Tonight the fourth of five episodes of the BBC’s miniseries “London Spy” airs, and there’s a good chance if you don’t live in the UK you had no idea the series even existed. But it does, and it’s great and this is its synopsis:
London Spy begins as the story of two young men, Danny (Ben
Whishaw), gregarious, hedonistic, and romantic, falls in love with the
asocial, enigmatic, brilliant Alex (Edward Holcroft). They live very
different lives, Danny is from a world of clubbing and youthful excess,
and Alex (it turns out) works for the Secret Intelligence Service, but
just as they realize they are perfect for each other, Alex disappears.
Danny, utterly ill-equipped to take on the world of espionage, decides
to fight for the truth.
Yes, it’s a gay spy drama. But that’s a reductive description, even if we admit that’s what got us in the door. In the three episodes we’ve seen, “London Spy” takes that initial premise and expands it into a complex, thrilling spy drama with a protagonist who just happens to be gay. Which — like it or not — is a pretty revolutionary idea, especially considering its very high production value and a cast that includes Whishaw, Jim Broadbent (as his older gay mentor of sorts) and Charlotte Rampling (who offers up some of the most delicious scenes you’ll see on television this year).
“Spy” — along with the second season of “Transparent,” we suspect (which debuts on Friday) — caps off an insanely plentiful year when it comes to quality LGBT storytelling on TV. Don’t miss it.