||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2014)|
|Created by||Lars Lundström|
|Country of origin||Sweden|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||20|
|Executive producer(s)||Stefan Baron
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Sveriges Television (SVT)
Matador Film AB
|Distributor||ShineReveille International (worldwide)|
|Original channel||Sveriges Television (SVT)|
|Original run||January 22, 2012– present|
Äkta människor (English title: Real Humans) is a 2012 Swedish science fiction/drama series set in an alternate near-future version of Sweden where consumer-level humanoid robot workers and servants are widespread. The series follows the resulting emotional effects on two families as well as the trials of a group of robots who have attained free will and want their freedom from human ownership.
It premiered on SVT 1 on 22 January 2012. The series was written by Lars Lundström and directed by Harald Hamrell and Levan Akin. As of 2013, the series has been sold to about 50 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, and South Korea. A second season of ten episodes premiered on SVT1 in October 2013. In April 2013 the "Real Humans" official Facebook page posted a message that Lars Lundström is currently writing the third series, but as of August 2014, SVT is yet to officially announce whether the series will be renewed for a third season.
- 1 Setting
- 2 Characters
- 3 Story
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Reception
- 6 Future Developments
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The story takes place in Sweden present time in a parallel universe, where the use of consumer-level androids is commonplace. The androids, known as hubots, are used as servants, workers, and company. While some people embrace this new technology, others are frightened by what can happen when humans are replaced as workers, company, parents, and even lovers. A moderate political movement against the spread of hubots calls itself "real humans", with some members using the derogatory term "Pacmans" to refer to hubots.
Specific models are designed for various roles, each with different features. Hubots are usually programmed to recognise and obey their owner and can learn skills and pick up knowledge through observation of humans. Hubots have become common in many workplaces, especially for repetitive tasks, and have replaced human workers there.
Though they are designed to look like humans in every way, hubots are usually easy to recognise as they have bright flawless skin, glossy hair and unnaturally bright (usually very blue or very green) eyes. All Hubots also have a USB-like port in the back of their neck which is used for programming and data. The button to activate or de-power a hubot is located under the left armpit, as is a standard wall plug cord for recharging purposes. Hubots require only electricity to survive and must recharge regularly, during which they enter a sleep-like state. Their skin feels similar to human skin and is kept at body temperature but beneath the skin, they have metal components and contain a blue fluid/lubricant known as HubFluid.
Hubots are designed to be docile and obedient and are programmed with a set of rules called "Asimov" protocols that prevent them harming humans. However, some hubots have been modified beyond the legal protocols to make them better lovers or as bodyguards. Such practices are illegal in Sweden and those who modify the programming of the hubots are known as "home-brewers". A small, low-funded branch of the police is set up to investigate hubot related crimes, known as E-HURB. Hubot-human sexual activity is taboo but not uncommon and many hubots are programmed for limited sexual activity. Those who pursue sexual relationships with hubots are derisively called "Hubbies".
Further to this, some hubots (those reprogrammed by hubot creator David Eischer) have started to develop feelings, desires and their own goals as their programming has allowed them to develop free will and independence from humans. However, they are still often naive and unworldly and sometimes fail to understand the nuances of complex human behaviour.
The Engman Family
- Pia Halvorsen (sv), Inger Engman, a hard working lawyer
- Johan Paulsen (sv), Hans Engman, Inger's husband
- Natalie Minnevik (sv), Matilda Engman, the eldest Engman child who works in a supermarket
- Kåre Hedebrant, Tobias Engman (nicknamed "Tobbe"), a teenage school student
- Aline Palmstierna (sv), Sofia Engman, the youngest Engman daughter
- Sten Elfström, Lennart Sollberg, Inger's father who lives alone with his Hubot companion(s)
- Alexander Stocks (sv), Odi, Lennart's much beloved hubot companion
- Anki Larsson (sv), Vera, a less genial hubot designed to look after Lennart's health in old age
- Lisette Pagler (sv), Anita, a hubot that Hans purchases for the family (see Mimi)
The Children of David Eischer
- Andreas Wilson, Leo Eischer, David's son (in flashback 10 year old Leo is played by Romeo Altera (sv))
- Eva Röse, Niska, David Eischer's main hubot assistant, de facto leader of the "free" hubots
- Lisette Pagler (sv), Mimi, a hubot with free will that seems to have feelings for Leo (see Anita)
- David Lenneman (sv), Fred, a hubot with free will
- André Sjöberg, Gordon, a hubot with free will
- Josephine Alhanko, Flash (Florentine), a hubot with free will
- Saunet Sparell (sv), Marylyn, a hubot with free will
- Christopher Wagelin (sv), Max, a hubot who does not yet have free will
The Engman's Neighbours
- Camilla Larsson (sv), Therese, Neighbour of the Engmans and friend of Inger's
- Leif Andrée, Roger, Therese's husband who works in a warehouse, is adoptive father to Kevin and is sceptical of hubots
- Fredrik Silbersky (sv), Kevin, Therese's son
- Johannes Bah Kuhnke (sv), Rick, Therese's hubot
Other Major Characters
- Thomas W. Gabrielsson, David Eischer, Leo's father and the programmer who created the code that allows hubots to attain free will
- Marie Robertson, Beatrice "Bea" Novak, female detective with E-HUB, may have a secretive past...
