So there's this exciting new show out, very well reviewed by BBCOne and everyone they've retweeted into my timeline, it stars Richard Madden from Game of Thrones and Keeley Hawes from Tipping the Velvet!! Also Death at a Funeral but Tipping the Velvet!! I had to check out Bodyguard, join me!
We open on a train with David Budd (Richard Madden awww he's cut his hair...) and his two kiddos snoozing, they must have been on the train for quite some time.
*His forehead looks different, right? I mean, all of our foreheads too, but his looks unhappy. Cheer up Captain Stark von Dreamy Buns!
He spots a man ending a call and dumping his cell phone in a garbage can outside the train during a stop, the music tells us that's suspicious. He spots an attendant acting oddly shortly after, watching closely as she knocks on the lavatory door then hurries away.
We get his first words in a thick Scottish burr, can the lady across the way watch his kiddos a minute? He heads to the back and gets the debrief from the worried attendant; there's an alert about a suicide bomber on a London-bound travel service and there's a dude locked in the loo.
They've got 7 minutes until the cavalry arrives, can he help Sandra (Olwen May) until they arrive? Perhaps the police shouldn't show up quite so loudly at their waystation? Bit of a tip-off, what?
As Cheekbones has his own kids on this train, he stops to look at them before heading to the locked lav, listening then calling Sandra and telling her he can't allow the suspect into his carriage. He's going to throw him off the train as soon as Sandra unlocks the sidedoor.
The suspect is understandably surprised to see Cheekbones preparing to send him to his fiery maker, especially as he's not carrying a bomb or anything else suspicious.
Or is he?
David calls Sandra with the good news, I'm waiting for a boom. The suspect (Faraz Ayub) could have the bomb under the jacket he was carrying.
But it's not he man, it's the woman he left behind in the toilet with a bomb strapped to her belly.
She's terrified, shaking and crying but does not deploy immediately. Sandra evacuates the adjacent carriages, David staying behind to try and attempt a bond with Nadia (Anjli Mohindra -now that's odd, I know her from the show Paranoid and she was lovely if a bit of a computer-repeater. I didn't recognise her whatsoever and I'm magic on faces).
It was her husband that set her up with the bomb, does she realise that means her husband wants her to die?
We're at the waystation, Nadia's thumb is much further from the button but the noise of the police brings her anxiety up again. David pleads with her to rise above as police take her husband out and another group comes to where Nadia and David are.
A BTP officer (Joanna Burnett) would like David out of the way, please, he's done a great job but it's time for the SWAT team to take over.
David reassures Nadia, she just has to stay still, he's not going anywhere. A sniper moves into position as David fights to save Nadia's life. She raises her arms as he asks for Expo again and again, Nadia is surrendering but they still very much want to kill her.
I would very much like her to drop the detonator.
Expo is coming, David has won! Expo is Karen and she calmly takes control of the detonator and removes the belt of explosives from Nadia's waist. It's left on the train and Nadia steps out with David. Nadia's husband shouts from further down, David reassures her that he can't hurt her now, nobody can hurt her. Well, that's not true.
I mean. A terrorist bombing plot? In today's political climate?
David and the kiddos finally make it home to his ex-wife Vicky (Sophie Rundle FROM HAPPY VALLEY), he makes a move, but is rebuffed so this is not a complete family.
David listens to the news on the way to work, it's all kudos for his masterful handling of the situation, but I know at least one SWAT member who was pissssed she didn't getta shoot someone.
The news is even better at work, his boss is very pleased.
*Didn't quite catch her name just yet.
He's being assigned to the Home Secretary, it's a promotion! Not exactly cuddling terrorists in the loo, izzit?
David researches his new gig online, Julie Montague (Keeley Hawes) is lovely but has an alarming voting record: she voted for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The music and David holding his breath tells me that he disagrees with her political choices.
Ohh maybe because David has some leftover souvenirs from his time in Afghanistan in the form of a side full of scars.
He dresses for work, arms himself and heads for his first contact with Julia. He suggests she use the underground entrance, and she dismisses the idea as soon as it's in the air. It seems "Julia likes to be seen," at least according to her assistant Chanel Dyson (Stephanie Hyam).
It appears our Home Secretary is a stern taskmaker, David stands outside her office and stares hard in slow motion at every person nearby.
David flexes on the drive home, he insists on taking the long way home as a diversion because of his "dynamic risk assessment."
Has the Home Secretary received threats? Is that is?
David holds our tired politician at the door ordering takeaway while he clears her residence, she'd like him to f*ck off, please. No offense.
They're getting along famously!
Julia feels bad when she reads her security briefing about the train incident and apologizes, she'd like to start over.
David's still checking her flat when Rob McDonald (Paul Ready) arrives with the takeaway, he seems non-plussed at the sight of an extremely handsome young man with cheekbones that could cut ice in his friend's flat.
By friend I mean the type of pal who shows up with lingerie and prawn crackers.
David heads home to his quiet flat, so tidy, so empty. So many giant windows that people can watch him through.
He has a couple of beer and calls Vicky, who does not want to have a chat, luv.
This is a man who has not let go of the past, who only appears contained on the outside.
Julia is waiting at a TV show the following day, her lousy assistant Chanel deliberately drops a cup of coffee on her immediately before she's to go on camera. Then LAUGHS.
