- Critic's Rating - 9/109/10
“I’ve failed as a husband, and as a father, and that’s the worst thing.”
Bodyguard, a 6 episodes crime-thriller-mystery miniseries, was introduced by BBC and before being taken up by Netflix for worldwide distribution. Bodyguard stars Richard Madden (known for his role as late Robb Starks in Game Of Thrones) and Keeley Hawes as the central characters of the series. Madden as Sergeant David Budd is an Afghanistan war veteran who is now deployed as a Protection Command bodyguard. Soon, he is given the authority to supervise security for the Home Secretary of Britain, Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes).
If there’s a show which introduces a character in such an expanse manner, it has to be none other than Bodyguard. The first episode is the epitome of directing an excellent long and tense sequence on a train. The curiosity that sequence built allow a cinematically submersible experience for the viewers through an extremely detailed, meticulously worked and focused shots through the camera. To state an example- while talking over phone, the signals go down slowly when the train enters a tunnel. Given the urgency of the sequence, the characters and as well as the viewers focus on the phone screen to see the tower dots disappearing and when, in those crucial moments, time was lost, it made the viewers nervous and restless as the character in the show. Finally, after a period of few seconds, the tower dots gradually start appearing bringing confidence in both- character & the viewer.
Given the counter-terrorism influenced nature of the show, it was undeniably the nature of the story to showcase the good vs evil. However, this seemed pretty straight forward implying towards another Homeland-ish show until a couple of episodes were over. The mix to the arc of the unfolding story came with the unpredictable turn during half of the story. One can pin all hopes on another “conspiracy theory” kind of thrills. However, the issues were much larger and complex, inspired from the contemporary times. The Home Minister’s pitch during the show was to fight terrorism and to achieve that state of absolute data control, curbing of privacy seems inevitable. Add to that, corruption, politics, deep state, organized crime, the infighting between various tiers of security agencies, PTSD etc. all play a part in this Westminster gamble.
With these ingredients thrown into mix, it was time for the rubber to hit the road. And Bodyguard, in the final couple of episodes maneuvers through the complexity to wow us with a comprising if not a straight climax. It is a test of humans molded in different conditions at different points of time. But more than that, it was a challenge for protection command officer David to stand the test of time, even though the agencies had reservations about him, courtesy of his past.
Given the limit of 6 episodes, Bodyguard has a few loopholes. Of all misses, one of the most important being the unavailability of dark past behind David’s Afghanistan tour experience which was highlighted in nearly every episode but never acknowledged. Moreover, the show did not give enough time for various relations to warm up and when they did, they came of as a surprise rather than a slow digest. This gives tickets to viewers to read between the lines and end up being not-satisfied.
Spearheading the show was Richard Madden’s unflinching attitude to fulfill his duty as protection officer, and his inability to become a “family man” highlighted the troubled side of his, often viewed with contempt. It is a promising venue to look out for in the show apart from Keeley Hawes’ stubborn and unchallengeable character as Julia. Bodyguard is a far cry from the other dramas of such kind because it subtly shifts from what it wanted to highlight initially and ended on a completely different note, encompassing various issues of national interest and human nature.