London Spy: Series 1 (2015)


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


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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

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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.


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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

The first half of this miniseries is demanding and mind-bending, with excellent suspense/thriller writing, cinematography and acting. If only the second half had been so good, this would easily be a 5-star project. However, the taut, expert script writing falls apart in the second half with glaring inconsistencies and plot holes developing to spoil the story. (For example, a point is made in the first half of the series that Alex is an expert at sniffing out genuine people from liars, and in later episodes, it becomes an even more significant point -- but in the second half of the series, a major plot point supposes Alex was involved in a long-term relationship with a nonprofessional double agent hired through a non-spy/commercial source for a nefarious purpose with Alex being completely unaware of the deception. Ridiculous!) In the latter half, the script writing impressed me as lazy -- of the character one might expect from 1980s serial television shows like Dallas or Falcon Crest. That said, the acting remains excellent throughout and the sensitive, human approach to the characters' development is rewarding. I recommend this miniseries, but it ultimately fails to fulfill its formidable potential.


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