- Ola Wahlström (sv), Ove Holm, a male detective with E-HUB
- Jimmy Lindström (sv), Malte Koljonen, a volatile anti-hubot activist
- Anna Sise (sv), Pilar, Therese's best friend who works at a gym
- Rennie Mirro (sv), Bo, Pilar's hubot
- Måns Nathanaelson, Jonas Boberg, owner of the hubot retail store "Hubot Market"
- Dan Ekdahl (sv), Arnold, Jonas' hubot
- Peter Viitanen (sv), Silas, a thief, trafficker and illegal modifier of hubots
- Sofia Bach (sv), Asa, the pastor and wife to Eva. She believe's the hubot's wont harm anyone.
- Ellen Jelinek, Eva, the vicar's wife who is not fond of hubots
- Shebly Niavarani, Henning, Inger Engman's manager at the lawfirm
- Niklas Jarneheim (sv), Magnus, Inger Engman's colleague at the lawfirm
The show follows several characters at once through intertwining stories and is told partially through flashback. These characters are roughly divided into ten distinct subset of people/groups/families around which the story revolves back and forth in each episode.
- Engman Family (father, mother, elder daughter, son, younger daughter)
- Engman Family Grandfather (mother's father living alone with hubots)
- Engman Neighbour Husband (Roger, living alone after Theresa departs)
- Engman Neighbour Wife (Theresa who leaves Roger and settles in a new home with son Kevin and family Hubot)
- Children of Escher Group 1 (under the control of Niska, always on the move)
- Children of Escher Group 2 (Leo and an Escher Hubot who split from Group 1 to go search for the kidnapped Mimi)
- Jonas and the Hubot Market (operated by Jonas Boberg)
- Silas (Silas operates from a shady warehouse along with a hubot assistant)
- E-HURB Detectives (Ove and Bea, as they chase after the Group 1 hubots from one place to the next)
- Intelligence Services (who have been pursuing the Escher hubots independently)
Leo Eischer leads a group of free hubots reprogrammed to be capable of emotion, desires and free will. The group includes Mimi, Niska, Fred, Gordon, Flash, Marylyn and Max. They are on the run fighting for freedom and electrical recharging while being sought by the police. Mimi is kidnapped by a pair of black marketeers (led by Silas) and illegally reprogrammed and sold on to the manager of the "Hubot Market" retail store, Jonas. Driven by their history, Leo, himself half-human half-hubot, goes on a mission to find her accompanied by Max. Leo instructs the others head to a nearby church without him with the intention of asking the vicar there for sanctuary. In Leo's absence, Niska assumes the role of leader of the group and shows that she is completely ruthless by secretly killing two humans to eliminate witnesses of their recent recharging. From the remains, the police deduce that hubots may be involved in the double murder.
Hans Engman goes to the Hubot Market retailer to buy his father-in-law Lennart a replacement for his hubot companion Odi, which has a malfunction. Lennart is very attached to Odi and reluctant to replace him. Jonas, the manager, sells Hans an expensive nurse model (Vera) by sealing the deal with an additional free hubot. Hans' wife and busy lawyer Inger reluctantly agrees to the family trying the hubot, which they call Anita, unaware that it's the reprogrammed Mimi. The different members of the Engman family react differently to Anita, their first hubot. Inger demands that Anita should be treated as a part of the family and not like a slave or appliance. Their teenage son Tobias ("Tobbe") struggles with his sexual attraction to Anita whilst their youngest daughter Sofia sees her as a friend.
Meanwhile, rather than let Odi be destroyed and recycled at the disposal facility, Lennart stashes his ex-companion in his basement. Later he's disappointed with the new hubot Vera, who matronly frustrates his lifestyle on health grounds. Behind Vera's back, he turns secretly to reactivating his old companion Odi.
The Engman's neighbour Roger works at a warehouse where hubots are replacing more and more labor. He is sour and surly about this increasingly inhuman workplace and the affection his wife Therese shows for their hubot Rick. After Roger angrily hits her, Therese leaves him and takes away her son Kevin to whom Roger is an adopted father. Following encouragement from her friend Pilar, Therese begins an affair with Rick.
Niska and the free hubots reach the church and are taken in by the vicar who invites them to stay in her attic. Though the vicar is trusting towards the hubots, her wife is much more reluctant and worried about the situation. As they recharge in the attic and read, Gordon becoming increasingly inspired by the bible and Flash dreams of marriage and family life with a human male.
Following the break-up, Roger's hatred for hubots festers and he heads out to an anti-hubot political meeting. There he meets an extremist (Malte) who wants to begin terrorist attacks in order to free society from hubots. Malte and Roger conspire together with an E-HURB police detective Bea to take stronger action. Together, the three of them conspire to build a bomb and detonate it at the Hubot Market store at night. Malte uses his contacts within the postal service to track down Therese for Roger and Roger confronts Therese at the flat, once again hitting her.
When EHURB detectives Bea and Ove routinely search the Vicar's house looking for the murderers, the Vicar and her wife lie to the police in order to hide the hubots. Bea finds the free hubots in the attic but allows them to remain hidden for reasons that are not yet clear.
Lennart dreams of escaping from the nagging of Vera and going fishing again. Reactiving Odi, he slips out of the house to do so.
When the malfunctioning Odi crashes the car, Lennart orders him to hide in the woods. Lost and alone, Odi is abducted by Silas (the hubot trafficker who abducted Mimi) and reprogrammed to serve them. Lennart lies to his family about what happened and resolves himself to live contently with Vera.
Living in fear of Roger, Therese seeks to have Rick reprogrammed illegally so he is capable of protecting her. In fact, it is Leo (working undercover at a Hubot brothel) who agrees to upgrade Rick and programs him to have complete free will. When Roger returns to try and force himself into their new apartment, Rick beats him up.
