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Elliot (Mr. Robot) Rami Malek

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Mr. Robot is an American drama thriller television series created by Sam Esmail. It stars Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer and hacker who has social anxiety disorder and clinical depression. Elliot is recruited by an insurrectionary anarchist known as "Mr. Robot", played by Christian Slater, to join a group of hacktivists called "fsociety".[8] The group aims to destroy all debt records by encrypting the financial data of the largest conglomerate in the world, E Corp.

The pilot premiered via online and video on demand services on May 27, 2015. The first season debuted on USA Network on June 24, 2015, and the second on July 13, 2016. The ten-episode third season premiered on October 11, 2017. In December 2017, Mr. Robot was renewed for a fourth season. In August 2018, it was confirmed that the fourth season, to air in 2019 and consisting of 12 episodes, will be the final season.[9]

Mr. Robot has received critical acclaim: it won the Golden Globe for Best Television Drama Series; it was recognized with a Peabody Award; and in 2016, the series received six Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series with Malek winning for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.[10][11]

Premise
Further information: List of Mr. Robot episodes
The series follows Elliot Alderson, a young man living in New York City, who works at the cyber security company Allsafe as a cybersecurity engineer. Constantly struggling with social anxiety, dissociative identity disorder and clinical depression, Elliot's thought process seems heavily influenced by paranoia and delusion.[12] He connects to people by hacking them, which often leads him to act as a cyber-vigilante. He is recruited by a mysterious insurrectionary anarchist known as Mr. Robot and joins his team of hacktivists known as fsociety. One of their missions is to cancel all consumer debt by destroying the data of one of the largest corporations in the world, E Corp (which Elliot perceives as Evil Corp), which also happens to be Allsafe's biggest client.[13]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 10 June 24, 2015 September 2, 2015
2 12 July 13, 2016 September 21, 2016
3 10 October 11, 2017 December 13, 2017
Cast
Main
Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson,[14] a senior network engineer at Allsafe Cybersecurity and a vigilante hacker.[14] He has dissociative identity disorder and deals with other mental illnesses such as clinical depression and severe anxiety, which are partly responsible for his antisocial behavior and drug use.[15][16]
Carly Chaikin as Darlene Alderson,[17] Elliot's younger sister,[18] a malware coder and one of the fsociety hackers.[19][20]
Portia Doubleday as Angela Moss,[21] Elliot's childhood friend and a fellow employee at Allsafe, later PR Manager for E Corp.[19][20][22]
Martin Wallström as Tyrell Wellick,[23] originally the ambitious Senior Vice President of Technology at E Corp and later part of fsociety.
Christian Slater as Mr. Robot,[24] an insurrectionary anarchist who recruits Elliot into an underground hacker group called fsociety;[25] and Edward Alderson, Elliot's father.[26]
Michael Cristofer as Phillip Price, the CEO of E Corp. (recurring season 1; main season 2–present)[27]
Stephanie Corneliussen as Joanna Wellick, Tyrell's wife (recurring season 1; main seasons 2–3)[27][28]
Grace Gummer as Dominique "Dom" DiPierro, an FBI field agent investigating the E Corp hack (season 2–present).[29]
BD Wong as Whiterose/Zhang, a trans woman and cyber-terrorist and head of the Dark Army, as well as China's Minister of State Security (recurring seasons 1–2; main season 3–present)[30][31]
Bobby Cannavale as Irving, a used car salesman who is a Dark Army fixer (season 3–present)[31]
Recurring
Michel Gill as Gideon Goddard, CEO of Allsafe Security. (season 1–3)[32]
Gloria Reuben as Krista Gordon, Elliot's psychiatrist.[33]
Ben Rappaport as Ollie Parker, Angela's boyfriend and an employee at Allsafe. (season 1–2)[34]
Ron Cephas Jones as Leslie Romero, a member of fsociety. (season 1–2)[28]
Sunita Mani as Shama "Trenton" Biswas, a member of fsociety. (season 1–3)
Azhar Khan as Sunil "Mobley" Markesh, a member of fsociety and Bank of E employee. (season 1–3)
Michael Drayer as Francis "Cisco" Shaw, Darlene's ex-boyfriend who was the U.S. liaison to the Chinese hacker group Dark Army. (season 1–3)[28]
Bruce Altman as Terry Colby, the former CTO of E Corp who is framed by fsociety for a hack attack.
Brian Stokes Mitchell as Scott Knowles, the CTO of E Corp following Colby's arrest. (season 1–2)[35]
Sakina Jaffrey as Antara Nayar, Angela's lawyer.[35]
Jeremy Holm as Donald "Mr. Sutherland" Hoffman, a hired muscle/driver under Tyrell and Joanna Wellick.
Vaishnavi Sharma as Magda, Elliot's mother. (season 1–2)
Aidan Liebman (season 1–2) and Alex Bento (season 3) as Young Elliot.
Elliot Villar as Fernando Vera, Shayla's drug supplier and Elliot's only supply of suboxone who has a unique dangerous philosophy and is obsessed with Shayla and later Elliot. (season 1, 3–)[28]
Joey Badass as Leon, a new close friend of Elliot and an inmate, as well as an agent for the Dark Army, responsible for Elliot's safety. (season 2–present)[36]
Omar Metwally as Ernesto Santiago, Dom's superior at the FBI who also works for the Dark Army to protect Tyrell Wellick. (season 2–3)
Erik Jensen as Frank Cody, a conspiracy theorist and talk show host. (season 2–present)
Grant Chang as Grant, Whiterose's assistant and lover. (season 2–3)
Stephen Lin as Hamburger Man, Elliot's contact with the Dark Army.
Season 1
Aaron Takahashi as Lloyd Chung, Elliot's co-worker at Allsafe. (guest season 2)
Frankie Shaw as Shayla Nico, Elliot's drug dealer and girlfriend.[37]
Michele Hicks as Sharon Knowles, Scott's wife. (guest season 2)
Rick Gonzalez as Isaac Vera, Vera's brother.
Season 2
Craig Robinson as Ray Heyworth, a prison warden who secretly runs a Tor routed website involving human trafficking, drugs and weapons.[38]
Sandrine Holt as Susan Jacobs, an E Corp General Counsel, known as Madame Executioner.[39]
Chris Conroy as Derek, Joanna's secret lover who works as a bartender and a DJ. (guest, season 3)[36]
Michael Maize as Lone Star, a Texas native and an off-balanced prison guard and associate of Ray.[39]
Luke Robertson as RT, Ray's former system admin who was later killed for revealing the content of Ray's website to Elliot.[39]
Season 3
Rizwan Manji as Norm, Dom's new partner working with her to investigate the 5/9 hack.[40]
Production
Conception and development

