Kleo Straub leads an almost normal life in East Germany in 1987, apart from the fact that she lost her parents early. In return, Grandpa Otto lovingly takes care of the now young woman. Kleo (Jella Haase) also has a boyfriend (Vladimir Burlakov) whom she loves and is expecting a child from. And she has a more or less regular job for her socialist state: as a contract killer for state security. Because her life is not that normal after all.

There have been many female killers in film, not only in the new Netflix series “Kleo”, which starts on Friday. Jessica Chastain played the female lead in the Netflix film Ava, Angelina Jolie killed for money in Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and “Salt”, not forgetting Mathilda (Natalie Portman) in Luc Besson’s “Léon the Pro”. Besson also wrote “Nikita” with Anne Parillaud. And of course there’s Uma Thurman as Beatrix Kiddo in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.

Behind the eight-part Netflix series “Kleo” is the author trio Hanno Hackfort, Richard Kropf and Bob Konrad, also known by the abbreviation HaRiBo. Her greatest success to date is the series “4 Blocks” with Kida Khodr Ramadan as the leader of an Arab-Lebanese gangster clan in Neukölln. But “You Are Wanted” by and with Matthias Schweighöfer can also be attributed to her. Elena Senft also contributed to “Kleo” as an author, Viviane Andereggen and Jano Ben Chaabane directed.

Back to Kleo’s life: Her loving grandfather is a major general in the intelligence department of the Ministry for State Security, her boyfriend Andi is also her senior officer and Kleo belongs to the “working group of the minister for special issues”, which means nothing other than the liquidation of alleged enemies of the state.

Kleo’s last assignment took the agent through a tunnel under the Wall to West Berlin and the Big Eden. There she turns off her victim with poisoned coke. Too bad that a disco visitor remembers them. Sven Petzold (Dimitrij Schaad), an under-challenged detective from the fraud department, can describe them well enough to create an identikit. This is how the drama takes its course.

In contrast to the other HaRiBo productions, “Kleo” is not purely a drama series, but in parts tends towards comedy, even almost grotesque. Orgies of violence like in “Kill Bill” don’t exist, but the range of killing methods is impressive. As a killer with a child’s face, it is the multiple award-winning Jella Haase (for “Fack ju Göhte,” among others) who takes the edge off the seriousness of the murder issue.

For their part, the authors are keen to note that both the “minister’s working group” and the explosive clothing used are not products of their imagination. The instructions for building explosive clothes come from the original documents for the Stasi agent training, emphasizes Hanno Hackfort in the press kit.

Back to the drama: When Kleo returns from her job in Big Eden, she is not awarded the medal “For services to people and fatherland” but instead is arrested on trumped-up charges, sentenced to life imprisonment and locked away. In prison she is humiliated and abused. From now on she only thinks about revenge. When she was pardoned as a political prisoner in 1990, she was able to put these plans into action. Bit by bit she works her way up the hierarchy of responsibilities.

Again, the parallels to Tarantino’s Kill Bill are too obvious to be a coincidence. In the case of Kleo, another common thread is developing. The more she learns by whom and why she was betrayed, the more she realizes that behind this lies an intrigue of immense proportions. And the key to everything is a small red suitcase. To get your hands on it, the trail leads all the way to Mallorcan fincas and the Chilean Atacama Desert.

At the same time, “Kleo” is a journey back to the years of reunification and the peaceful coexistence of East German prefab charm and the beginning techno epoch, including all stylistic sins such as brightly colored wallpaper, double-breasted suits with shoulder pads and wildly patterned leggings. The props were able to let off steam with Kleo’s disguises, after all, deception and camouflage are part of the tools of the trade for a successful killer.