It is revealed that Bea is in fact a free hubot herself who disguises herself as a real human through the use of make up and contact lenses. It is unclear how she has infiltrated the police and why she has infiltrated the anti-hubot extremists but has no apartment and squats in other apartments in order to recharge. She communicates with Niska online and it is apparent that the two of them are coordinating their plans. She gives to her police partner, Ove, a birthday gift of a keyring in the shape of a 1950s style robot.
It is further revealed through flashback that all of the free hubots are the "children" of David Eischer, Leo's father. David altered the programming of the hubots in order to give them free will, emotions and their own desires. In the flashbacks both Mimi is shown living with David and young Leo and Leo's mother resembles Bea exactly. It appears that Leo's mother accidentally drowned whilst swimming. Leo jumped into the lake to try to rescue her but all but drowned himself and is rescued by Mimi. With Leo in intensive care and sure to die, David decides to break the law and use hubot technology to partially rebuild Leo in order to save him with the help of the doctor. As a result, Leo also has a port in his side and must charge himself in order to live. All of David Eischer's "children" including Leo have a distinctive tattoo of the initials DE inside their right elbow.
Malte and Roger travel to Hubot Market in the dead of night in order to carry out their terrorist attack. Unbeknownst to them, Leo is inside the building interrogating the manager Jonas to find out the location of Mimi. Max is destroyed in the blast and Jonas is badly injured and horribly scarred. However, Leo luckily escapes.
When Therese and Pilar are shocked that their hubot lovers Rick and Bo are denied entry to a nightclub, they encourage Inger to be their lawyer and help them sue the nightclub in the hope of stopping discrimination against hubot-human couples. The case does not go to trial however as the opposing lawyer threatens to expose that Therese and Pilar have had Rick and Bo illegally modified.
By questioning Anita, eldest daughter Mathilda finds that Anita sometimes experiences memories of her former life. Through software controls, Mathilda is able to restore Mimi's personality and memories. Recording some fragmentary details of Mimi's previous existence, Mathilda returns Mimi back to being Anita again and reveals what she has learnt to her mother, Inger.
Lennart meets a flirtatious lady friend at an art class but suffers a minor heart attack and is only saved by the quick response of Vera. Following this incident, he learns that his insurance policy allows for him to have hubot-copy of himself made to comfort relatives in case of bereavement. He considers this option.
When the flat that Bea is squatting in is disturbed, she is forced to recharge at the police station and her identity as a hubot is uncovered by her colleague Ove. She is forced to abandon her role as a police officer. In order to find new shelter and electricity, she meets Roger and claims to have left her abusive partner. By beguiling Roger and implying that the two of them might form a relationship, Roger allows her to move in with him. Following the successful terrorist attack, Malte has become paranoid and unstable and threatens both Roger and Bea.
Following the double-murder and the terrorist attack the State Counter Espionage agency is concerned about the possibility of self-determining hubots spreading their ability to the domesticated versions and becomes involved in matters at E-HURB. Unable to recharge, Leo collapses whilst on the way to the Engman house to rescue Mimi. He is arrested by police and taken into custody by the Counter-Espionage Agency. Aware that Inger is the owner of Mimi, he requests that Inger be his lawyer. Tobbe continues to struggle with his sexual attraction to Anita, having found the sexual activity plug-in chip that came in Anita's packaging hidden in a book case. Resisting temptation, Tobbe reveals that he has found the chip when speaking to his father, Hans. As a result, Hans comforts Tobbe and throws away the chip.
Now that Rick is developing his individuality, he becomes a much more satisfying lover to Therese but is also starting to become headstrong and arrogant. This manifests in asking Therese for better clothes, propositioning sex with her in the changing room and slipping out of the house to hang out at the mall. Therese's son Kevin begins to resent Rick's presence in the house.
At the vicar's house, Flash causes some offence to the Vicar's wife with a homophobic slur (Flash dreams of family life and finds homosexual couples disturbing). Following this incident, Flash leaves the house in the night to find her own life. Meanwhile Gordon has talked of his new found faith with the vicar and attends church but the congregation do not accept him and throw him out of the church. When the vicar's wife threatens to call the police, Niska threatens her with a knife and cuts the phone line. She flees the house in terror.
Therese's son Kevin leads a gang of youths who try to sexually assault Anita whilst she is walking through an underpass. Though they run when they see Tobbe arriving, Kevin texts Tobbe in order to threaten him into keeping quiet about this to his parents. Later, Kevin's friends upload the video of the assault onto the internet.
Roger returns to work to find that, as he suspected would eventually happen, he has been made redundant and replaced by a hubot which he must now train to replace him. As the hubot needles him for taking additional breaks, he attacks the hubot with a golf club and smashes it around the head, breaking it.
Malte is shown hypocritically visiting a hubot brothel.
Lennart continues his relationship with Solveig, the woman from art class. Solveig, being a free spirit and shoplifter clashes with and mocks the strict Vera.
Now that Bea is living with Roger, she arranges for Niska and the free hubots to move into Roger's cellar without his knowledge and recharge using the connections there. Malte visits the house to retrieve something he left in the cellar but actually tries to shoot himself there. Beatrice and Niska manage to stop him without Roger or Malte realising that Niska or the other hubots are there. Malte breaks down and reveals that he has become mentally unstable. Roger agrees to let Malte stay there overnight, partly for fear he will reveal their role in the Hubot Market bombing if he goes to the hospital. Malte is not sure but thinks he remembers when Niska took the gun from his hands.