Christian Slater and Rami Malek speaking as part of the Mr. Robot panel during the 2015 PaleyFest.
Esmail, the show's creator and showrunner, is the credited writer on the vast majority of the episodes.[41] According to Sam Esmail, he is fascinated by the hacker culture and wanted to make a film about it for around 15 years.[42] In the production, Esmail consulted experts to give a realistic picture of hacking activities.[43] Another inspiration for Esmail, who is of Egyptian descent, was the Arab Spring, where young people who were angry at society used social media to bring about a change.[44][45] He's said that Elliot is a "thinly-veiled version" of himself.[46]

Sam Esmail had originally intended Mr. Robot to be a feature film, with the end of the first act being someone finding out that he had a mental disorder while enacting a greater scheme.[47] However, midway through writing the first act, he found that the script had expanded considerably, and that it had become a script more suited for a television show.[48] He removed 20 of around 89 pages of the script then written, and used it as the pilot for the series,[49] and what was to have been the end of the first act became the finale of the first season.[47] Esmail took the script to film and television production company Anonymous Content to see if it could be developed into a television series, which was then picked up by USA Network. USA Network gave a pilot order to Mr. Robot in July 2014,[50] and picked it up to series with a 10-episode order in December 2014.[51] Production began in New York on April 13, 2015.[52] The pilot premiered on multiple online and video on demand services on May 27, 2015,[53] and the series was renewed for a second season before the first season premiered on USA on June 24, 2015.[54] In December 2015, it was announced that Esmail would direct all episodes in the second season.[55] In June 2016, it was announced that the second season's episode order was increased from 10 to 12 episodes.[56] The 12-episode second season premiered on July 13, 2016.[56] On August 16, 2016, USA renewed Mr. Robot for a third season to air in 2017.[57][58] The third season debuted in October 2017 and consisted of 10 episodes. All episodes were directed by Sam Esmail, just as in the second season.[31][59] On December 13, 2017, USA renewed Mr. Robot for a fourth season.[60]

Originally, the show planned to dress Elliot in a worn sweatshirt and colorful backpack; however, Malek suggested a black backpack and wore his own B:Scott black hoodie to set.[61] The outfit became the signature look for the character, and the costume designer ordered 20 more of them, despite the item having been discontinued years earlier.[61] To portray the unusual, often confused worldview of lead character Elliot Alderson, Franklin Peterson, who edited three Mr. Robot episodes in the first season and six in the second season, used creative editing styles that included jump cuts, varied lengths of takes and shuffling scenes around within an episode and sometimes even between episodes. Esmail encouraged the experimentation as Peterson and his team explored the personality of each character in the editing suite, finding creative ways to tell their stories and maintain their humanity.[10]

