By Jason Lamphier
Courtesy of BBC.
The initial allure of London Spy, the new five-part miniseriess from creator (and Child 44 author) Tom Rob Smith and director Jakob Verbruggen (The Fall), is in its premise alone: It’s a star-studded mystery about a chance encounter — and subsequent love affair — between two men, something we couldn’t imagine seeing on television a decade ago (not even on a more adventurous cable network like BBC America, where the miniseries premieres January 21). Danny (Spectre’s Ben Whishaw) is a hopeless romantic with a reckless soul, a party boy who, while woozily contemplating his existence on London’s Lambeth Bridge one morning at dawn, is stopped by a concerned runner named Alex (Edward Holcroft). Sparks fly, but when Danny finds Alex dead in his attic, he realizes his inexperienced, reserved investment banker beau may not be who he thought he was. The same goes for any of the inscrutable characters in this finely calibrated, expertly acted tale, be it Jim Broadbent as Danny’s hardnosed ex-secret service agent mentor or the inimitable Charlotte Rampling as Alex’s frosty, well-heeled mother. She need only puff a cigarette by a crackling fire, and the stakes immediately feel higher.