Though Leo refuses to speak to Inger unless they can be alone and unmonitored, Inger recognises that the mark on Leo's arm matches the mark on Anita's (as spotted by Mathilda). Based on what Mathilda has told her about Anita's memories as Mimi, Inger realises that Leo and Anita are linked. Based on this and the assault, Inger decides that Anita should no longer leave the house though she hides her reasons from Hans.
Angered by the assault on Anita and the online video, Tobbe attacks Kevin with a baseball bat whilst he is spraying graffiti. When Hans and Inger become aware of the online video, they scold Tobbe for not telling them what really happened to Anita. When they realise what Kevin and Tobbe have done, Hans and Inger quarrel over what to do next, with Hans believing that they should sell Anita to avoid future trouble. Kevin and Tobbe are forced to insincerely apologise to each other.
Living alone, Flash is forced to beg for money in order to use the public recharging stations. When she is spotted by Silas (the hubot trafficker who abducted Mimi and Odi), she is naively tricked into going with them by promises of free energy and new clothes. Silas recognises that she is independent and rather than reprogramming her, manipulates her into sex. He then puts Flash and Odi to work as prostitutes.
Leo is painfully interrogated by the Intelligence service. Later, Inger is not allowed to see Leo and is told the case is closed. Ove, an EHURB detective, tells her that the intelligence services intend to kill Leo in order to carry out an autopsy on his robotic brain. Through research, Inger discovers that Leo should be dead and that his father David is listed as a suicide. By threatening to go public over the case, Inger is allowed to see Leo again. Leo refuses to talk about his past but tells Inger that she should keep Mimi/Anita safe at all costs. He writes a note and asks her to show it to Mimi and get Mimi to memorise it before destroying the paper.
In flashback we see how Bea is the hubot-copy of Leo's mother. David (Leo's father) reconsiders his decision to order the copy and decides not to activate her. Acting alone, Niska activates Bea and reprograms her to have free will and emotions. She tells Bea to leave and go out into the world, ready to help for when David Eischer's free hubots escape his house. With only a roll of money, Bea catches the bus into town.
As Malte's attempted suicide was a close call with regards to their presence being discovered, the Hubots plan their next move. Niska argues that their best tool is violence (murder Roger and Malte and continue to hide out in the house) whilst Bea argues their greatest tool is love (continuing to beguile and/or seduce Roger). As Bea is the most experienced of the hubots in judging human nature, they side with her plan. Gordon misses Flash deeply and his comments on love illustrate how Niska and Bea's understanding of love is flawed.
Tobbe, encouraged by Hans, tries to start a relationship with a girl at school. However, the relationship does not work out as Tobbe still has feelings for Anita. Declaring his love for Anita, Anita does not know how to react and is unaffected by his declaration. Hans encourages Tobbe to see a therapist about his confused feelings for Anita, which he does, though it brings him no solace.
From talking to Roger, Bea learns that Roger continues to resent hubots. When telling Roger that she returns his love, Roger does not believe her because he senses she is insincere. However, in the evening Bea leaves candles and rose petals and waits for him in a silk night dress in order to seduce him. When Roger arrives, she reveals that she is a hubot but says she loves him. Roger is shocked but accepts this and they spend the night together.
Rick is becoming more arrogant and possessive and refuses to let Pilar and Therese go out drinking alone. Following an argument, Therese and Pilar de-power Rick and Bo in order to go out. Following this, Rick is angered and continues to argue with Therese. Therese and Pilar discuss Rick's growing arrogance and are concerned that a regular government hubot check up will uncover the illegal reprogramming that they have ordered for their Hubots. Whilst they are discussing this, Rick and Bo slip out of Therese and Pilar's place of work (a gym) in order to try to chat up women at the mall. Though Bo does not have the same degree of autonomy as Rick, he follow's Rick's lead in disobeying his owner. After talking to some girls, however Bo becomes worried and returns to Pilar. Rick instead decides to obsessively follow the girl he was trying to chat up despite being rejected. Running out of energy, he collapses at the side of the road. He is collected and taken to the Hubot recycling centre, where Therese collects him.
When Inger returns home, she realises that an intelligence agent has stolen her phone and wallet from her bag, which means that they also have the recording of her discussion with Leo that she recorded on her phone. However, the note from Leo is safe. Inger and Mathilda switch Anita back to Mimi's personality and give her Leo's note to memorise, which seems to be some kind of computer code. In flashback through Leo's memories we see that this is the final section of source code for the "free" hubot programming which his father David told to him. David gave the rest of the code to Niska on a hard disk. He split the code between them to encourage Niska and Leo to work together for the common good. It is implied that Bea may have made a copy of Niska's hard drive at some point.
Following a warning from her boss that the intelligence services are seizing all of their legal files, Inger feels that she needs to take immediate action to protect Mimi. After suggesting they take Mimi somewhere else, Hans objects. Inger and Hans clash with Inger seeing Mimi/Anita as part of the family and Hans wanting to keep his wife and children safe. Whilst they are arguing, Mimi disappears from the house. In the morning, the authorities come to search for Mimi and Hans leaves with Sofia to go to a hotel and keep both of them safe. Inger meets with the policeman Ove who explains what the security services are trying to cover up. He gives Tobbe the "robot" keyring that Bea gave him to illustrate how these free hubots are capable of free thought.