Technical accuracy
Mr. Robot has been widely praised for its technical accuracy by numerous cyber security firms and services such as Avast,[62] Panda Security,[63] Avira,[64] Kaspersky,[65] ProtonMail,[66] and bloggers[67][68][69][70] who dissect and comment on the technology and the technical aspects of the show after every episode. Aside from the pilot episode, Esmail hired Kor Adana (former network security analyst and forensics manager for Toyota Motor Sales), Michael Bazzell (Security consultant and former FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force agent and investigator) and James Plouffe (lead solutions architect at MobileIron) as his advisors to oversee the technical accuracy of the show. By the second season, Adana assembled a team of hackers and cyber security experts including Jeff Moss (founder and director of Black Hat and DEF CON computer security conferences),[71] Marc Rogers (Principal security researcher for Cloudflare and head of security for DEF CON),[72] Ryan Kazanciyan (Chief security architect for Tanium) and Andre McGregor (Director of security for Tanium and former FBI Cyber Special agent) to assist him with the authenticity of the hacks and the technology being used.[73] Hacking scenes are then performed by members of the technical team in real life, recorded and rebuilt using Flash animation. Animation process is carried out by animator Adam Brustein under the direct supervision of Kor Adana himself.[74][75]

The show has also attempted to accurately represent Elliot's mental health issues. In an interview with Terry Gross for the radio show Fresh Air, Malek recounted seeking out a psychologist for guidance on schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, and social anxiety. When in meetings with Esmail, Malek's knowledge on the topics led Esmail to bring the psychologist on as a consultant for the show.[76]

Influences

Sam Esmail, Malek and others accepting the 2016 Peabody Award for Mr. Robot.
Sam Esmail has acknowledged several major influences on the show, such as American Psycho, Taxi Driver, A Clockwork Orange,[77] and The Matrix.[78] In particular, Esmail credited Fight Club as the inspiration for a main character who has dissociative identity disorder creating a new manifestation of his deceased father in the form of a hacker,[78][79][80] as well as for the anti-consumerist, anti-establishment, and anti-capitalist spirit of its characters.[81] Commentators have also noted the parallel in its plot on the erasing of consumer debt records to the film.[82][83] Even so, Lauren Lawson for GQ remarked, "Mr. Robot elevates the Fight Club formula: the show's mindfuckery lubes us up to think about society (Elliot's and ours) in a discerning way, but it's not the main event. You can see Fight Club once and pretty much get the picture, but it will take years of scholarly binge-watching to answer the questions Mr. Robot raises."[84] In an interview, Esmail explains how playing the song that David Fincher used to underscore the climax of Fight Club ("Where Is My Mind?") when Elliot initiates the hack in episode nine is intended as a message to the audience that he is aware of the inspiration they took from the film.[85] The narration by the protagonist was influenced by Taxi Driver,[86] and other influences mentioned included Risky Business in its music score, Blade Runner for the character development, and the television series Breaking Bad for the story arc.[77]

Filming locations
The series is filmed in New York. Filming locations include Silvercup Studios and Coney Island, which serves as the exterior of the base of operations for the hacking group fsociety.[87] As the production crew was unable to shut down Times Square for filming, the scenes at Times Square in the first-season finale were shot late at night just before the 4th of July holiday weekend to catch the area at its emptiest while other shots were done on sets.[88] Production on the second season began on March 7, 2016, resuming filming in New York City.[38]

Aftershows
In June 2016, USA Network announced Hacking Robot, a live aftershow hosted by Andy Greenwald to air during the second season.[89] Hacking Robot debuted after the second-season premiere and aired again following the tenth episode. In addition, a weekly web-only aftershow titled Mr. Robot Digital After Show premiered on The Verge and USA Network's websites after the third episode, and has continued through the third season.[90]

Reception
Critical response
Season Critical response
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 98% (60 reviews) 79 (24 reviews)
2 90% (39 reviews) 81 (28 reviews)
3 92% (20 reviews) 82 (9 reviews)
Season 1
The first season of Mr. Robot received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a rating of 98%, based on 60 reviews, with an average rating of 8.36/10. The site's consensus reads, "Mr. Robot is a suspenseful cyber-thriller with timely stories and an intriguing, provocative premise."[91] It set a record on Rotten Tomatoes as the only show to earn perfect episode scores for an entire season since the site began tracking television episodes.[92] On Metacritic, the first season scored 79 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[93]