Julia: fire that cow, you don't need to imbibe poison daily to be strong. The Princess Bride was not a How To manual.
David offers his shirt as a replacement, now she's going to smell him...and be wearing him...
Julia handles her TV interview well, except for the part where she talks about Afghanistan. David and I think she could probably get some intel from her new security sergeant.
She doesn't think she needs to apologize for the past, which David watches over and over on repeat at home in a dark room as creepily and angrily as possible.
David is sent upstairs immediately when he gets in the next day, there's a security problem. He commandeers an elevator and just when I'm wondering why he doesn't run athletically yet attractively up several flights of stairs, he starts to melt down. He just needed that little bit of time to gather himself, so he's ready when he pops out upstairs where Chanel is screaming.
She's been fired, wooooo! It's like I can read MINDS!
David calms her down, he's great with hysterical people! Chanel's picked up in a posh car, that makes David and I squint.
Outside later, an angry Roger Penhaligon (Nicholas Gleaves) confronts Julia about her TV interview, is she gunning for the PM? David politely suggests they move inside, Roger responds with aggression eventually rude remarks, calling David Julia's "monkey." David's "I'm mixed race" buys Julia an exit and me a snort.
David is biracial? Like Scottish AND Irish?
Nope, just totally lying. Julia appreciates that.
Not as much complaining from Julia this time when David checks her apartment, she's downright chatty, even giving an update on the male terrorist that they captured on the train.
It goes on to personal chitchat, I guess if you're going to be working closely together you may as well be friendly. But like, not too friendly. For whatever reason, I'm glad he doesn't tell her that he's actually separated.
*Something similar happened to me recently, I was in a conference call with a number of (male) people when one of the them decided that this was the best time to ask me a lot of personal questions. Was I married? Any kids? How long divorced? WHILE 10 OTHER (MALE) PEOPLE LISTENED.
David steers the conversation around to her talk about Afghanistan on the TV, does she really believe what she said?
She shuts down immediately, she believes she communicates the "hard choices" and anyway, she doesn't need him to vote for her, just protect her. Fanks.
Some hard eye contact later, he leaves after reassuring her that he'll do what's required.
David twitches at home, staring at his ex-wife's contact info in his phone. He does not call this time.
He stops by her house the next morning without calling instead, so not a good life choice.
Not only does he not see his kids, his anger at discovering that his ex-wife seeing someone else is scary in that small space. This switches to tears, then suicidal thoughts.
David is in serious need of help. He is choosing to not get that help so he can keep his job and muscle through it, I guess?
Chanel meets with a reporter (Claire Greasely), she knows she'll dig below the surface and do a full rip job on Julia. Chanel calls Julia a "sociopath" with an agenda to create a state of fear and a bunch of other stuff including some blah blah about Julia being more dangerous than the terrorists she's determined to shut down. This journalist isn't an idiot, however, what proof does Chanel have? Girl was fired 5 minutes ago. Chanel is disappoint AND pouty.
Seriously, how did she work at the Home Office for two years?
The same posh car pulls up outside her meeting, the driver Luke Aitkens (Matt Stokoe) gives us a look at him for no reason I can see yet.
David pops by a Veterans Peace Group meeting to hear about the cycle of violence, he doesn't go in but spots a friend.
His pal Andy Apstead (Tom Brooke) with the facial scarring does not understand David's new job. Ohh but David and Andy have talked before about getting close to someone who sent them to Afghanistan, they'd just pull the trigger so there would be no PTSD, Andy would have his face and David would have his family.
David goes home to load his personal gun carefully.
The next day David is in the car with Rob MacDonald and Julia, looks like the Home Secretary is in safe hands!
OR IS SHE?
And we're out! Wow, what a fast paced show! It feels like I just watched four shows in one and I'm not exactly sure where to look. We've got the guy protecting his family on mass transportation (Die Hard), the wounded vet dealing imperfectly (Collateral), the icy female politician (far too many), the bodyguard (BODYGUARD OBVS) and the exploded nuclear family (cannot count how many) but it doesn't seem at all boring or by rote.
First off: visually it was stunning, very slick but deliberately dark which matched what they were up to perfectly. The only spot of colour is the burgundy of Julia's hair.
The scoring was a little heavy handed, I could tell exactly when Something Important was afoot, they could ease off on that a tad.
The leads were excellent, Richard Madden lifting up layers for us gently in what could be a caricature of a role. Same with Keeley Hawes, playing the Iron Maiden is a standard role but she's doing well. I particularly enjoyed Nicholas Gleaves's coiled menace, I'll be watching for him.
*I listen to Malcolm Gladwell's podcasts; her role reminded me of one he did about Sammy Davis Jr. and The Hug Heard Round The World. It talked about tokenism and referenced a study done on women in the workplace. It showed that when women are the only or the very few, they're pressed into one of 6 roles: seductress, pet, mother, iron maiden and one other I can't remember. The women can't be themselves, because they have to fit in, laugh the loudest, crack the dirtiest jokes, turn both blind eyes and also: be the meanest to other subordinate women. I wonder about that when I see female CEOs scrutinized so closely in a way we don't do with male head honchos.
Until next time! Which will be right away, they aired two of these suckers back to back. Cheers!