In the morning, Malte also discovers that Bea is a hubot. As he begins to shout, Niska and the others come out from the basement and reveal themselves. Malte flees and drives away in fear and Bea introduces them as her friends. Roger stays put but is intimidated by their presence. Niska tells him, "Welcome to our house". Niska follows Malte to his mother's house just as the police are waiting to arrest him over the bombing. Niska gets to Malte first and kills him. Bea tells Roger about her dream of free hubots becoming the dominant species and (perhaps insincerely) that the human friends and lovers of the hubots will have their lifespans extended by being hybridised with hubot technology.
Later, Kevin visits Roger and is surprised to find so many people in the house. Roger introduces Bea as his girlfriend but lies about their nature as hubots and says that they are guest workers to Sweden who he is boarding. Roger makes Kevin phone his mother and explain where he is. Therese is frustrated that Kevin would want to see Roger but Kevin tells he that he cannot live in the same house as Rick any more. Therese tells Kevin that she will indeed get rid of Rick in order to make him happy again. With Pilar's help, she contacts the human trafficker (the same one who now "owns" Odi and Flash) in order to sell Rick. She tricks Rick into leaving the house with her in order to take him to the trafficker, where he is de-powered and sold.
Bea and Niska phone and go to meet Ove the E-HURB detective in order to bribe/threaten him into giving them the location and entry key to go to rescue Leo. Ove complies and gives them everything they wanted including his keys to the building which are on the robot keyring that Bea gave him. However, Beatrice turns her gun on Niska and kills her. She returns the set of keys to Ove and burns Niska's body. Her motivations are unclear at this point.
Whilst Bea and Niska are away, Fred asks Gordon to help him locate the hard drive. Fred believes that Niska and Bea want to use the "free" hubot code on the hard drive to free all hubots which Fred believes will lead to a disastrous war and persecution of hubots. Overhearing Fred and Gordon, Kevin figures out that the guests in the house are all hubots and runs to wake and tell Roger. Roger tells Kevin some of what has happened and they decide to take action to try to sell the hubots in the house to get rid of them (Roger refuses to call the police due to his involvement in the bombing). They lock Fred in one room and manage to de-activate Gordon. Fred breaks free and tries to explain that he is on Roger's side (in wanting to stop Bea) but Kevin smashes his head off with a baseball bat.
The doctor who is tending to Leo's wounds decides to help him to escape the intelligence agency's facility by running the security camera on a loop and slipping him a set of keys.
Bea breaks into the intelligence facility (not knowing Leo has already escaped) just as it is going into lock down. By phoning in a bomb scare to the building, she ensures the building is evacuated so that she can hack into their computer records. By re-running security footage, she sees Leo escaping with the doctor. She escapes the facility in a body bag.
Following the bombing of his Hubot Market store, Jonas decides to try to profit from what has happened. His father was friends with David Eischer and he is able to identify Flash as an Eischer hubot through her arm tattoo. Jonas and Silas together negotiate to sell Flash to the security services. The security services assume that it is Mimi they are selling. However, they double cross both Silas and Jonas and arrest them both. With Silas arrested, Flash steals his stash of money and, buying new clothes, infiltrates a high society party to try to find the dream human husband she has always wanted.
We see that Leo managed to find Mimi at the Engman's house and now both of them are lying low near the train tracks. He tells Mimi that he loves her and the purpose of the piece of code he sent her on the note. Mimi recharges Leo with her own power and wants to take him to hospital. However, in great and constant pain, Leo has become suicidal. The security services soon track them down and Mimi escapes whilst Leo is handcuffed to a train car. Whilst the agent is chasing Mimi, Bea finds him. Leo is overwhelmed to see his mother's face again. Deliriously, he gives her the final part of the code. Then Bea, continues what Leo was trying to start and short circuits his electrical system, killing him. Beatrice and the intelligence agent shoot each other in a stand off but whilst the intelligence agent is killed, Bea is only damaged. She escapes once more.
Lennart suffers another heart attack and with Vera's help is rushed to hospital. Sofia spots Odi on the way to the hotel (Odi is again on the street as a male prostitute). She runs to hug him and Odi recognises and greets Sofia and Hans. On hearing the news about Lennart, all of the Engmans rush to the hospital, taking Odi with them. Lennart is overjoyed to see Odi again and Odi consoles him during his final hours. Following this, Hans and Inger repair their differences.
Roger and Kevin sit waiting with baseball bats to see if Bea or Niska will return but they do not. Roger and Kevin have bonded over their struggle. In flashback, we see that David Eischer planned to (with Niska's help) transfer his consciousness into a hubot body, though this seems to fail. At the time, David had doubts about Niska's role in the project and believes she may not have acted honestly. Following David's death, Niska burns the house to the ground so that the hubots can escape and live free with Leo on the run.
The Engmans are shocked to find that Mimi has returned to live with them, though they welcome her back into the family. Meanwhile, Tobbe finds that the Robot keyring is in fact a memory stick. He plugs the stick into his computer and apparently the code starts to auto-run.