Merrill Barr of Forbes gave it a very positive review, writing, "Mr. Robot has one of the best kick-offs to any series in a while" and that it "could be the series that finally, after years of ignorance, puts a deserving network among the likes of HBO, AMC and FX in terms of acclaim."[94]

In The New York Times, Alessandra Stanley noted that "Occupy Wall Street, the protest movement that erupted in 2011, didn’t do much to curb the financial industry. It didn’t die out, though. It went Hollywood", before finding Mr. Robot to be, "an intriguing new series ... a cyber-age thriller infused with a dark, almost nihilistic pessimism about the Internet, capitalism and income inequality. And that makes it kind of fun".[95] The UK The Daily Telegraph reviewer Michael Hogan gave the show five stars, finding it to be "The Matrix meets Fight Club meets Robin Hood", noting that, "bafflingly, it took months for a UK broadcaster to snap up the rights". Although Hogan found too much attention was devoted to Elliot's social anxiety, he eventually decided that "this alienated anti-hero was a brilliant, boldly complex character." Overall, Hogan concluded that the show deserved to find an audience in the UK.[96]

Mr. Robot made several critics' list for the best TV shows of 2015. Three critics, Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly, Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone, and the staff of TV Guide, named it the best show of the year. The series was also placed second on the list from three other critics, and was named among the best of the year from four other critics.[97]

Season 2
The second season also received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a score of 90%, based on 39 reviews, with an average rating of 7.92/10. The site's consensus reads: "Unique storytelling, a darker tone, and challenging opportunities for its tight cast push Mr. Robot even further into uncharted television territory."[98] On Metacritic, it has a score of 81 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[99]

Sonia Saraiya of Variety praised Rami Malek's performance and wrote, "it's Malek's soulful eyes and silent pathos that give Mr. Robot its unexpected warmth, as the viewer is lured into Elliot's chaos and confusion.[100] Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter lauded Sam Esmail's direction, writing "Esmail's camerawork—characters tucked into corners of the frame, among other nontraditional compositions—continues to give the sense of disorientation and never feels tired" and "there are some flourishes in the first two hours that are brilliantly conceived and [...] contribute to what is one of the most visually remarkable hours on television."[101]

Season 3
The third season also received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a score of 92%, based on 20 reviews, with an average rating of 8.26/10.[102] On Metacritic, it has a score of 82 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[103]

Based on six episodes for review, Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly gave it an "A" grade, calling it a "noir masterpiece", and overall, wrote that "Season 3 of Mr. Robot is a masterpiece, ballasting the global ambitions of season 2 while sharpening back to the meticulous build of season 1."[104]

