Netflix: A series that lasts half a pilot, then implodes

There are series that hold up for ten episodes, others that hold up for forty. Treason holds up for thirty: thirty minutes.

“It starts well, but then disappoints”. Sentence said thousands of times, in which the ending is easy to imagine, but the whole meaning depends on the weight of that “part”. What is that departure? In the first few episodes? In the first season? In the fateful four seasons after which 90% of the series collapse? In some cases, however, the departure does not even coincide with the first episode, but with a portion of it. It could have seemed like a general and generic intro and instead – look at it – Treason belongs precisely to the latter category.

Available on Netflix from December 26, Treason is a spy series created by Matt Charman, Oscar nominee for the screenplay of Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. In short, someone who knows how to write a story of spies and spies. And in fact the start is one of the good ones: out of the 50 minutes of the first episode, at least 30 are of a high level, with the characters being introduced in an excellent way and the action starting instantly, without hesitation. In fact, the first sequences show us how the head of MI6 (Ciarán Hinds, always an incredible face) is poisoned by a woman (Olga Kurylenko) and her deputy (Charlie ‘Daredevil’ Cox) takes her place.

We are justly interested in the poisoned boss, because the other two are the real center of the story: not so much because a sweeping investigation and consequent relentless pursuit begins, but precisely for the opposite reason. Because there is no investigation, nor pursuit: it soon turns out that the two have known each other for some time, they had had an affair when they were both on duty in Azerbaijan and above all that she is infinitely better than him. She is so much better at having given him tip after tip, which allowed the sympathetic manager to climb the hierarchies and place himself at the top of the services. And now? Well, now she can maneuver him however she wants.

This is the plot of Treason and it is undeniable that it is very interesting, because it is not the classic story of spies who chase and hide. The problem is that Treason sinks at the exact moment everything is set straight. To say: initially Adam (aka Cox) is convinced that in reality Kara (Kurylenko) wants to go against her and to demonstrate her good faith she reveals to him that a group of Dutch extremists is arriving by ferry in Dover with a bomb. Adam passes the information and the terrorists are arrested as if they were pickpockets, without any repercussions.

This is the moment in which the viewer realizes that something is not right, because to keep the relationship between Adam and Kara standing, everything else is pulled away. It happens with Adam’s wife (Oona Chaplin), who starts intercepting her husband with a microphone hidden in a pen, which not only records him, but also her interlocutor on her phone. And it happens especially with the two main characters: Kara is able to find information on anything using only her computer and she does it before and better than the entire body of the British secret services, while Adam acts as a free hitter without ties and obligations, while actually covering a very controlled and super-delicate role.

I would like to tell you how Treason proceeds and how he falls into the abyss or manages to get back up, but the bad writing of this series is too evident: given up in the middle of the second episode, after yet another senseless blunder in terms of script. The illusion that Treason was a good series: on the one hand it’s a shame, on the other it smells like time saved.

Why watch Treason: because the relationship between the two main characters has interesting foundations

Why quit Treason: because she’s a gymkhana among writing errors

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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