Series 1 (2012)
|№||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||AU air date||AU viewers|
|1||"Break In, Break Loose"||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||22 January 2012||1 December 2012|
|An elderly man driving home hits a pedestrian, then discovers that it is a "Hubot", one of a population of intelligent, lifelike humanoid robots that are now commonplace in society. Seeing a group of Hubots approaching, the man panics and returns to his farm, but the Hubots follow, capturing the man and his wife. In the struggle, two of the Hubots are damaged and one of them, Mimi, is seized and taken away by Silas, a black-market Hubot dealer, who has been tracking them in hopes of capturing and selling them. The remaining Hubots, led by a human, Leo Eischer, includes Mimi, Niska, Fred, Gordon, Flash, Marylyn and Max. Leo instructs the Hubots to hide out at a nearby church, then he leaves with Max to search for Mimi. In his absence, Niska assumes leadership and instructs the others to head for the church, but after they leave she returns to the farm and murders the couple to stop them talking. In the nearby city, Hans Engmann goes to buy a new Hubot for his widowed father-in-law Lennart, to replace Lennart's outdated hubot, Odi. Jonas, the Hub-Market manager (who is in league with Silas) pressures Hans into buying an expensive nurse/housekeeper model, Vera, and clinches the deal by offering Hans an additional free Hubot - Mimi, who has been reprogrammed by Silas and now has no memory of her past life. Hans' lawyer wife Inger reluctantly agrees to try the Hubot, whom they name Anita. Inger insists that Anita be treated as a part of the family, youngest daughter Sofia sees her as a friend, but teenage son Tobias ("Tobbe") soon develops an attraction to Anita. The Engmann's neighbour, Roger, who lives with his partner Therese and stepson Kevin, is resentful of the introduction of Hubots at his workplace, and is further alienated by Therese's handsome Hubot trainer/companion, Rick. The lonely Lennart balks at handing over Odi to be destroyed at a Hubot disposal facility, so he takes him home and hides him in his basement. Later, frustrated by Vera's controlling manner, Lennart secretly reactivates Odi.|
|2||"Trust No One"||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||22 January 2012||8 December 2012|
|The episode opens with a flashback to Leo's childhood, involving his father David, and several of the Hubots, including Niksa and Fred. In the present, Ove and Bea, officers of the Hubot crime task force E-HURB, investigate the murders of the elderly couple. The Engmanns learn to adapt to Mimi's presence, but Roger's resentment of Hubots grows. During an argument, he hits Therese, who immediately packs up and leaves with Kevin. Meanwhile, Leo leaves Max to venture into the sordid underworld of the Hubot sex trade in search of Mimi. The fugitive Hubots, still on the run, are pursued by E-Hub, and Niska again shows her ruthlessness by killing a police dog that is tracking them. Leo collapses in the toilets of the Hubot sex club, and we discover that he is in fact a human/Hubot hybrid. Therese and Inger dine with Therese's friend Pilar, whose relationship with her Hubot, Bo, has moved to a more intimate level. Leo recovers, and reunites with Max, while the other Hubots reach the church, where they are discovered recharging by the pastor.|
|3||"The Lord Shall Be Our Companion"||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||29 January 2012||15 December 2012|
|At the church, Niska convinces Asa, the pastor, to hide them in her attic, but Asa's partner Eva is suspicious of their presence. Leo and Max continue their search for Mimi. The increasingly alienated Roger attends a meeting of a radical anti-Hubot group, "Real Humans", where he meets Malte, an ardent anti-Hubot activist, as well as Bea, the E-HURB officer, who has apparently infiltrated the group. As Mimi becomes part of the Engmann family, Tobbe's attraction to her continues to grow. Bea and Ove, still tracking the renegade Hubots, visit Asa's house, but when Bea investigates the attic and sees Niska, she says nothing to Ove about their presence. Lennart evades Vera, and slips out of the house to take Odi on a fishing trip. As the episode ends Leo experiences another flashback to the crucial event of his childhood - the drowning of his mother, his own near death, and his rescue by Mimi.|
|4||"Semi-Human Rights"||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||5 February 2012||22 December 2012|
|Lennart's escapade ends badly when Odi drives recklessly, bringing the police in pursuit. When Odi runs the car off the road, a panicked Lennart sends Odi off to hide in the forest, and Lennart is arrested for dangerous driving. Therese, Rick, Pilar and Bo go on a couples' night-out, but after the Hubots are refused entry to a club, Therese and Pilar hire Inger to act for them in suing the club. Lennart returns to the forest but cannot find Odi, who has wandered away and become lost. Leo continues searching for Mimi in the Hubot underworld, but he collapses again, and we see that the entry site for his charger cord is injured and bleeding. He experiences another flashback to his childhood - Mimi had rescued him from drowning, but he is taken to hospital in a critical condition. Roger tracks down Therese at her new apartment, but they argue, and Roger again loses control and hits Therese. Inger's boss Henning agrees to let her take on Pilar and Therese's case. After Pilar suggests that she can have Bo reprogrammed, Therese visits the same black-market Hubot sex shop where Leo is working. Leo reprograms Rick, removing his Asimov constraints, and enhancing his sexual functions. Roger meets again with Malte and Bea; he learns of Malte's violent outlook, his stash of weapons, and his plan to bomb the Hub-Market, but when Bea leaves the room, it is revealed that she is actually another of the freed Hubots, in disguise. Later Bea secretly meets with Niska to discuss their plans. Leo, now armed with a pistol, tracks Mimi to Silas' workshop and demands to know where Mimi has been taken. Enraged, he suddenly draws his gun and kills Silas' associate, Jim, in cold blood, but he is then seized by Silas' Hubot assistant, who strangles and apparently kills him. As he loses consciousness, there is another flashback to his childhood - after being told that Leo's condition is hopeless, David begs the doctors to save Leo's life with Hubot implants, but they refuse, so David takes Leo away to perform the operation himself.|
