London Spy: Series 1 (2015)

Series 1
London Spy

Critics Consensus

Quality performances help keep London Spy engaging, even though its plot sometimes meanders.



Critic Ratings: 29


Audience Score

User Ratings: 220

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Air date: Jan 21, 2016

In the series premiere, Alex, an undercover spy, is killed, revealing his cover to his lover Danny, a young man stuck working dead-end jobs, forcing him to investigate the facts behind Alex's death.

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Air date: Jan 28, 2016

Danny meets Alex's parents, who were presumed dead, and begins to unravel Alex's true identity.

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Air date: Feb 4, 2016

Police accuse Danny of Alex's death in a brutal interrogation, leading Danny to seek help from his mentor Scottie to prove his innocence.

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Air date: Feb 11, 2016

A new side of Alex's life surfaces that undermines Danny's relationship with him, but Danny soon discovers evidence he had overlooked.

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Air date: Feb 18, 2016

In the series finale, Danny uncovers the truth about Alex and the events that led to his death.

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London Spy: Series 1 Videos

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Tv Season Info

Danny (Ben Whishaw) is a warehouse worker with estranged parents and a past of drug abuse; Alex (Edward Holcroft) is an investment banker and a former child prodigy who's never felt like he belonged anywhere or with anyone. The two meet and quickly fall in love, which prompts Danny to open up about his darkest secrets, while Alex keeps things close to the vest. Danny's friend Scottie (Jim Broadbent), who's secretly in love with the younger man and also serves as a father figure, berates Alex for his secretiveness. The love story comes to an abrupt end when Alex suddenly disappears and Danny, having been given the key to his apartment, finds his dead body locked in a trunk. It's soon revealed that Alex was not who he said he was, but was actually a spy on a mission. The first season of the thriller-spy drama centers around Danny's quest for the truth about Alex's life and death, which sends him deep into a world of spies, lies and conspiracies.

News & Interviews for London Spy: Series 1

Critic Reviews for London Spy Series 1

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (18)

You can get sucked in by the spycraft, but this is also a parable about queerness, and a fascinating character piece for Whishaw, as he musters all his resources to fight those who deny the love that Danny knew was true.

Jan 22, 2016 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Inclusive storytelling vs. entertaining storytelling. Both can coexist. Even within the slog of London Spy, there are plenty of times when they do.

Jan 21, 2016 | Full Review…

It most certainly rewards you for your focus, as it brings you into a sense of real time with the characters and enables you to see and feel all of what is at stake.

Jan 19, 2016 | Full Review…

Whishaw, shaping up to be an actor of serious stature, has never nailed it better.

Mar 20, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

What's most striking about it as a drama, and what will frustrate some viewers, is how slow it is.

Jun 8, 2016 | Full Review…

By taking its time with character development and keeping a steady pace in revealing the plot this suspenseful mystery is what all shows in this genre need to take a lesson from.

Jun 26, 2018 | Full Review…

If you're like me, you'll also be enthralled by the show's intensity, by a lingering emotional undertone that makes perfectly plotted thrillers seem as heartless as algebra.

May 17, 2018 | Full Review…

London Spy... is a spy thriller/love story you should be watching.

May 31, 2017 | Full Review…

The spycraft is all offscreen, seen only in its devastating effects on Danny's life, and drama is about the heartless destruction of innocent lives to protect embarrassing truths from coming to light and the sacrifices that individuals make out of love.

Apr 21, 2017 | Full Review…

Look past the sometimes-clunky script, heavy-handed imagery, and occasionally inscrutable mythology, and you'll be rewarded with a show of unusual intensity, brooding suspense, and incredible performances.

Sep 26, 2016 | Full Review…

London Spy is not an easy viewing experience. It demands a lot from its viewer.

Feb 22, 2016 | Rating: 3.0/5 | Full Review…

It's a handsome looking mystery that won't demand a longtime commitment.

Jan 22, 2016 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for London Spy: Series 1

  • Jul 08, 2020
    As a drama about espionage, or the lives of the ones involved in it - this is a shallow, unrealistic and often ridiculous (max 5/10) piece of comic-strip/drama. As a drama about people and relationships - this could be an interesting, deep, touching, beautifully told and acted (9/10) drama; but only if it would give up the poor aforementioned "spy" theme and choose another, more realistic and relevant subject matter in order to inject suspense into the plot, and drama into the lives of its characters - as many European crime dramas do so well.
  • Jun 12, 2020
    Really poor series. I did not mind the gay relationship, it was well portrayed. The series had a slow start and did pick up in the middle BUT the last episode was very poorly done. Skip this and find something better to watch.
  • Jun 02, 2020
    Alternately slow and frustrating, the pop up characters, the gruesome cause of death and the waste of a valuable resource says a lot about the length storytellers will go to in order to prolong an unsatisfying story. So many wasted, quality characters. At least the story was tied up in the last episode into a nice little bundle to stave off too many questions.
  • May 12, 2020
    Great spy series set in the world of London perverts. Grotesque and stylish.
  • May 05, 2020
    A beautifully-done story of espionage, filled with excruciating longing and sorrow. Complicated, but not pretentious. The characters being gay is not central to the story, but the series mirrors the taboos of sex in society.
  • Apr 07, 2020
    1st Episode was so incredibly booring. Then it got slowly better but not worth watching
  • Dec 30, 2019
    A bit what The OA did with science fiction (give it an "artistic" patina that bordered on independent film and contemporary dance), LONDON SPY does with the spy thriller. Yes, there is a mystery, that once it is fully posed you can't wait to find out what the hell is going on. But it takes its time, it builds slowly, patiently, it puts you completely in the protagonist's shoes so that you feel his anguish and you really worry about whether you're crazy, I mean, excuse me, if he's crazy, or what's happening to both of you (him and you) is real. Beautifully crafted.
  • Dec 14, 2019
    Brilliantly written, shot and acted by all hands. Wishaw is headed for greatness as an actor.
  • Dec 10, 2019
    It was great...slow, but necessary in order to develop the storyline. There were some over the top scenes, especially, at the end...but great acting and intriguing topic matter.
  • Oct 26, 2019
    Very idiotic pretentious story

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