has left his shoes in his office—the very shoes that were bugged. This means that Victor is in trouble. And he has to find a way to escape. For the time being, he reminds Dan Banea of the mistake he made with the West Germans but assures him that he will take care of it. Victor likes Dan a lot and doesn’t want to be too harsh with him. Outside, Mircea meets Carmen, who reveals that a French associate has a copy of the negative film (carrying pictures of Victor and General Shakarov). All they need to do is pay the source, and the film will be in their hands. They can then show it to Nicolae as proof of Victor’s double-faced nature. During a hunting trip, Nicolae finally tells Victor to kill Dan. The irony is that Nicolae is speaking to the mole and telling him to kill an innocent person. Victor tries to make him understand that he is misinformed about Dan, but to no avail. Victor shoots Dan and kills him.


6 Days Earlier: Do Carmen And Mircea Find The Copy Of The Negative?

Carmen meets her French source, who hands her a copy of the negative. However, she is being followed by men sent by Victor’s Russian friend. She manages to escape them using a decoy and brings the negatives to Mircea, who washes them and gets a clear look at Victor talking to General Shakarov of Russia inside a car. Victor finds out that the copy of the negative is now in the hands of Romanian counterintelligence, and thus he will be taken to Moscow.

We need to wait and find out how Ingrid came to know about Victor’s secrets. Considering it is up to Victor to transfer the people from Romania to Germany, Ingrid will probably carry out talks with him and try to reach a common ground. We must also remember that his family is still in Romania, which means that he cannot leave Romania without them. Also, Frank was looking for someone in the American Embassy who was connected to Victor. Has he found out about Ingrid? Let’s see what Spy/Master Episode 2 has in store.

Spy/Master picks up speed from the very first episode. At first, one might have trouble understanding who is working for whom, but it gets clear eventually. Even though it is the first episode, it doesn’t waste time introducing characters as such but does it through the two timelines: one that approaches Victor’s visit to the American Embassy and another that begins after his visit there. For the time being, we have five days to see what forces Victor to ask the American government for help.

Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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Spy/Master picks up speed from the very first episode. At first, one might have trouble understanding who is working for whom, but it gets clear eventually. 'Spy/Master' Episode 1 Recap & Review: Who Is Victor Godeanu?