|5||""Power at Heart""||Levan Akin||Lars Lundström||12 February 2012||29 December 2012|
|Therese and Rick's romance blossoms, but Kevin is alienated by their behaviour. A mysterious government intelligence agent visits Jonas, and interrogates him about the "freed" Hubots, and the rumour that Leo's father, David Eischer, created a programming code that gives Hubots free will. Bea and Niska continue to communicate secretly about their plans via an internet dating site. The intelligence officer meets Ove and orders him to surrender all of E-HURB's files on the Hubot murders. Odi, now in Silas' possession, is re-programmed to recognise Silas as his owner. Asa and Eva argue over hiding the Hubots, while the Hubots themselves argue over whether they should leave, or wait for Leo. Silas orders his Hubots to dismember and dispose of the bodies of Jim and Leo, but then discovers that Leo is a hybrid, and is still alive. Therese and Rick go shopping, but Rick begins to show that he now has a will of his own. Mathilde questions Anita/Mimi about her past, and discovers an alternate 'unknown' operating system in her software - when she reactivates it, Mimi regains her full memory and identity as a freed Hubot. Silas orders his Hubots to kill and dismember Leo, but while he is berating Leo he reveals that he sold Mimi to Jonas' Hub-Market. Just as the Hubots are about to start their grisly task, Jonas arrives unexpectedly, and Leo is able to escape. Bea, who has been 'squatting' in an unoccupied apartment, copies the Eischer code onto a USB stick. Leo reunites with Max and goes to the Hub-Market, where he confronts Jonas, forcing him to reveal that Mimi was sold to the Engmanns. While they are talking, Malte and Roger arrive at the Hub-Market and plant the bomb, which explodes just after Leo leaves the building. Mimi tells Mathilde that the 'tattoo' on her arm means she is one of the 'children' of David Eischer, whom she calls "our liberator".|
|6||"Sly Leo"||Levan Akin||Lars Lundström||19 February 2012||5 January 2013|
|In the wake of the Hub-Market bombing, Jonas has survived, but he is horribly burned. Malte calls the media to claim responsibility in the name of the "Real Humans Liberation Front". Leo almost makes it to the Engmann home, but in his weakened state he collapses in the street, only metres from the house. Bea meets with Niska, who tells her that the vital final part of the Eischer code stored as audio information in Leo's "bio brain", and in an ironic twist, while they talk, they drive right past the stricken Leo without recognising him, and the next morning Leo is found and taken to hospital. After reading a bible Asa has given him, Gordon discusses his spiritual aspirations with her, but Flash upsets Eva when she sees a photo of Eva and Asa's wedding and abuses her as a "homo freak". Lennart attends an art class, where he meets a vivacious older lady. When the doctors discover Leo's hybrid nature, the intelligence agency takes him into custody and begin interrogating him. Niska forces Flash to apologise to Eva for her insult. At E-HURB headquarters, Ove examines the remains of Max, who has been destroyed in the explosion. When Bea arrives, she gives Ove the robot-shaped USB stick with the copy of the Eischer code, ostensibly as a birthday present. When Ove leaves the lab, Bea uses a taser to destroy Max's brain, but then Ove returns unexpectedly and discovers Bea recharging, and with her cover now blown she is forced to overpower Ove and escape. Therese and Pilar abandon their lawsuit after they learn that the defence team will insist that Rick and Bo are checked for illegal modifications. Lennart suffers a heart attack, but he is saved by Vera. Following a series of confrontations with Eva, Gordon and Niska, Flash leaves the group. Bea meets with Roger and gains his confidence by pretending she has just ended an abusive relationship, and that she has romantic feelings for him. At the hospital, Lennart is told that his insurance includes the right to have a digital "clone" made of his personality, which can be installed into a Hubot in the event of his death. When Roger and Bea return home, they discover that Malte is beginning to crack, and he threatens them with a gun. Tobbe breaks down and confesses to Hans about his feelings for Mimi. Disturbed by the Hubots' continued presence, Eva tries to call the police, but she is stopped by Niska, who threatens to kill her, and Eva runs away in terror. Gordon attends a church service but he is thrown out of the church by the enraged congregation, so he rejoins the other Hubots, and they flee.|
|7||"Blind Love"||Levan Akin||Lars Lundström||26 February 2012||12 January 2013|
|8||"Make Haste"||Levan Akin||Lars Lundström||4 March 2012||19 January 2013|
|9||"Heritage"||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||11 March 2012||26 January 2013|
|10||"The Code"||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||18 March 2012||2 February 2013|
|Bea and Niska meet with Ove, bribing him to obtain his security pass so they can rescue Leo, but the meeting ends unexpectedly when Bea shoots Niksa in the head, destroying her brain. Flash leaves the group, disguises herself as a human and resolves to meet a human man and forge a new life for herself. Surveillance cameras lead the intelligence agent to Mimi and Leo in the underground railway tunnel where they are hiding; Leo begs Mimi to help him die, but the government agent arrives, and Mimi is forced to flee. While he pursues Mimi, Bea arrives, obtains the final part of the code from Leo, and then kills him but at that moment the intelligence agent arrives and confronts Bea. She offers to give him the hard drive containing the main part of the code, but when the agent's guard is down she shoots him, although he also manages to wound her. Bea picks up the hard drive, but finds it has apparently been destroyed by her gunshot, so she drops it and vanishes.|
Series 2 (2013)
A second series has been commissioned and the first episode aired on December 1, 2013, on SVT1.
