"The State Within" starts with an airplane crashing outside of Washington, DC, strewing debris all over the Dulles Toll Road. Caught in its wake is British Ambassador Mark Brydon(Jason Isaacs) who futilely tries to rescue a trapped motorist before being dragged away by his intelligence officer Nicholas Brocklehurst(Ben Daniels). The crash is caused by a bomb apparently set off by a British national who has links to extremists from Tyrgyzstan.(When creating a fictional country, please try to come up with one that is easy to spell. Take Latveria, for instance.) As a result, the Virginia governor calls for the roundup of all British Muslims and Defense Secretary Lynne Warner(Sharon Gless) goes on the warpath. So, while Brydon has these various crises to deal with, there are rumors that he is about to promoted and is therefore advised to steer clear of James Sinclair(Alex Jennings), a Craig Murray-like former ambassador and his former best friend who is advocating for human rights in Tyrgyzstan which suffers under the thumbs of its dictator, President Usman who is closely allied with the United States in the war on terror.
"The State Within" is a taut and intelligent, if flawed, political thriller and miniseries that starts awkwardly and ties up its loose ends maybe too neatly, especially a subplot about capital punishment, in a good ending and a better epilogue. With a hero who succeeds by the power of persuasion, not action, the miniseries makes a strong case for diplomacy in a world where no matter how much security there is and how many rights are surrendered, we can never be truly safe. Loyalties are constantly in flux and human lives are sadly never that important to national and business interests. Then again, war profiteering is nothing new, having been around since the first battle. It goes with the territory.