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Britain’s most-watched drama in 2018 is an explosive thriller worth binging.

This is a spoiler-free review for Netflix’s Bodyguard Season 1. All six episodes are currently available to stream on Netflix

The UK’s most-watched drama in 2018 (so far), which premiered on BBC One back in August, has finally made its way to Netflix subscribers in the US. There’s been plenty of hype surrounding the series, not only as a popular hit with viewers across the pond, but also an exceptional thriller, helmed by showrunner Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty). Thankfully, we can confirm that all of the praise is well deserved, as Bodyguard, starring Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden, is a first-rate show brimming with terrifying, unpredictable twists and turns.

Set in present-day London, Bodyguard centers on British military veteran David Budd (Richard Madden), who, after returning home from the Middle East, struggles to adapt to “normal” everyday life while working as a protection officer for the London Metropolitan Police Service. Separated from his wife, Vicky (Peaky Blinders’ Sophie Rundle ), Budd begins to question his self-worth until he’s assigned to protect a controversial politician, Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes).

Having witnessed the horrors of war firsthand, Budd is staunchly against Britain’s military campaign in the Middle East, which comes in contention with Montague’s pro-war agenda. Their discord is deliciously dramatic due to the obvious attraction the pair has for each other. Budd may despise Montague’s legislative beliefs, but he can’t take his eyes off her. The same goes for Montague, who admires the handsome Budd for his loyalty and… other external attributes. The age-old “will they/won’t they” scenario doesn’t get tiresome, especially with Madden and Hawes’ compelling on-screen chemistry, which could give any soap opera a run for its money.

While sexual tension can be fun – for a time – Bodyguard also effectively addresses post-traumatic stress disorder in a way that is both sensitive, and heartbreaking. It’s difficult to not sympathize with David as he attempts to reconcile with his wife and children. The writers smartly keep the details of the family break-up ambiguous, and instead, focus on David’s recovery. It’s surprising how Bodyguard can touch on terrorism, government corruption, and PTSD in just six hour-long episodes. There’s a lot of meat on Bodyguard’s narrative bone, and thankfully, Mercurio and his team don’t bite off more than they can creatively chew.

The action is also top-notch, with numerous gripping set pieces spread throughout the six-episode run, as terrorist attacks in and around London threaten to destabilize the British government. Without going into specifics, these well-choreographed scenes keep the drama personal and immediate. There aren’t many wide-angle shots that give you time to breathe. Even in more intimate settings, like two characters conversing about mundane political matters, the camera stays close, giving every scene an added sense of anxiety.

At its core, Bodyguard is distinctively focused on its titular character, even with Hawes’ memorable performance as Montague. Budd’s determination to better himself and see the world through a positive lens is inspiring, especially after the trials he endured as a soldier. None of the drama or action feels forced or unwarranted, and by the time the final credits roll, the series tells a complete story. Sure, the creators are contemplating a potential Season 2 after its blockbuster success in the UK, but really, they should let this one stand on its own. Perhaps Bodyguard will work better as an anthology series? Only time will tell.

The Verdict

Netflix’s Bodyguard delivers a thrilling first season, proving why it’s the UK’s most-watched drama of 2018 so far. Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes give electric performances as David Budd and Julia Montague. Their story is about so much more than forbidden love, as creator Jed Mercurio wisely explores the complexities of Budd’s PTSD and his pursuit of familial reconciliation. Bodyguard is a series definitely worth binging.


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