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The Latest Thriller from Netflix, 'The Bodyguard,' is an Ambitious, Worthwhile Watch
October 24, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment
 

The Bodyguard, a TV series not to be confused with the Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner movie, opens with British policeman David Budd trying to talk a woman out of detonating the suicide vest into which her husband has strapped her.
 
Before the end of Episode One, however, we realize that the real ticking bomb here may be Budd.
 
The Bodyguard, a six-episode BBC series that aired earlier this year in the U.K. and rolls out Wednesday on Netflix, tells a grim and tense story well.
 
Budd (Richard Madden, top) served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, which it will be remembered were joint ventures of the U.S. and Britain, as well as some smaller nations.
 
While that move is widely viewed today as an adventure on both sides of the pond, it’s a moot point for British as well as U.S. soldiers who are still paying the price with disabilities and conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
 
Budd’s PTSD may be costing him his marriage to Vicky (Sophie Rundle, right, with Madden), who pleads with him to get the help he insists he doesn’t need. He doesn’t connect the condition to the consequences, which include separation from their two children.
 
He’s functional in his job with the police, and his showdown with the woman in the suicide vest reaffirms to his superiors that he’s perfectly okay.
 
Soon thereafter he’s assigned to protect the home secretary, Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes, below, in a role markedly different from the matriarch she plays on The Durrells In Corfu, now airing Sundays on PBS). 
 
Montague, a conservative MP with ambitions to rise higher than home secretary, is a rather cold fish who warms up to Budd when she realizes he’s a law-and-order hero who confronted a terrorist.
 
Any personal spark flickers out when she tells a TV interviewer she has no reason to apologize for her enthusiastic past support of the Middle East wars.
 
While Budd may not think he needs treatment for the aftereffects of those wars, he knows he hates them and what they did to families like his. He makes that clear in a clipped conversation about the TV interview, after which she tells him, “I don’t need you to vote for me. I need you to protect me.”
 
He assures her he will not let his opinions of her politics affect his job performance. His proximity, however, inevitably means he will be exposed to both her politics and whatever strategies she develops to serve her forward progress.
 
Other characters enter the story on both sides. David has a friend, Andy Apsted (Tom Brooke), who also suffers from PTSD, and a boss, Anne Sampson (Gina McKee), who is head of counterterrorism. Julia has an ex-husband, Roger Penhaligon (Nicholas Gleaves), who also serves as the Conservative Party whip and remains wary of whatever Julia might be plotting.
 
Creator/writer Jed Mercurio has wisely dropped in enough subplots to keep viewers alert and not so many they will simply get confused and exasperated. It’s clear from the first episode that our focus shouldn’t stray far from David and Julia and that’s fine, because their story pulses with slowly rising intrigue.
 
The opening scene, with Budd and the woman in the suicide vest, runs more than 20 minutes. That’s almost unheard of, yet it works. No viewer will be looking at his or her watch, and that momentum keeps rolling as viewers wonder when and if the other bomb will ever detonate.
 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
Angela
Perfect! Exactly what I need. My best friend, who is like a sister to me has surgery tomorrow morning and I need something to take my mind off of it. This sounds like it will really fit the bill. Grateful.
Oct 25, 2018   |  Reply
 
Angela
I was not disappointed in the least. The storyline kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. I normally only adore character studies and this wasn't really that but I sure did enjoy it.
Nov 5, 2018
 
 
 
 
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