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Wow, reading the cast list alone makes it hard to believe this is a made-for-tv drama: Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Judy Davis, Michael Gambon, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham-Carter, Christopher Walken, Rupert Graves, Ralph Fiennes… and they are all doing their best!

The story of this made-for-BBC trilogy is about spying, old style. MI5 agent Johnny Worricker gets his hands on a file he should not get his hands on, he decides there must be a reason for the file being out there, and when his administration turns against him, he disappears and pursues the case on his own. Now this could sound like the latest “24” season, but mind you, it is the British Secret Service we are talking about here. The films are much more “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” than “24”, and most people maintain a very cultivated tone when accusing each other of espionage, torture or cheating governments out of tax payers’ money.

Which is not to say it is not a thrilling show to watch. Worricker is on the move across Europe for a large part, he needs to be alert and able to move on as soon as there is a threat of being discovered, he needs to face the very real threat of crooked businessmen who somehow have allied with the Prime Minister. Not as many people die as would in a regular “24” episode, but some do, and their deaths actually do have an impact.

I am not sure whether all three films are of the same quality, or whether a trilogy had been planned from the outset. I did feel a bit less enthusiastic about part 2 “Turks & Caicos”, as it enjoyed a little bit too much the possibility of nice sunsets and swanky hotel bars, and maybe allowed itself to got distracted from the characters. Still, all in all a very very rewarding piece of entertainment, with not just famous, but throughout excellent actors.

Page Eight (2011)

Turks & Cacos (2014)

Salting the battlefield (2014)



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