Emmys 2019: BBC's 'Bodyguard' sure shot thanks to neatly-crafted plot, brilliant cast performance, and understated British flair
'Bodyguard' was a groundbreaking political thriller. Created and written by British writer Jed Mercurio, the series achieved the highest viewing numbers for a new BBC drama in the multichannel era and the highest BBC viewing figures since 2008. Viewing figures for the series were high, with 10.4 million (peaking at 11 million) viewers watching the overnight broadcast of the finale live on BBC One alone.
The six-episode potboiler had brought in an angle of conspiracy, psychological arm-twisting, inappropriate sex among servants of the public as part of its intricate storyline. The astounding part was when major characters are killed abruptly and with such disdain that the thought of who the heroes and villains are keeps us guessing till the finale. It starred Richard Madden as David Budd, a war veteran serving with the police that provides a security detail.
Budd is assigned as the Principal Protection Officer (PPO) for an ambitious Home Secretary, Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). Ironically, he despises her politics but ends up in an affair with the woman. The series also sheds light on the government's route of monitoring private information, its regulations and PTSD.
And now, the series is one of the contenders to walk away with an Emmy for the 'Best Drama Series' alongside hit series in 'Better Call Saul'. 'Game of Thrones' and 'Ozark' to name a few. There are ample reasons why we feel 'Bodyguard' deserves an Emmy. The thriller drama has received two nominations. To further add to international recognition, 'Bodyguard' has two Golden Globe nominations including a best actor win for Madden.
The gritty police thriller probably had one of the best opening scripts in TV history. The opening takes up eleven whole minutes and manages to give us a white-knuckle time while at it. And, throughout this space, the interaction is between two characters. Hawes' and Madden's chemistry in the series gives it a very human pulse that guides all of the conspiracy and controversy. 'Bodyguard' is neatly-crafted. It may have its flaws, but odds are that we don't notice them as the well-assembled plot, which is quite a rarity these days, masks the blips.
The series had one advantage— Audiences could relate to the show as it has characters who are constantly making assumptions, misjudging people and they're awfully false about it. It echoes to what Madden said to IndieWire: "There’s something about everyone being so morally ambiguous,” said Madden. “There’s no right or wrong, that’s what humans are: not the good guy, bad guy, hero, or villain stereotypes. Everyone has all of them in them at once."
Rotten Tomatoes gave the series a whopping 92% and its critical consensus sums up why the Madden-starrer may give the other shows a run for their money and may just edge them out to win an Emmy. "Bodyguard maintains a palpable tension throughout its pulpy proceedings to create an absorbing and addicting psychological thriller." Need we say more?
The series is available for streaming on Netflix.