8.1 / 10
60 min
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" gives "Bodyguard - Season 1" a 9."
Written by on 7 October 2018.
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Bodyguard - Season 1

Jed Mercurio has balls. He has the guts to take some bold steps while writing a series. This was already evident in Line of Duty, a series which deserved to win the Best Series of the Year election, according to my humble opinion anyway. The same can be said about his new project Bodyguard. It all started with that scene which lasted for 20 minutes in which the war veteran David Budd (Richard Madden) tries to talk a suicide terrorist out of an attack. I thought that couldn't be surpassed. I was wrong because every week the series managed to deliver scenes which were just as nail-bitingly tense. It's just as well there was only one episode a week, that way my nails got the chance to grow back.

After the incident with the terrorist, David is appointed to protect Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes), the Home Secretary. Soon David discovers that his views differ greatly from those of Montague and that the controversial act she is trying to pass will pose a huge threat to the country. So where do his loyalties lie? With his former army mates? Or with his new employer? While the Home Secretary is threatened from all sides, David starts to doubt himself and everything around him.

I honestly didn't expect it, but Richard Madden really is a fantastic actor.

What an actor! I honestly didn't expect it, but Richard Madden really is a fantastic actor. I mainly know Madden from his part as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones, but there he was never really in the spotlight. But here he proves how well he can act. The character of David is one with many problems. And he manages to subtly provide each of these problems with its own face and voice.
David went through a lot while in the army and he goes through a lot now because his new boss is one of the most hated politicians in the country. He is not afraid to admit that that can really destroy a person. He is also not afraid to make himself vulnerable and that made a deep impression on me. Co-star Keeley Hawes also performs very well. Julia Montague represents a certain kind of politics which is reprehensible but it still has its merits and you can understand those.

Besides a wonderful cast, Bodyguard also has an excellent script. In one intriguing storyline, Mercurio manages to combine everything: a well thought-out plot and breathtaking suspense, and he manages to intertwine all this with a number of current social issues. First, the new act Montague is trying to pass: the intelligence service will be allowed to bug innocent civilians and intercept data. In the Netherlands we have a similar act which caused a lot of debate and we shouldn't want this. But when the intelligence service, with the help of this act, finds out who is responsible for a terrorist attack, the benefit of this act becomes apparent. The second social issue which is mentioned is the taboo of post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans.

in almost every episode there is at least one scene which manages to do the same or even better.

Mercurio further manages to perfectly imbue his storyline with tension. In the first episode he managed to hold the attention for twenty minutes long, but in almost every episode there is at least one scene which manages to do the same or even better. The highlight, in my opinion, was the final episode where one of the main character's lives was hanging by a thread for about 45 minutes. To build that kind of tension, Mercurio writes a story which is totally unpredictable. He plays with certain expectations of the viewer, but twists them around so that even the most experienced viewers of this genre are misled. A plot twist just for the sake of a plot twist should never be the aim. But Mercurio manages to seamlessly interweave suspense, story, character and social criticism.

It shouldn't be a surprise that Bodyguard is so good. Together with Killing Eve it is on the very top of my personal list of best series of this year. It is topical, moving and unbelievably exciting. If there will be second season, remains to be seen, but if Mercurio knows how to create another fantastic season with the same characters, than I definitely want to see more.
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