Ratings
See also: List of Mr. Robot episodes § Ratings
Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired Avg. viewers
(millions) 18–49 rating
(average)
Date Viewers
(millions) Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Wednesday 10:00 pm 10 June 24, 2015 1.75[105] September 2, 2015 1.21[106] 1.39 0.48[107]
2 12 July 13, 2016 1.04[108] September 21, 2016 0.85[109] 0.74 0.30[110]
3 10 October 11, 2017 0.68[111] December 13, 2017 0.45[112] 0.53 0.22[113]
Awards and nominations
Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2015 2015 SXSW Film Audience Award Audience Award for Best Episodic Mr. Robot Won [114]
25th Gotham Independent Film Awards Breakthrough Series – Long Form Won [115]
2015 American Film Institute Awards Television Programs of the Year Won [116]
2016 42nd People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable TV Actor Christian Slater Nominated [117]
20th Satellite Awards Best Drama Series Mr. Robot Nominated [118]
Best Actor in a Drama Series Rami Malek Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film Christian Slater Won
68th Writers Guild of America Awards Best Drama Series Kyle Bradstreet, Kate Erickson, Sam Esmail, David Iserson, Randolph Leon, Adam Penn, Matt Pyken Nominated [119]
Best New Series Won
22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Rami Malek Nominated [120]
73rd Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Drama Mr. Robot Won [121]
Best Actor – Television Series Drama Rami Malek Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Christian Slater Won
6th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Mr. Robot Won [122]
Best Actor in a Drama Series Rami Malek Won
Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series BD Wong Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Christian Slater Won
Dorian Awards TV Drama of the Year Mr. Robot Nominated [123]
TV Performance of the Year – Actor Rami Malek Nominated
42nd Saturn Awards Best Action-Thriller Television Series Mr. Robot Nominated [124]
75th Peabody Awards Peabody Award Won [125]
32nd TCA Awards Program of the Year Nominated [126]
Outstanding Achievement in Drama Nominated
Outstanding New Program Won
Individual Achievement in Drama Rami Malek Nominated
68th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Drama Series Mr. Robot Nominated [127]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Rami Malek in "eps1.0 hellofriend.mov" Won
Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Sam Esmail for "eps1.0 hellofriend.mov" Nominated
Outstanding Music Composition for a Series Mac Quayle for "eps1.0 hellofriend.mov" Won
Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Susie Farris, Beth Bowling, Kim Miscia Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour) John W. Cook II, Bill Freesh, Timothia Sellers, Andrew Morgado Nominated
7th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Drama Series Mr. Robot Nominated [128]
Best Actor in a Drama Series Rami Malek Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Christian Slater Nominated
2017 74th Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Rami Malek Nominated [129]
Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Christian Slater Nominated
23rd Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Rami Malek Nominated [130]
53rd Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – One Hour William Sarokin, John W. Cook II, Bill Freesh, Beaux Nyguard and Mike Marino for "eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx" Nominated [131]
67th ACE Eddie Awards Best Edited One Hour Series for Commercial Television Philip Harrison for "eps2.4m4ster-s1ave.aes" Nominated [132]
21st Satellite Awards Best Drama Series Mr. Robot Nominated [133][134]
Best Actor in a Drama Series Rami Malek Nominated
Society of Camera Operators Awards Camera Operator of the Year – Television Aaron Medick Nominated [135]
43rd Saturn Awards Best Action/Thriller Television Series Mr. Robot Nominated [136]
2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Fight Against the System Mr. Robot Nominated [137]
69th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series BD Wong Nominated [138]
Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour) Tod Campbell for "eps2.0_unm4sk-pt1.tc"/"eps2.0_unm4sk-pt2.tc" Nominated
Original Creative Achievement in Interactive Media within a Scripted Program The Mr. Robot Virtual Reality Experience Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) John W. Cook II, Bill Freesh, William Sarokin, Paul Drenning for "eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx" Nominated
2018 75th Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Christian Slater Nominated [139]
8th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Bobby Cannavale Nominated [140]
16th Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode Ariel Altman, Lauren Montuori, John Miller, Luciano DiGeronimo for "eps3.4_runtime-err0r.r00" Nominated [141]
70th Primetime Emmy Awards Original Creative Achievement in Interactive Media within a Scripted Program Mr. Robot: Ecoin Nominated [142]
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour) John W. Cook II, Bill Freesh, Joe White, Paul Drenning for "eps3.4_runtime-error.r00" Nominated
Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role Ariel Altman, Lauren Montuori, Joe Gunn, John Miller, Brian Kubovcik, Luciano DiGeronimo, Lindsay Seguin, Greg Anderson, John-Michael Buban for "eps3.4_runtime-error.r00" Nominated
Critics' top ten lists
2015[143]
2016[144]
In other media
Mr. Robot has spawned a variety of video games. Its mobile game, titled: Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.apk is set during the first season of the series and was published by Telltale Games. Users play as a fictional character who has stumbled upon the phone of an important member of fsociety and it's up to the player to assist them in bringing down E Corp.[145] The Mr. Robot Virtual Reality Experience, written and directed by Sam Esmail, is a 13-minute video viewable using virtual reality headsets that explores Elliot's past.[146] Mr. Robot also features several Easter eggs, including websites related to the show or IP addresses used within the series that redirect to real websites.[147]

A book tie-in, Mr. Robot: Red Wheelbarrow (eps1.91_redwheelbarr0w.txt) written by Sam Esmail and Courtney Looney, was released on November 1, 2016.[148]

Release
Broadcast
Mr. Robot premiered in the United States on USA Network on June 24, 2015, and in Canada on Showcase on September 4, 2015.[149] Amazon.com secured broadcasting rights in the United Kingdom, with the first season added on Amazon Prime on October 16, 2015, and second-season episodes to be released immediately after initial broadcast in the United States.[150][151] In Australia, the series premiered on Presto on August 14, 2015.[152]

Home media
Universal Studios Home Entertainment released the first three seasons on DVD and Blu-ray. The first season was released on January 12, 2016. It contains all 10 episodes, plus deleted scenes, gag reel, making-of featurette, and UltraViolet digital copies of the episodes.[153] The second season was released on January 10, 2017.[154] The third season was released on March 27, 2018.[155]

In September 2015, Amazon.com acquired exclusive streaming VOD rights to Mr. Robot in several countries. The first season became available to stream in June 2016 for U.S. Amazon Prime subscribers.[156]

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