Caught in a Free State

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Caught in a Free State
GenreDrama series
Written byBrian Lynch
Directed byPeter Ormrod
ComposerSeóirse Bodley
Country of originIreland
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes4
Original networkRTÉ One
Original release1983 (1983)

Caught in a Free State was a dramatised television series made by RTÉ in 1983.[1] This four-part series was about German spies in neutral Ireland during World War II, known in Ireland as "The Emergency".


The series was written by Brian Lynch,[2] with music by Seóirse Bodley and directed by Peter Ormrod and Designed by Pat Molloy. The series was the winner of the best drama award at the Banff World Television Festival in Canada and also won a Jacob's Award in Ireland.

Parts of the dialogue were recorded in German with English subtitles, partly in the hope of a sale of the series to a German television station.

Principal actors[edit]


The spies are frequently depicted as out of touch with the realities of Irish life. They are also often depicted as individuals highly unsuited for espionage. At times, the absurdities take on a comic dimension - such as in the arrest of Henry Obed, an Indian working for Abwehr. It is notable that the German plans for Operation Green (the intended invasion of Ireland) also included a considerable amount of outdated information.

Whilst dramatised (and some names have been changed, notably that of Schütz to "Schultz") the plots in Caught in a Free State are based on actual events and persons. The anachronistic reference to "Free State" is deliberate as the Irish Free State had been superseded by the new Constitution of Ireland of 1937, which is a recurring theme. Both Günther Schütz and Dan Bryan were still alive during the filming (in 1983), hence the change of names.

  • Episode 1: Hermann Görtz is parachuted into Ireland. He tries to return to Germany by boat but is intercepted by the Irish Navy and interned.
  • Episode 2: Ernst Weber-Drohl, a 60-year-old former circus strongman, is landed by submarine on the coast of County Wexford.
  • Episode 3: "Gunter Schultz" is arrested, interrogated and threatened with execution for spying.
  • Episode 4: The end of the War. Herman Görtz commits suicide rather than face deportation.


It was also broadcast in the United Kingdom on Channel 4 in April 1984, and was repeated in July 1986.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Caught in a Free State (TV Mini-Series 1984)". IMDb. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Lynch, Brian". Irish Writers Online. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Movies". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2012. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Peter Jankovsky". IMDb. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Versatile actor and writer who found peace in the west". The Irish Times. 18 October 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.

External links[edit]