Hans-Peter Reim is an agent with the Stasi.
Stasi is the commonly term for the State Security Service of the East German nation.
More specifically, he is a 2nd Lieutenant in the Hauptabteilung VI (HA VI), or Main Department VI, which is responsible for passport control, tourism, and transit traffic. Those are interesting varied areas of responsibility though it is easy to see how they all do connect. People coming into the country for business or pleasure, though the latter would seem far less likely, would be subject to monitoring as would be any movement inside the nation.
We are told in a short promo by the author that "Reim is a lieutenant in the Ministry for State Security of the GDR. He enjoys his work, he believes he's good at it. But it's not always easy being a Stasi, even for Reim". According to Reim's immediate supervisor, Reim was "one of my best operatives" which is on the positive side; to the negative is his follow-up statement that "every so often you go off the rails, which makes me think I need to keep a closer eye on you". Reim was understandably mute to that.
One thing that Reim has learned the hard way even before we meet him, something that he will re-learn over and over, is that being good at his job with the Stasi is not necessarily a good thing. Arresting the guilty when they are powerful people can be terribly dangerous. Not arresting the guilty powerful people, for whatever reason, is also a great way to be punished because their rivals then become his enemies.
Unfortunately for Reim, he is at heart a good man wanting to do good things, even if he tends to appreciate the contents of the bottle a bit too much. He has scruples in an environment where such possessions are suspect.
Reim is married to Renate but it seems to be a marriage made in somewhere less idyllic than Heaven. Exactly what the problem is remains largely a mystery; at time they seem almost loving but at other times they seem antagonists sharing an apartment. Her later escaping to West Germany causes some amount of trouble for Reim.
- regarding being interrogated by those on his own side, "My comrades love a good question, maybe that's why they were asking me again. And again. And again."
- After a long, grueling period incarcerated and interrogated, Reim is allowed to return home. "I went back to the kitchen and reintroduced myself to the bottle. There were no objections when I suggested we should go to bed together".