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London Spy 

A chance romance between two men from very different worlds, one from the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, the other from a world of clubbing and youthful excess, leads into mystery after one of them is found murdered.


Tom Rob Smith
2,273 ( 97)




Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Ben Whishaw ...  Danny 5 episodes, 2015
Edward Holcroft ...  Alex 5 episodes, 2015
Jim Broadbent ...  Scottie 5 episodes, 2015
Zrinka Cvitesic ...  Sara 4 episodes, 2015
Samantha Spiro ...  Detective Taylor 4 episodes, 2015
Harriet Walter ...  Claire 3 episodes, 2015
Josef Altin ...  Pavel 2 episodes, 2015
Richard Cunningham ...  Danny's Lawyer 2 episodes, 2015
Adrian Lester ...  Professor Marcus Shaw 2 episodes, 2015
David Hayman ...  Mr Turner 2 episodes, 2015
Charlotte Rampling ...  Frances 2 episodes, 2015
Lorraine Ashbourne ...  Mrs Turner 2 episodes, 2015
Nicolas Chagrin Nicolas Chagrin ...  Charles 2 episodes, 2015
Priyanga Burford ...  Clinician 2 episodes, 2015


A chance romance between two men from very different worlds, one from the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, the other from a world of clubbing and youthful excess, leads into mystery after one of them is found murdered.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

9 November 2015 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

London Spy See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Scottie's car is a Jensen CV-8. They were produced in small numbers between 1962 and 1966 and powered by large Chrysler V8 engines. It was one of the fastest production cars of its era, with a top speed of 136mph. Only 500 were made. See more »


Frances: You either step into the abyss or step back from it; you cannot walk along its edge for long.
See more »


Referenced in London Spy Revealed (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

A mixed bag but a very unique miniseries
6 June 2017 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

A late comment, but I actually did watch this series when it was new, and obsessively, repeating episodes multiple times - at first. Now I'm coming back to it and rewatching it on Netflix streaming. I thought it was going to have lost its magic but no, for all its flaws it's still compulsively watchable.

Many of the things said here that are contradictory are also true. The writing is pretentious and overwrought, but it's also a haunting and entrancing story. Yes, it's utterly absurd the things that happen, but some of the most basic emotions out of which the story is built - the loneliness and need, the romantic affair - are very real and memorable. Perhaps the relationship between Danny and Scottie is a gay old man-young man cliché, but it's still touching and real. The gay spy theme runs up into dangerous clichés too, but still is highly original. And after all, despite the negative stereotypes some have pointed to, this is a spy story where the gayness is not just a weapon or a liability but simply central, a given, and in that regard, Whishaw as an out gay actor can be proud to have played such a marvelous role in it. Above and beyond any specifics of the story there is simply the fact of Danny as a complex, attractive character, basically a mess, and yet utterly sexy and sweet, the kind of gay young man an old dear like Scottie would be happy to love and protect.

Edward Holcorft I'm uncomfortable about. The actor seems so stiff and affected. But that also fits the character of Alex perfectly well: the flaw is in the conception of Alex by the minds behind the series. Jim Broadbent is a consummate pro. But obviously it's Ben Whishaw who makes it all worthwhile and he's touching, real, and as the boyish gay young man, utterly adorable. My excessive fascination with the character of Danny that Ben plays is what kept me coming back over and over, but it was outmatched by my pleasure in Whishaw's authentic and appealing performance, which is one of the best I've seen him in, and he's always good. He's one of the best actors of his generation, some even think the best. There are more mercurial and astonishing ones like Tom Hardy. None so cuddly as Ben though. Sorry I didn't see him as Hamlet.

Then Charlotte Rampling comes along and though it's one of her "standard" roles there's nothing standard about her, she's terrifyingly off-putting, in top form. The second, post-Alex phase investigating Alex is very good. In it, everything in the first phase is undercut and mystified, and this is good, through it seems more programmatic and more far-fetched than the first. It's the last phase where things go down the rabbit hole into sheer nonsense. And you cease to be invested in the story as you were early on. Perhaps you knew this was going to happen. But you liked the overwrought-ness, the camp, so much you accepted anything, and the acting and settings and cinematography were so classy, it was okay. Then it's just bonkers, and it's all more or less thrown away.

Everything is totally stylized. Some of the editing I find annoying, like the jump cuts and paralleled lines of dialogue in the gay love sequence. It all becomes cloying, too-too. And yet, and yet, guilty pleasure though it may be, it's compulsively watchable. I do not know about the other work of the much talked about Tom Rob Smith. I know director Jakob Verbruggen has done other good things. But in "London Spy," the story eventually deteriorates into the preposterous so you don't care about it. Yet it's made its impression, for the excessive but compelling craftsmanship and the magical acting of Ben Whishaw. For all its flaws this weaves a magic spell and leaves a special memory.

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