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: 198
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Air date: Jan 21, 2016
Air date: Jan 28, 2016
Air date: Feb 4, 2016
Air date: Feb 11, 2016
Air date: Feb 18, 2016

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 (16)

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's intense fixity of purpose could do nothing to defibrillate his DOA dialogue.

Nov 11, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | 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…

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

Mar 20, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

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…

Audience Reviews for London Spy: Series 1

  • 22h ago
    This was the most ludicrously idiotic story. It takes suspension of disbelief to a new absurd level. Also very preachy. Yeah we get it was hard being gay in the ‘50s. It felt like it was an academic lecture half the time. Thank god it finally ended.
  • May 23, 2019
    Ben Wishaw performance in the lead role is the compelling reason to watch this somewhat lacking drama. If only the script match the quality of the acting, then this would have been one to remember.
  • Sep 18, 2018
    An Example of Self-censorship London spy is a rare gay-themed spy story, however bromance is just a teaser in this plot. Beyond the traditional spy story, viewers are witness to the problem of censorship in academic society. This TV series gives a clear flashback to the history of Galileo Galilei, an Italian Scholar of the European Renaissance. Galileo's era was full of passion and admiration for the human body and an unstoppable desire to understand the physical laws and nature of the World. During the same era, in England, the first intelligence service was established under the supervision Francis Walsingham. History has shown that very often scholars were recruited to be a part of spy networks. This created a two-fold pressure on the scholar, involving his/her academic achievements and his work as a spy. The choice became that of protecting one's knowledge and discoveries or putting one's life in jeopardy. So, this mini TV series is a perfect example of spreading scientific knowledge in a highly censored environment.
  • Jul 11, 2018
    takes forever to get anywhere. Gratuitous sex. Like watching wallpaper
  • May 14, 2018
    Whishaw and Rampling are terrific but the plot confused me. Worthwhile for the queer text/subtext.
  • May 06, 2018
    Yes, you can love it and hate it at the same time. Excellent performances, especially ben whishaw.
  • Mar 03, 2018
    I did NOT like this BBC "Mini-series". It is very SLOW and ultimately left me feeling empty and cheated at the end. It is 5 episodes running almost an hour each. I recommend that you don't waste your time. Boring, boring & more bore. ZZZ!
  • Nov 28, 2017
    Brilliant drama with a deep and twisting plot and storyline. Makes for engrossing and fascinating viewing.
  • Nov 19, 2017
    Superb, nothing this good could ever come from the USA.
  • Apr 19, 2017
    Not the espionage thriller expected. The gay themes are lame and weak. I thought this was quite ghastly really.

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