Netflix’s new show THE BODYGUARD is edgy and hot. David Budd is a Scottish sergeant, back from duty in Afghanistan, working in Protection Command as a bodyguard. His marriage has dissolved and his temper is a ticking time bomb.
Yet he’s got to hide his PTSD-ish unravelling to keep his job. When on duty, he’s relentlessly vigilant in protecting the Home Secretary in London. [The Home Secretary is the British equivalent of Director of the FBI.] Her code name is Lavender and as she’s shuffled around London in cars to meetings with the Prime Minister, etc, David is all square chin, clenching jaw muscles and cold eyes. Yet later, when he discovers his estranged wife has started seeing someone those cold eyes melt with pain. There’s a real throb of sensitive agony in this moment***.
David starts off charged up, and grows in intensity through the first few episodes. He must stuff his intensity into ramrod vigilance ‘whilst’ on duty. Is he going to explode? Is he going to implode? Should his wife be afraid of him? Should his boss?
Or is protecting women at the utter core of his character?
It’s a shivery role to play. Many women in power surround David in his job—(what dream world is this? I like it.) And the actresses are great. I enjoyed Gina McKee as a stiff cool beauty in The Forsythe Saga. It’s a surprise to see her cast as head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit. Pippa Haywood was a joy in Green Wing, here she plays the Chief Superintendent Lorraine Craddock, Head of Protection Command and Budd’s superior. Again this is a very different role for her–and I like her in it. Both women occupy senior positions in Scotland Yard, and while I want to root for them, David is sleeping with their biggest enemy and each is a bit (A bit? Ha!) manipulative.
At a certain point (but you knew the show was going there) things heat up between the Home Secretary aka Julia Montague and Our Man. Their passion is problematic–not just in terms of clashing of employer/employee relations–but there’s also a real clash in political points of view. Love it! What guilty fun watching two people have sex with a shot of guilty bitter regret.
At this point in the show our hero David seems #SorryNotSorry. We’ll see if that’s because he’s formulating Very Bad Intentions or what. We think David is a hero–but is he? One side of his personality is straightforward and sincere. The other side has been embittered by war and is unravelling. He carries homicidal rage towards the vain-glorious politicians who demanded the f*ck fest of what happened in Afghanistan. Richard Madden** is very believable as a reasonable, caring good guy. He’s even better as a man tempted to do bad things. Will his inner demons come to rule?
**You probably know this Scottish actor from Game of Thrones. I *knew* he looked familiar and it tickled the back of my brain for the longest time.
***I admit that while I love an unfiltered Scottish accent, it defeated me at times during the first few episodes. In the end I put on the close captioning (in English).