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Terrorist bombings, political intrigue, an affair, and assassination attempts: Bodyguard serves up all these ingredients and more. The British drama spiced up with American action scenes has earned high ratings in the U.K. and on Netflix. But be warned this BBC series has earned its TV-MA rating.
Sgt. David Budd (Richard Madden) served with British forces in Afghanistan, and the experience scarred him emotionally and physically. Harrowing memories and flashbacks drive him to drink, and his temper often flares, leading to the end of his marriage. Budd loves his family, but his wife refuses to live with him in his current state. “You need help, David!” she and David’s colleagues say.
On duty, Budd is a model police officer. His time in combat soured him on politics and politicians, but one would never know it from his diligence and prowess as a bodyguard. After foiling a terrorist train-bombing plot, Budd is assigned to protect Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes), the Conservative MP serving as home secretary (responsible for U.K. internal affairs and security). Montague is a rising political star, a powerful woman whose speeches echo the firm resolve and tough talk of the original Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher.
Montague has proposed controversial anti-terrorism legislation that would increase the government’s ability to snoop on private citizens’ phone calls and internet use. The legislation, along with Montague’s rising star status, make her a prime target for terrorists, political opponents, and privacy advocates.
When a sniper attacks Montague’s vehicle convoy, we wonder: Is the prime minister jealous enough to have ordered her killing? Are the attempted train bombers determined to take out this powerful new leader? The plot gives viewers just enough clues for enjoyable speculation.
Given the intriguing storyline, it’s disappointing this show is weighed down by objectionable elements. Characters occasionally swear and blaspheme, and the relationship between Budd and Montague turns quickly into a passionate physical affair, complete with sexual scenes. Too bad: The two had plenty of chemistry and tension that could have developed without that.