2015, Movies

London Spy (2015)

The problem with the vast majority of conspiracy movies and TV shows is the reveal. It seems to be a pretty easy and common thing to create mystery, especially mystery involving secret plots. It’s another thing altogether, apparently, to create a satisfactory resolution to a mystery, especially a mystery where “the powers the be” are the villain, rather than an individual.

London Spy has a unique and original take on the conspiracy format and its deliberate pacing is a refreshing change from many modern conspiracy/spy films and shows, which throw twists at us every few minutes (it feels like). There are weird inconsistencies and some of the characterizations appeared off to me – stop going in water with your clothes on!!! – but, for the most part, it’s a compelling and well told conspiracy thriller for over 3 of its 5 episodes.

Things go to shit with the first of the big reveals in the 4th episode, and continue going to shit throughout the concluding episode, where we are given more ridiculousness, to explain the show’s various mysteries. None of these explanations are satisfactory because, as  usual, they don’t make a whole lot of sense. Nobody would do these things.

To cap it off is the ending, which is a maddening and impossible about face for a fairly major character.

A wasted opportunity.


  • Created by Tom Rob Smith
  • Written by Tom Rob Smith
  • Directed by Jakob Verbruggen
  • Starring:
    • Ben Whishaw as Daniel “Danny” Edward Holt
    • Jim Broadbent as Scottie
    • Edward Holcroft as Alistair “Alex” Turner
    • Samantha Spiro as Detective Taylor
    • Lorraine Ashbourne as Mrs.Turner / Nanny
    • David Hayman as Mr.Turner / Groundsman
    • Clarke Peters as the American
    • Charlotte Rampling as Frances Turner
    • Mark Gatiss as Rich
    • Harriet Walter as Claire
    • James Fox as James
    • Adrian Lester as Professor Marcus Shaw
    • Riccardo Scamarcio as Doppelganger
    • Josef Altin as Pavel
    • Zrinka Cvitešić as Sara
    • Nicolas Chagrin as Charles Turner
    • Richard Cunningham as Danny’s Lawyer
  • Composers: David Holmes, Keefus Ciancia
  • Country of origin: United Kingdom, United States
  • Original language: English
  • No. of series: 1, No. of episodes: 5
  • Producer: Guy Heeley
  • Running time: 58–60 minutes
  • Production companies: Working Title Television, BBC America, NBC Universal, BBC
  • Original network: BBC Two, BBC Two HD
  • Picture format: 16:9 1080i
  • Audio format: Stereo
  • Original release: 9 November – 7 December 2015

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