- This article is about the series. For the novel, see The Man in the High Castle (Novel).
The Man in the High Castle is a 2015 American dystopian alternate history television series produced by Amazon Studios, Scott Free, Headline Pictures and Electric Shepherd Productions.
The pilot premiered on January 15th, 2015, and was Amazon's "most-watched since the original series development program began." On February 18th, 2015, the series was picked up for a ten-episode season, and the remaining nine episodes were released on November 20th, 2015. A second season of ten episodes premiered on December 16th, 2016, and the series was renewed for a third season on January 3rd, 2017 to premiere later in the year.
The series is based on the 1962 novel of the same name by American science fiction author Philip K. Dick. The story is an alternate history of the world in which the Axis powers won World War II. The United States and Canada has been partitioned into three parts - The Japanese puppet state of the Japanese Pacific States, which comprises the former United States west of the Rocky Mountains, a Nazi puppet state that comprises the eastern half of the former United States; and a Neutral Zone that acts as a buffer between the two areas, also referred to as the "Rocky Mountain States".
The New World
The series starts in 1962. The first episode follows the lives of three people: "Joe Blake", a young man in the "Greater Nazi Reich", who is later revealed to be an SS covert agent tracking the transportation of a subversive banned newsreel in which the Allies won World War II; Frank Frink, a jewelry designer who lives in the "Japanese Pacific States" and conceals his Jewish roots, and Juliana Crain, a young woman who also lives in the "Japanese Pacific States" and a former fiancee of Frank. Crain makes her way to the Neutral Zone to deliver the film as part of a mission by the resistance. Along the way, her bag gets stolen leaving her with no money. "Blake" and Crain eventually meet in the Neutral Zone, while Frink is apprehended by Inspector Kido of the Kempeitai and may be extradited to Nazi America, where as a Jew he will be summarily executed.
While working in the Canon City diner, Juliana meets a man folding a paper crane and assumes he is the contact. Joe, having watched his own copy of the film, finds out from Smith that the contact is a Sicherheitsdienst agent trying to stop the resistance, and is ordered not to intervene. When Juliana meets the origami man at the nearby dam to pass on the film, he attacks her. Joe arrives to try to save her, but she uses her knowledge of Aikido to throw the SD agent over a dam railing to his death. Smith himself is ambushed on his way to work, narrowly fending off his attackers. Meanwhile, in the Pacific States, Frank's sister and her two children are taken into custody by the Kempeitai and Frank is told they will be killed along with him for being Jewish if he does not cooperate. A prisoner in a neighboring cell unsuccessfully tries to convince Frank to stand defiant. Just as Frank is about to be shot, the Kempeitai arrest the woman who stole Juliana's luggage and release him. Kido however informs him that she was arrested too late to save his family, enraging him.
The Illustrated Woman
Joe and Juliana must act quickly as a vicious bounty hunter known as 'The Marshal' arrives in Canon City investigating the death of the Origami man. Tagomi makes plans with Wegener to pass valuable secrets from the Reich, and Frank plots his revenge against the Japanese.
Joe is increasingly torn between duty and his growing feelings for Juliana. While Ed tries to stop Frank from making an irrevocable decision, Smith’s investigation is interrupted when he has trouble with his witness, and Tagomi’s plan goes awry as events take a dramatic turn at the Crown Prince’s speech.
The New Normal
Juliana returns home, only to discover new clues that lead her closer to unravelling the mystery behind the films. Meanwhile, Joe faces a tough debriefing upon his return home. Kido begins his investigation into the events surrounding the Crown Prince’s Speech, while Tagomi and Wegener make a last-ditch attempt to complete their mission.
Joe celebrates VA day at Smith’s house. Juliana accepts a job working for Tagomi as she continues her search for answers. Smith who has received intelligence about Wegener's activities but also happens to be an old friend intercepts him at the airport and invites him for dinner hoping to probe Wegener for answers. Smith has Wegener arrested. Smith catches Joe sneaking through his files.
Juliana makes a startling discovery about her sister’s death. Frank reflects on recent events and makes an important decision about his future, and Tagomi gains greater insight into Juliana’s past.
End of the World
Juliana and Frank make plans to escape the Pacific States, only to be dragged back into danger by Joe as he tries to retrieve a new film. Meanwhile, Smith's loyalty is put to the ultimate test when confronted with a startling family discovery. The episode is named after the song of the same name, which is performed during the episode with Japanese lyrics.
With time running out, a desperate Frank is forced to put his life on the line to help Joe. The pieces finally fall into place for Smith as he uncovers who was behind the assassination attempt. Tagomi is devastated when he’s confronted with the consequences of his scheming, and Kido’s investigation takes a dramatic turn when he makes an important discovery. Meanwhile, Frank and Juliana, after have able to take possesion of the new film, decide to watch it, but they are shocked to found out that the film describe, apparently in the near future, a nuclear bombed San Francisco where the SS are routing survivors and executing them; among the executed there is Frank himself, among the SS there is Joe.
A Way Out
Realizing that Joe is a Nazi agent, Frank and Juliana angrily confront him, but he leaves with the film to the Nazi embassy. They make a deal with the Resistance to escape on a boat to Mexico if Juliana infiltrates the embassy to recover the film and lures Joe into a fatal ambush prepared by Lem. At the Embassy, however, Joe finds out from Smith's men that Heydrich is preparing his own trap. Kido and Yoshida act on the information from the yakuza, quickly finding and killing the Nazi sniper responsible for the attempt on the Crown Prince's life. Kido explains that arresting the sniper would have drawn the Empire into a losing war with Germany and orders Yoshida to cover up the killing, knowing full well he will have to officially conclude the investigation has failed. Kido implicitly informs Tagomi that he knew about his deal with Wegener, but also adds he has reached a mutual understanding and will not take any action. At the Wyndham-Matson factory, Ed is caught trying to dispose of Frank's gun, which Yoshida presents to Kido to stop him from committing seppuku. Heydrich kidnaps Smith and demands his loyalty in anticipation of Wegener assassinating Hitler. Wegener says goodbye to his family in Berlin and travels to Hitler's private castle in the Austrian Alps to carry out Heydrich's mission, however he cannot bring himself to pull the trigger and kills himself instead. At the same time, Smith's men arrive to turn the tables on Heydrich, putting him under arrest. Convincing Juliana that watching the films truly did change him, Joe evades Lem's ambush and makes it onto the escape boat in her place. Frank finds out that Ed has been arrested and returns to the Kempeitai headquarters to find him being detained.
In the final scene, Tagomi goes to a park to meditate with Juliana's charm and finds himself in an alternate 1962 where the Allies won World War II.