London Spy s1 ep 1

Warehouse worker Danny (Ben Whishaw), who we know to be a hedonist because he smokes – which is, these days, as unequivocal and potent a signifier of wanton pleasure-seeking as you’ll see on network TV – has a sort of meet-cute with taciturn merchant banker Alex (Edward Holcroft), which ultimately becomes something more. I must admit I found this a little implausible, because although Alex has cheekbones to die for, the phrase “socially awkward” barely begins to describe his apparent dissociation from the world. Danny, on the other hand, is somewhat more lively, and also looks like Ben Whishaw, making him something of a catch.

Anyway, their relationship thrives for eight months until Alex suddenly disappears. Danny – in circumstances which the show will need to explain at some point – is able to get a key to Alex’s apartment, and finds both a stash of specialist S&M equipment, and a dead body stuffed into a case, in what is a clear and presumably deliberate echo of the troubling death of Gareth Williams, although I wasn’t entirely clear whether it was Alex’s body in the case. (Maybe I missed something; maybe it’s a given.) Danny calls the police, who are clearly suspicious of him, particularly when they reveal to him one or two things he didn’t know about Alex. He runs to his patron/sugar daddy Scottie (Jim Broadbent) who, if you ask me, knows much more than he’s letting on. As might Danny, who turns out to be unexpectedly adroit at a bit of spontaneous spycraft himself.

I’m undecided, for now, about London Spy: on the one hand, although there was something admirable about the serene pace of the first two-thirds of the episode, it’d be hard to argue that there was much actually going on. On the other hand, though, I’m kind of intrigued by the premise, and Whishaw and Broadbent are always worth watching. I think I’m in for next week.


2 thoughts on “London Spy s1 ep 1

  1. Rockleigh November 11, 2015 / 5:35 pm

    I must admit, that the story continuation was a little strange, if not disjointed, however, i was impressed with the two “bottom” drawers, and rather concerned how they managed to get the wardrobe through the loft entrance.
    Interesting to note, and wonder, was that playroom from an original setting, or the writers own imagination? (Tom Rob Smith)
    And yes, i am also sure Jim Broadbent plays a far more sinister role in this storyline. I look forward to next episode, if only to check out the locations.

  2. Jed Bartlet November 16, 2015 / 1:32 pm

    I wonder, Rockleigh. Given that we know the premise to have been based, even if loosely, on the case of Gareth Williams, it wouldn’t be astonishing to find out that the playroom has some sort of basis in fact (not necessarily from the same case, of course).

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