The Cold War yielded films, books, and fiction series – other stories. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union, everything seemed to suggest that the espionage genre would have its days numbered. But as we see, the formula still works today. The Netflix series Treason is another one that explores the massive Russian presence in London and how, behind the scenes, international politics remains dirty and complex. It is almost a parallel to the other excellent Slow Horses, and yes, it obviously puts the star, actor Charlie Cox, on the eternal speculation list of who will be the next James Bond (Jack Lowden, from Slow Horses, is another).
In Treason, we have an original story, created by screenwriter Matt Charman, nominated for an Oscar for the excellent thriller Bridge of Spies. In an intricate espionage universe, where blackmail is the key element, lack of trust is constant and surprising turns are always expected, even in just five episodes.
Adam Lawrence (Charlie Cox) is a (seemingly) trustworthy MI6 agent whose rise through the ranks is accelerated when his boss Sir Martin Angelis (Ciarán Hinds) is poisoned and hospitalized. The author of the attack is Adam’s ex-lover, Kara Yersov (Olga Kurylenko), who drags him into a dangerous plot and possibly betrayal of the Crown. It’s hard to go into more detail without spoilers because it’s such a complex web of unreliable characters.
There’s a very unique element to Treason, which is Adam’s home life. Widowed and married for the second time to Maddy DaCosta (Oona Chaplin), Adam has in her much more than a mere behind-the-scenes supporter. That’s because Maddy has served in the military and knows a lot about how international affairs work, including having a direct connection to the CIA. The love triangle is one of the most interesting precisely because of the dynamics of the two women, much more than Adam.
Fans are rooting for a spin-off. It would be interesting. Especially putting back Oona Chaplin and Olga Kurylenko, who worked briefly on Quantum of Solace and are reunited in Treason. Great chemistry.