In Jed Mercurio’s hit BBC thriller Bodyguard, Richard Madden, who we loved as the King of the North in Game of Thrones, is fascinating as the tightly wound David Budd. The series introduces Budd, a military veteran and Metropolitan Police Sergeant, as a hero; in the first episode, we watch him deal with a potentially disastrous situation on the train where he and his children are passengers. He is quickly promoted to Personal Protection Officer to the Home Secretary, Julia Montague, played by Keeley Hawes (The Bank Job and High-Rise). As the bodyguard to a prominent political figure, Budd silently watches the political machinations that go on around him.
The series provides both edge-of-your-seat action and a gripping plot, with a convoluted whodunnit storyline that keeps the audience guessing from beginning to end. In this highly political setting, it seems natural to wonder who can be trusted. No assumptions are safe.
Bodyguard is shot in and around London and has a gritty feel. Meeting rooms and congested street scenes are more prevalent than the monuments and soaring architecture that are frequently associated with action-adventure movies in London. The divisiveness of the British class system is a significant issue in this series. It contributes to the foreboding overtones of the developing relationship between Madden as the Bodyguard and Hawes as his elite, upper-class, power-hungry charge.
Madden does an exceptional job of portraying Budd, a complex character and a man of few words. Budd is the quintessential strong, silent hero. He is committed to his job and is attempting to deal with his battle-related PTSD. Budd has conflicted feelings toward the woman he guards, for whom he has a growing respect although he disagrees with her politically. He is also dedicated to being a good father in spite of his separation from his wife, the endearing and long-suffering Vicky (Sophie Rundle, Peaky Blinders).
Bodyguard provides enough action, suspense and entertainment to keep us enthralled. There are occasions when the plot gets murky and points where we just have to take a leap of faith and follow along, but with this series’ wild popularity in Britain, we can hope to see a second season in the future.