Friday, 27 March 2020

TV review: Bodyguard, BBC (2018)

An ex-soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder works as a bodyguard for the Metropolitan Police Service in London. He is assigned to protect the life of Britain’s home secretary (a cabinet minister in government) and becomes romantically involved with her. There are several attempts on her life while he is in charge of her safety.

This series is not over-long at six hour-long episodes, which is a mercy. But I guarantee that if you enjoy crime movies, police procedurals or spy thrillers, this product will entertain. You won’t see the ending coming.

On the face of it, the show looks at the issues of terrorism and of the surveillance state that has, in many countries, emerged to cope with it in the years since 9/11. Other issues are explored in the show but to note them all would give the game away, so I will not do so.

I can safely say that secrecy colours people’s relations in this TV show, and it helps generate a number of plot points. Anyone who has worked in an office will be able to understand the dynamic that guides the characters of Anne Sampson (Gina McKee), the head of the Met’s counter-terrorism command, or Louise Rayburn (Nina Toussaint-White), a detective-sergeant who is investigating the assassination attempts.

For these two characters a stern face suffices most of the time, but Richard Madden has more scope to vary his expression playing David Budd, the sergeant looking after Julia Montague MP (Keeley Hawes). The normally disciplined Budd is sometimes wobbly in private and on top of that he doesn’t much like Montague’s hawkish brand of politics.

The other police in the drama are played fairly straight and don’t offer competition for the viewer’s sympathies to Madden’s Budd. Sophie Rundle is convincing as Vicky, Budd’s wife, from whom he is estranged. The fact that Budd won’t accept counselling for his PTSD is a plot point that appears frequently in the story, so the issue of men’s mental health adds depth to it. And Anjli Mohindra is good as Nadia, a suicide bomber.

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