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Adventurer James Keziah Delaney returns to London during the War of 1812 to rebuild his late father's shipping empire. However, both the government and his biggest competitor want his inheritance at any cost - even murder.
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Series cast summary:
 James Keziah Delaney (10 episodes, 2017-2018)
 Benjamin Wilton (8 episodes, 2017)
 Zilpha Geary (8 episodes, 2017)
 Brace (8 episodes, 2017)
 Godfrey (8 episodes, 2017)
 Sir Stuart Strange (8 episodes, 2017)
Richard Dixon ...
 John Pettifer (8 episodes, 2017)
 Lorna Bow (7 episodes, 2017)
 Atticus (7 episodes, 2017)
 Dumbarton (7 episodes, 2017)
 Helga (7 episodes, 2017)
Ruby-May Martinwood ...
 Winter (7 episodes, 2017)
James Greaves ...
 Strange's Clerk (7 episodes, 2017)
 Thorne Geary (6 episodes, 2017)
 Solomon Coop (6 episodes, 2017)
Louis Ashbourne Serkis ...
 Robert (6 episodes, 2017)
 French Bill (6 episodes, 2017)
 Martinez (6 episodes, 2017)
Tallulah Rose Haddon ...
 Pearl (6 episodes, 2017)
 Prince Regent (5 episodes, 2017)
 Cholmondeley (5 episodes, 2017)
 Robert Thoyt (5 episodes, 2017)


James Keziah Delaney returns to 1814 London after 10 years in Africa to discover that he has been left a mysterious legacy by his father. Driven to wage war on those who have wronged him, Delaney finds himself in a face-off against the East India Company, whilst playing a dangerous game between two warring nations, Britain and America.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

10 January 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tabu  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


This project was created by Tom Hardy and his father, Chips Hardy. See more »

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User Reviews

"I have a use for this series"
22 May 2017 | by See all my reviews

Finally I came to see this Gothic gem from the BBC and I am not disappointed - quite the contrary is the case.

In 'Taboo' the set up of the world and the creation of a very dark and at the same time tender atmosphere as well as the nicely arranged spectrum of taboo-motifs (like sexual transgression, the grotesque and strange, overwhelming violence etc.) kept me from being bothered by the fact that I didn't feel one jot more sympathy for its main character than for its antagonists. James K. Delaney is an intriguing mysterious character attracting us in a depraved way. But he is also an individual of extreme moral reprehensibility we eventually cannot go along with.

The series makes very good use of Gothic- and Dark Romanticism writers' style to build up the gloomy atmosphere of a depressed 1814 England still anguished by the loss of the great colony. It is no coincidence when Delaney claims at some point in the series:"The ravens told me". We find lots of Poe here either in theme or characters. Madness wanders through the world of 'Taboo' and at least at the dip of the hem this madness is always caused by the East India Company, the Crown or Delaney. Curiously all the characters except Delaney himself are appearing so vulnerably and fragile that their indulgence (to be helpless and lost in this made up society) arises a counter-part to the unforgiveness of the room they live in.

'Taboo' also declares the downfall of the classic adventure genre. There is no space for nostalgic explorers or discoverers in the plot lines, Delaney is a broken man as he returns from Africa, even if he is not willing to admit this. It's rather a farewell to the exotic, the story takes place after the alleged adventure and mainly stays at the well-known. Interestingly the series manages it to combine some accounts on slavery shifting the story to an international level (not many historic series/ movies do this, they mostly remain in the domestic frame).

Further the actors do a very nice job. Particularly Tom Hardy, Jonathan Price and the reoccurring Mark Gatiss play exceptionally good. However I have to say that there was no huge character development, which I wished to see. The characters are not uni-dimensional, but they do not alter in their facets. The series tries to offset this flaw with new secrets and confessions in every episode pretending these to be a change, whilst it is actually only about the introduction of new information. A very common writing technique, I think.

Overall I can highly recommend 'Taboo', especially for fans of Gothic, Grotesque and the 19th century England.

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