It's Not Too Late to Get Obsessed With BBC America's London Spy

Here’s who absolutely must watch (or DVR) Episode 2 of London Spy (airing tonight at 10/9c on BBC America) — right after On-Demanding Episode 1:

* Anyone who’s ever been single, met a total stranger and almost immediately wondered, “Could this be the one?”

* Anyone who fancies a psychological thriller packed with “I didn’t see that coming!” twists

London Spy 02_11_2014 056.dng* Fans of tragic gay love stories, British accents and the wonderful world of espionage

* People who fundamentally understand there is no such thing as too much good television

If you don’t recognize yourself in any of the aforementioned categories, I’m sorry about your life I implore you to tune in to London Spy anyhow — because it’s possible you don’t even know what’s in your own heart and mind.

I’m deeply hesitant to say too much about London Spy‘s setup — because the surprising ways in which its tale unfolds are among its greatest pleasures. All you really need to know is this: Danny (Spectre‘s Ben Whishaw), a sullen warehouse worker stumbling through London after a night of clubbing, has an unexpected run-in with a kind (and very dashing) jogger named Alex (Wolf Hall‘s Edward Holcroft). While the boyish Danny is open perhaps to a fault and investment banker Alex is far more buttoned-up, their crackling chemistry eventually grows into love — before a shocking discovery throws everything between them into utter chaos.

London Spy 23_10_2014 026.dngBy the time you reach the halfway mark of Episode 2, you’ll be so overcome by an intense sense of paranoia that it’ll leave you questioning not only the motivations but the actual identities of every person who enters the picture. Whishaw is a revelation carrying the burden of the action on his shoulders and infusing Danny with just enough of a twitchiness that every so often you wonder about the reliability of his POV. As his older gay confidante, Jim Broadbent (Iris) manages to be sympathetic and prickly, pathetic and menacing, sometimes all at once.

Better still, the five-part mystery is so artfully shot, it manages to turn a mundane crumpled sports-drink bottle into an object of romantic obsession, a wrapped dinner plate into something potentially sinister.

But — like the characters in this wonderfully one-of-a-kind thrillfest — let me clutch my secrets close to my chest (perhaps with the use of duct-tape). Trust me, after an hour or two of London Spy, you’ll be whispering about it to your co-workers or sending cryptic encouragements to friends and family to do the same.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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24 Comments
  1. Sara says:

    I am so glad you wrote this! I am loving this show so far! I had been waiting for it to premiere with great anticipation and it did not let me down! It has me on the edge of my seat and had me so emotionally involved with it so quickly. I can’t wait to see where it goes! Ben Whishaw is an absolute treasure and the rest of the cast has been stellar, too.

  2. Et al. says:

    It’s really good. I hope BBC America isn’t butchering it too much.

  3. Alex BaldTwins says:

    Its so funny cause I am having the total opposite reaction, and I really wanted to like it. I saw the whole series last year in the UK. Full Disclosure: I am gay, I love spy stories, and british tv. But this was dry, boring and beyond depressing. I will agree that it was artfully shot, but that was not actually a good thing because it tricked me into thinking it was a better show than it was. It had some really wonderful scenes, and the chemistry between holcroft and whishaw was off the charts, but ultimately let me wanting much more.

  4. LynnH says:

    LOVED the first episode, absolutely will continue watching.

  5. brownies says:

    After reading this I watch the first ep and loved it. Thanks!!

  6. Lauren says:

    I have never heard of this show but you’ve got my attention!

  7. newy says:

    I’ve watched all of the eps of season 1 already, and…. The ending is not satisfying. Mainly because it is set up for season 2. Meaning you won’t see the conclusion. But the story is amazing. I love Charlotte Rampling in this too. She’ll played a big role in season 2.

    • ScottJ says:

      There is no season 2. The show’s creator doesn’t want one, and although it leaves some things open the story that we follow finishes. I was dreading a really dismal ending and the show dodges that beautifully.

      Its the only show in ages where I’ve started an episode and never looked away from the screen during it. Loved it.

  8. This series has become the litmus test as to just who I’m gonna spend my time with and on … if you’re not watching (or haven’t already seen it for those in the UK) LONDON SPY … keep it moving to the left, to the left …. It’s that good folks. You will NOT be disappointed.

  9. Lilly77 says:

    I absolutely loved this show, the first episode with the meeting between the two men in particular. It was visually beautiful, amazingly filmed and the actors are just perfect. I actually didn’t need all the spy stuff and would happily have watched hours of these two actors and characters evolving through their relationship: all the twists and turns was just an added extra. Fantastic show.

  10. curtlyon19 says:

    while slow moving by US standards, I found it intriguing and you have to figure stuff out!
    really, really good show, and the two leads are terrific

  11. Jason Paul says:

    Stupid DirecTV DVR didn’t pick it up since it thought that it was not a First Run episode. Arghhh! It should not consider shows aired in the UK as a “repeat” in the US.

  12. Gina says:

    Somehow I had already seen episode 2 PRIOR to 1/28(earlier this week). I expected to see episode 3 last night, but they showed #2! How is that possible?

    • Diane says:

      I was able to watch episode 2 right after episode 1 with comcast on demand. maybe they get them a week ahead? I will try that this weekend.

  13. B says:

    Absolutely love Ben Whishaw, so this is definitely on my viewing list.

    • Ben Whishaw was especially fine in the BBC series The Hour and the movie version of Brideshead Revisited, so it’s great that he finally has a role that’s getting a lot of attention. He’s a wonderful actor.

  14. Laurie Waller says:

    This show is fantastic. Recommending it to friends and family for the sensational acting, storyline and scenic back drop. Nothing like a good British who done it and the development of the characters encounter and romance is riveting!

  15. Weezy says:

    I’m glad to see an article on the site about London Spy. I watched the first two eps and was highly impressed. The Brits really do make some great TV don’t they? And they don’t rely on so many of the elements that are starting to get a bit tiresome with American TV (CGI, massive week to week stories always trying to one up what happened before, etc.). This show is all about the relationships and the mystery and is very well written and acted.

  16. Diane says:

    Great show! Love Ben Whishaw and he doesn’t disappoint as Danny!

  17. I binged it in an afternoon. So happy.The show felt like classic British series from the 60’s….moody and tightly wound, and kind of random. I can’t say anything to anyone who hasn’t seen it, because every 10 seconds it seems like a plot turn occurs. Ben Whishaw is always nice to look at, and he makes Danny by turns fragile and sharp. Can we have some more, please ?

  18. boyonboys says:

    What a beautiful first episode. Can’t wait to watch more — thank you so much for bringing this wonderful little series to our attention!

  19. Gallavich Shipper says:

    As a Brit who has seen the whole series, I feel sorry for the people who have fallen in love with it. The acting and direction are clearly superior to the plot, which was a real let down. Couldn’t believe the sloppy ending after five weeks.

  20. Albert Dunlap says:

    Started watching, but after two episodes, Dish-BBC dropped the series. Don’t know why, and Dish won’t say.