You Are Wanted may mark Amazon's first German-language original, but its heart-pounding plot has plenty of international appeal. The series stars Matthias Schweighöfer as a young hotel manager whose life unravels after his personal data is hacked, leading the police to accuse him of being linked to a terrorist organization. It's a dramatic premise, but against the backdrop of an increasingly tech-focused world, it's not entirely far-fetched. So, it's natural to wonder: Is You Are Wanted is based on a true story?
The team behind the series doesn't appear to have spoken much about it in the press, so it's difficult to gauge if the show draws from anything real, but unless they say otherwise, it's safe to assume You Are Wanted is fictional. Still, creators had plenty to draw from in terms of IRL inspiration. Cyber crime has become a well-documented concern in modern society.
In the last few years alone, big companies like Yahoo, Sony, and JP Morgan have been subject to major security breaches, and celebrities have become a frequent target for private photo leaks. Not to mention that last year, the U.S. government officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. In fact, there's even an entire FBI branch dedicated to investigating cyber threats, and their website is careful to warn that such intrusions are becoming "more commonplace, more dangerous, and more sophisticated."
You Are Wanted is far from the first to examine these fears on-screen, as the perils of the digital age have long served as rich source material for Hollywood. The critically lauded Mr. Robot, for example, follows a group of elite hackers who use their skills to take down evil corporations, while the short-lived CSI: Cyber centered around a team of special agents tasked with solving internet-related crimes.
When Season 3 of Black Mirror dropped on Netflix in October, its episodes were rife with commentary on social media. One particularly resonant episode, "Shut Up and Dance," hinged upon a story line in which hackers blackmailed people into doing their bidding — a similar scheme to the deadly game that fueled the Dave Franco and Emma Roberts-fronted Nerve, which hit theaters last summer.
As for You Are Wanted, it's unclear what direction it will take beyond its basic setup. The only trailer is in German, and alas, I don't speak the language, but it looks intense, action-packed, and thrilling, sort of like a cross between Jason Bourne and Person of Interest. There's a lot of creepy code, suspicious phone calls, and violent confrontations, so I sincerely hope it's not based on a true story, because it looks hella dangerous. For now, we'll have to wait until it premieres on Amazon March 17 to get the full effect.