If you love thrilling spy series about murder, deceit, lies, old and new relationships and politics, then you’ve probably seen American series such as “24”, “Homeland”, and “The Blacklist”. Yes, throughout the years, the Americans showed us that they’re a master at creating stunning spy series. However, it seems that the Brits are also pretty good at that, and that’s being proven by “Treason” by creator and writer Matt Charman. So, will this new Netflix series be as effective as its American counterparts? Let’s find out together!
As if life as an MI6 assistant director isn’t tricky enough, it becomes even more challenging for Adam Lawrence (Charlie Cox) when he has to step up as Control or C for short. His boss, Sir Martin Angelis (Ciarán Hinds), has been poisoned, and now Adam has to (temporarily) lead the MI6. Soon, he realises that Russian spy Kara (Olga Kurylenko) is behind the poison attack, but catching her won’t be easy. Kara and Adam have had a secret professional and personal relationship for over a decade. Since Adam saved the British Embassy in Baku from an attack (because of Kara’s intel), he has been making a name for himself.
Despite being considered a significant threat to the United Kingdom, Kara is still feeding intel to strengthen Adam’s position as the acting chief of MI6. However, when she finally comes and collects what Adam owns her, his job is compromised immediately. On top of that, it also impacts Adam’s family life. His wife, Maddy (Oona Chaplin), who used to work for the British government too, suspects that her husband keeps secrets to save his personal and professional life, and soon, she starts to doubt if she can trust her husband or not. Adam and his entourage are caught up in a web of paranoia, secrets, deceptions, lies and danger. Will Adam escape it and save his vital position at MI6 and his family?
Yes, when reading the storyline or watching the teaser trailer, it’s clear that “Treason” is cliched and that it’s all written and done before. However, that doesn’t mean you have put this series aside. The relationship between Kara-Adam-Maddy becomes much more intriguing throughout the series; the change in characters of the different individuals is quite pleasant to see, and the familiarity of the series is actually a plus as it draws you in almost immediately. There are also many twists and turns, and unsolved questions are answered while new ones arise, which is certainly enough to keep us entertained throughout the five episodes.
You can put “Treason” in the category “easy-to-binge-watch” because of the splendid acting performances. Cox (“Daredevil”, “Spider-Man: No Way Home”) excels as the trapped, determined, torn-apart and secretive MI6 chief. Whether it’s stepping up after Angelis’ poisoning, keeping his relationship with Kara hidden, dealing with family problems or saving Britain from a political disaster, you can feel every emotion Adam goes through and every difficult decision he has to make.
While Cox’s impressive performance is being used in the marketing the most (for obvious reasons), the creators should also have given Kurylenko (“Black Widow”, “The Water Diviner”) much more recognition. She puts on the most powerful, outstanding, all-around, bad-ass performance. With her endearing acting, she proves again that she can handle every script and what an incredibly underestimated and underused actress she’s. It takes a while for us to see the multiple sides of Chaplin (“Anchor and Hope”, “Realive”), but once Maddy becomes much more entangled in the secrets, that’s when Chaplin starts to shine.
The energy and compassion she brings to this role are out of this world. Another actress who shines extremely bright is Gadsdon. After seeing her as a beautiful lead in “The Railway Children Return”, she again proves what a great actress she’s about to become. Her subtle, emotional and strong performance certainly gives Ella enough personality. The casting team did an impeccable job as you will also see captivating performances from Hinds (“The Wonder”, “Red Sparrow”), Tracy Ifeachor (“Confetti”, “Take Down”), Alex Kingston (“ER”, “Doctor Who”) and Syrus Lowe (who’s currently starring in the West End play “Best of Enemies”).
Chairman is no stranger when it comes to writing and creating spy thrillers. While “Treason” never reaches the same level as Chairman’s “Bridges of Spies”, which he co-wrote with the Coen brothers, it’s still a great addition to Netflix. Its greatest strengths are undoubtedly the cliched but still strong storyline, the ever-changing dynamics between the characters, and the strong leads.
“Treason” is on Netflix from the 26th of December.
26th December 2022
THE QUICK SELL
Adam Lawrence was trained and groomed by MI6, his career seems set. When the past catches up with him in the form of Kara, a Russian spy with whom he shares a complicated past, he is forced to question everything and everyone in his life.
TV / STREAMING PLATFORM