When I first heard about London Spy, I was told it “started slow,” which I took to be a lukewarm review. Therefore, I selected it as my “taking a break” show on a busy day, to avoid getting into something that would eat my afternoon.
And that was the end of that day.
London Spy may take its time to hook you. It may keep you off-balance, as you search hard for the twists and hidden truths that you assume are just waiting to pounce, but when it takes off, it goes. This is a show that draws you in to a vast, unknowable world, and keeps you every bit as off-balance as it keeps its protagonist (the incomparable Ben Whishaw, in what I would call a “career-making role” if I hadn’t seen any of his other work), leaving you breathless and wondering who to trust. The way the story leaps between heart-wrenchingly sweet romance and helpless despair is both crushing and addictive. And on this show that is constantly pulling the rug out from under you, only one thing is certain: Love. The rest is probably tapping your phone.
But London Spy isn’t just a thriller. It’s a show with something to say.