STARRING: Richard Madden, Keeley Hawes, Gina McKee, Sophie Rundle, Paul Ready, Vincent Franklin, Stuart Bowman, Nina Toussaint-White, Stephanie Hyam, Tom Brooke, Matt Stokoe, Pippa Haywood, Nicholas Gleaves, Shubham Saraf, Claire-Louise Cordwell, Richard Riddell, Ash Tandon, Michael Shaeffer, David Westhead and Anjli Mohindra
A contemporary thriller featuring the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service.
Bodyguard focuses on David Budd, an Afghanistan war veteran who now works as a Specialist Protection Officer for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service. After preventing a suicide bombing on a train, Budd is assigned to protect the ambitious Home Secretary Julia Montague, whose politics stand for everything he despises, leaving Budd ton between his duty and beliefs.
Catching up on 2018’s television dramas that have completely passed me by, I decided to give the BBC’s hit series Bodyguard a go after missing out on its initial airing during August through to the end of September. It’s clear to see why Richard Madden has been getting such praise here playing the role of David Budd, a man who is compassionate in a crisis (as showcased in the tense opening sequence of a suicide bomber on a train) and yet is suffering from post-traumatic stress after serving in the Afghanistan war, one that he can’t seem to shake off yet doesn’t seek help for it, despite his issues leading him to be separated from his wife and two kids. Madden is great at balancing out his performance between stoic bodyguard to a man emotionally drained by the series end as he becomes frustrated and desperate with his colleagues believing that he could be the inside man in this grand conspiracy that lingers throughout. Keeley Hawes is great as Home Secretary Julia Montague, an ambitious woman that aims to make a kid for Number 10. She oozes confidence as Julia, who suffers no fools no matter their gender, and shares terrific chemistry with Madden. The rest of the ensemble provide solid performances.
For all its critical acclaim and fanfare, I’ll admit that in the first few episodes of Bodyguard, I wasn’t particularly feeling it. It felt like there was alot of filler thrown into the mix along with the conspiracy plot, the romance arc between David Budd and Julia Montague felt like an unnecessary emotional angle to bring into the fold. Despite that angle, you do feel the absence of Keeley Hawes in the second half of the series, especially how her political agenda conflicted with Budd’s beliefs and that was one of the interesting dynamics that intrigued me during the initial slow first few episodes. Once we get into episode three however, the momentum shifts and rises to a tense finale, though some would argue that it gets a bit too far-fetched in its execution. There’s one particular plot twist in the finale that feels very Scooby-Doo-ish and it feels like it was executed for a cheap reaction and it raises more questions diving into that overall plot arc throughout the series and why it doesn’t make much sense to add that in other than for the sake of having a double-twist.
Takes a while to get going but once the conspiracy takes focus, the momentum of the series changes and excels to the finish line of the finale. This could be a star making performance for Richard Madden in terms of giving him a larger profile amount of work. 7/10