Netflix’s Treason is a better spy thriller than James Bond

Spy thrillers have become a popular genre for streaming services. Prime Video recently released the third season of Jack Ryan with John Krasinski in the lead role. Apple TV+ launched Echo 3 of the prize Oscar Mark Boal. Now Netflix proposes Treason with Charlie Cox who plays an MI6 agent in dire straits.

Adam finds himself among world powers as Russia tries to bring down the UK, while the CIA keeps tabs on him. The series builds a web of lies, deceit and intrigue, giving the character of Adam a quality similar to that of James Bond. However, Treason it frames Adam’s story much better than anything involving agent 007.

Treason has no obvious heroes and villains

In the Bond films he is always the hero no matter what. Any twist that paints him in a dark light doesn’t elicit any emotional feelings, because viewers know James ends up redeeming himself and gets a pass. Conversely, Treason cultivates ambiguity for all of his leads, even in the trailer. Olga Kurylenko’s Kara traps Adam in the situation, but the audience doesn’t know if he’s trying to find out the truth about the loss of assets in Baku, if he wants to expose MI6 or if he wants to bash the Russian government.

Even the CIA is portrayed as a puppeteer. The lack of clarity leads Adam to make unclear choices, which further puts the public in a crisis that begins to doubt his intentions. Both Adam and Kara make selfish decisions that keep viewers on the edge of their seats, and the series portrays them as potentially as corruptible as their power-struggling governments.

Treason shatters James Bond’s chauvinistic gaze

James Bond films mostly depict women as femme fatales or damsels in distress. Bond usually sleeps with them, kills them, or saves them before letting them go. This objectifying clich√© is now accepted in films. Treason’s Kurylenko played Camille in Quantum of Solace, and while Camille didn’t sleep with Bond and help bring down the villain, she still felt like a crutch to the plot in that film. This is not the case with her character in Treason.

Kara immediately establishes herself as Adam’s ex, but above all as a woman of power. She is someone with a bolder story than Adam. This depth extends to her wife Maddy (played by Oona Chaplin). She carries out her investigation, stands up to Adam and works to protect her family, to which Adam is dedicated, contrary to Bond’s womanizing reputation. The concept of family is something Bond only had in No Time to Die. Dede, Maddy’s CIA, is just as powerful, manipulating her relationship with Maddy and prioritizing her own goals. Treason empowers strong women to hold their agency and make the decisions.

Netflix’s Treason deals with the repercussions better than James Bond

While Daniel Craig’s films actively tweaked the formula, many of the previous James Bond films saw the titular hero save the day in a cheesy way, with the events of those films having no long-term repercussions. Treason has much higher stakes, with every character and organization having something to lose if their secrets are exposed. Adam has a rough past that could land him in prison and hurt his family, but he’s driven by a desire to keep his family safe.

Unfortunately, however, his past continues to make itself felt. Maddy herself begins to think she has married the wrong man. So, regardless of the outcome, it seems their family will never be the same. With Maddy’s CIA past coming under the microscope, suspicions that the Americans have kidnapped her daughter, British and Russian politicians backstabbing each other and Kara unleashing an avalanche of secrets, Treason is something that, if the second season will take place, it will have consequences for all parties.

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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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