Review: Bodyguard

Richard Madden in Bodyguard

Bodyguard, a political thriller from the BBC, is solidly entertaining. It races through 6 episodes full speed ahead with twists, turns and surprises that keep you on the edge of your seat. The series is available on Netflix.

We meet David Budd (Richard Madden) on a train with his two kids beside him. His constantly moving eyes and surveillance of the passengers and people outside the train tell us that he’s hyper alert to everything around him. He notices a problem in a bathroom on the train. When he opens the door, he sees a woman strapped to a bomb.

Anjli Mohindra in Bodyguard

He identifies himself as a police officer. He talks the woman, Nadia (Anjli Mohindra), down and saves everyone on the train. He’s a hero.

At the end of the day, he takes his kids to their mom’s. Vicky Budd (Sophie Rundle) and David are separated but not divorced. He’s a war veteran as well as a police officer and hasn’t dealt with the trauma he’s faced in both jobs. Vicky’s not going to put up with his PTSD if he doesn’t get help. Their relationship, or lack of it, is an ongoing thread through the series.

Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes in Bodyguard

David Budd is unexpectedly promoted to the job of personal protection officer for the British Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). In that job he finds himself embroiled in a huge conspiracy.

Other bombs go off, Julia Montague’s life is attacked more than once, the school David’s children attend is attacked. All the violence is related to the push from Julia Montague for a new security law that would give government the power to monitor phone calls, emails, and everything else for potential terrorist threats.

The controversy over the proposed legislation and the loss of privacy it would mean tears the country apart. It’s a bit hard to tell where David Budd stands on the question. We aren’t meant to know through most of the series if he’s a good guy or a villain, so his ideas aren’t discussed. He’s more about action than words.

The authorities, including the police and the national security people, constantly bicker and argue over turf as to who should investigate the bombings and attacks. Some of the actors in these roles include Gina McKee, Pippa Haywood, Vincent Franklin, and Stuart Bowman. It’s not clear who you can trust among this group of power players.

Nina Toussaint-White and Ash Tandon in Bodyguard

We suspect everyone of evil doing and corruption, but two cops Deepak Sharma (Ash Tandon) Louise Rayburn (Nina Toussaint-White) seem honest. They do a good bit of the investigating.

Created and written by Jed Mercurio, Bodyguard is brilliantly written and plotted. It’s exciting and full of twists that compel the story with vigor.

The acting, particularly from Richard Madden, is outstanding. (Actually, the entire cast is wonderful.) David Budd is a profoundly interesting character. He’s complicated, smart, one step ahead of everyone, determined and strong. He’s also a traumatized mess. This character could easily take us through a second series of Bodyguard with a whole new set of problems and issues. The BBC had such success with the first series, perhaps another will be made.

There was a female guard, Kim Knowles (Claire-Louise Cordwell) who did the same type of work David Budd did. Unfortunately, she won’t make it into a potential second series, but I would love to see a gender-flipped version of a show like this. One with a female bodyguard as the lead character.

I also quite liked Keeley Hawes as the Home Secretary, Sophie Rundle as David’s wife, and Nina Toussaint-White as the open-minded cop. I thought the plotting was masterful at keeping you engaged and speculating as to who was guilty of what. Many big reveals came in episode 6 – very exciting, indeed.

I completely recommend Bodyguard. It’s excellent entertainment. If you’ve watched it already, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

2 thoughts on “Review: Bodyguard”

  1. I have seen this television series. I agree with what you say in your review: it is a very captivating political drama.

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