The Honourable Woman (BBC)

This started on BBC 1 in the UK about two weeks ago, I don’t know if it will transfer to BBC America or any other overseas channels. It’s a political/espionage thriller in the John Le Carre mold, the title is probably a nod to Le Carre’s novel, ‘The Honourable Schoolboy’.

The woman of the title is a British, Jewish entrepreneur, recently elevated to the House of Lords. As a result of seeing her father, a pro-Israeli businessman, assassinated when she was a child, she decides that the key to Middle East peace is to improve the economic lot of the Palestinians. To this end decides to kick-start the process by rolling out broadband internet access to the area controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Then people start being murdered and kidnapped.

Despite a somewhat slow start, the show has picked up and is becoming a good example of the genre. If you’re a fan of this sort of thing. it’s well worth catching if it come to a TV station near you.

Well this finished in the UK, this week and proved that the BBC can still do very good intelugent spy thrillers when it put its mind to it. The show received critical acclaim from the 'serious; end of the British press (the Guardian, Telegraph and Independent), but avoid the reviews if you don’t want spoilers. It was also popular with viewers, if the BBC o-Player chart is anything to go by and FWIW, I loved it.

Hugo Blick’s script and direction were flawless and there were some very strong performances from Stephen Rea and Janet McTeer, as the British spies, Lubna Azabal as Nessa’s Palestinian friend and interpreter and the Israeli actor Igal Naor as the old friend of Nessa’s murdered dad. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Nessa herself has divided opinion with some people disliking her dispassionate, almost emotionless performance and others arguing that it was perfect for a psychologically and physically scarred woman. Personally I’m in the second group. The supporting actors also did a very good job.

The best line in the series has to go to MI6 boss, Dame Julia (Janet McTeer) - ‘In a room full of pussies, I’m the only one with a vagina.’

Highly recommended and the whole series is still available on BBC i-Player for those with access to it,