|№||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||1 December 2013|
The story picks up six months after Leo's death: Tobbe's inadvertent opening of the Eischer Code has released the incomplete code onto the internet, where it acts like a malware virus, infecting Hubots and causing serious malfunctions. Inger meets with a government official, who asserts that the Eischer Code does not exist, and Inger is forced to acquiesce to the government's sanitised version of the events surrounding Leo's imprisonment and death. On her way home, Inger witnesses the effect of the virus first-hand, when a Hubot violently malfunctions on a train. Flash starts a relationship with a human named Douglas, but it gets off to a rocky start when Douglas' ex-wife arrives. A pair of railway maintenance workers find Bea's inactive body in a railway tunnel, where she had fallen after being shot by the agent, but when they reactivate her, she brutally slays them both and escapes. Roger, now jobless, spots a "help wanted" ad for a new business. Silas is released from prison after serving time for the extortion attempt and reunites with Jonas. They return to Silas' workshop to find Odi still waiting for them. Bea visits Ove's home in search of the USB stick, but Ove's wife recognises Bea, so she kills Ove's wife and son to avoid detection. Jonas introduces Silas to his new business, Hub Battle Land, a battle simulation game where humans compete against Hubots, and Silas puts Odi to work as the receptionist. Kevin becomes more involved with the Real Humans group, for whom Eva is also now working, and Kevin is attracted to one of the girls in the group. Jonas purchases a Hubot clone of himself, and sets up a computer lab in the basement of Hub Battle Land. He reveals to Silas that he has obtained the damaged Niska hard-drive, containing the incomplete version of the code, and has managed to retrieve some of the data, and he asks Silas for his help in reconstructing the Code.Mimi asks Tobbe to test her in case she is infected, and he finds she is clear of the virus, but when she returns to her room, Bea is waiting for her. Bea asks for the last part of the code, but Mimi lies and says she doesn't have it. Bea then makes Mimi repeat a series of phrases which apparently activate her "affirmative pursuit", overriding her initial resistance to Bea's declaration that Hubots are destined to rule the world.
|2||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||8 December 2013|
|Bea continues searching for the code that makes machines human. In her search for the scientist David Eischer’s clone, she seeks out David’s mother. Tobias struggles with his transhuman sexuality, as his heart still longs for Mimi. The Engman family receives a package containing their Granddad’s clone. Meanwhile, at Hub Battle Land, Silas works to get the business off the ground and Roger arrives for a job interview.|
|3||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||15 December 2013|
|Bea and Cloette have finally located David’s clone, but the brain is missing. They continue their search while Tobias and Matilda investigate the code on the USB drive. A segment is missing and Matilda suspects that Mimi knows more than she lets on. When Roger is sent out to pick up a hubot, he’s in for an unpleasant reunion. Florentine’s dream is about to come true - she’s finally going to marry her Douglas. But perhaps human life is not all it’s cracked up to be.|
|4||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||22 December 2013|
|Douglas and Florentine plan their wedding, and Claes can’t help interfering. Back at the Engmans’, Lennart’s clone is increasingly obstinate, in particular towards Hans, who is starting to lose patience. Mimi is hired at the law firm, but not everyone likes having a hubot as a colleague. The conflict between Real Humans and the Transhumans grows increasingly antagonistic. Sooner or later everyone will have to choose sides.|
|5||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||30 December 2013|
|6||Harald Hamrell||Lars Lundström||5 January 2014|
|Therese wants to move to the more liberal Holland, but first she wants to try to convince Kevin to come along, so she visits him at the Real Humans Youth Camp. Tobias, Betty and Matilda decide to program David’s code into Lennart, with no idea of the consequences. Douglas and Florentine are placed on a three-year waiting list for adoption, but Florentine has no desire to wait - she wants a child now.|
|7||Kristina Humle||Lars Lundström||12 January 2014|
|8||Christian Eklöw, Christopher Panov||Lars Lundström||19 January 2014|
|9||Christian Eklöw, Christopher Panov||Lars Lundström||26 January 2014|
|Mimi's condition is getting worse; the Engmans discover something about her past. In an attempt to destroy Florentine, Petra turns to the police and the Real Humans; Claes and Inger fight hard to save her. Jonas continues his plan to transfer his consciousness into his clone, but to succeed, Silas must do him a great service. Jonas begins to doubt David's clone after a disclosure from Bea.|
|10||Christian Eklöw, Christopher Panov||Lars Lundström||2 February 2014|
|Florentine’s future is being settled in court and Mimi, wracked with the virus, is called as a witness. Then, an unexpected person from her past appears in the courtroom. Kevin and a group of Real Humans Youths decide to go to Hub Battle Land to destroy hubots. Meanwhile, Rick, who is armed, aims to do all that he can to defend Hub Battle Land from humans and Bea gets Roger involved in the search for the code|
The first season of the program received glowing reviews. Io9's Charlie Jane Anders called the program "startlingly beautiful", disturbing and "creepy as hell". The Australian called it "the best science fiction to hit the small screen in a long time". Joe Hubris called it "the best android story ... since Blade Runner".
- "Real Humans". Sveriges Television AB. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- "Export-success for SVT's Sci-Fi enterprise (Swedish)". Resumé.se. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- "Real Humans: Pilot Episode – Television Series Review – Everywhere – by Simone Lee". Weekendnotes.com. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- "Smygtitta på andra säsongen". SVT.se. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
- "This Swedish TV show about an abducted sex robot is creepy as hell". io9.com. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "The Weekend Australian – Review – Real Humans". The Australian. 8 December 2012.
- "Akta Good Science Fiction: A Review of SVT's Real Humans". Joehubris.com. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "Kudos to remake 'Real Humans'". Variety. Retrieved 2 March 2012.