This six-part espionage miniseries began on Wednesday on BBC America. It's a moody, stylish production set in 1972 England, then in the midst of a lengthy miners' strike that caused power outages even at MI-5 headquarters. A KGB officer named Arkady Malinov gets himself arrested for public drunkenness and assault on a police officer so he can tell MI-5 that he wants to defect and act as a double agent. Malinov claims he wants to act as a double agent so he can reveal to the British what he learns about the Soviet-planned Operation Glass.
What's Operation Glass? Well, Malinov doesn't really know, but he knows it's huge and will change forever the status of the Cold War. It involves agents the USSR has in the UK, and Malinov says he'll let MI-5 know who they are whenever he finds out. Although they feel sure Malinov isn't telling all he knows, MI-5's counterespionage team, which calls itself the Fray, gets to work.
From what I've read, it appears that each week of the series will focus on a new target revealed to the Fray by Malinov, whom the team will then try to use to find out more about Operation Glass. After just one episode, it's hard to tell how this series will shape up, but I'll definitely keep watching. It's got that moody look and music appropriate to Cold War espionage drama, and the actors are fun to watch. (Though I do wish they'd enunciate! It's a sad state of affairs when even British-trained actors mumble so much these days.) Each member of the Fray has his or her own secrets, there are tensions and conflicts between them, and their office-politics intrigues may turn out to be as much a focus of the series as Operation Glass.
The Game is on BBC America on Wednesday nights at 10:00pm Eastern time.
Death Comes to Pemberley
Did you watch the two-part Death Comes to Pemberley on Masterpiece Mystery? I did, and even though it doesn't seem quite right to say this about a Jane Austen-ish adaptation, I thought it was a hoot.
Of course, this is based on P. D. James's novel of the same name. James imagined Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet six years after their marriage at the end of Pride and Prejudice. They are now living happily at Pemberley with their young son, and busily planning their annual dinner and dance for hundreds.
The festivities have to be cancelled when Lydia, Elizabeth's flibbertigibbet of a younger sister comes careening up the drive in a coach and then bursts out of its door, screaming that her husband, the ne'er-do-well Wickham, has been killed. Well, more's the pity, it quickly turns out that it's Captain Denny who's been killed. But Wickham is arrested for the crime, and that's even better than his being the murder victim if you're a Wickham hater––as all right-thinking people are, of course.
The dramatization accentuates the soap-opera potential of the P. D. James plot. A love triangle involving Darcy's sister Georgiana is raised in importance, while the strain that this affair––and, of course, the murder––puts on Elizabeth and Darcy threatens their love. There are emotional scenes––well, as emotional as you can get in the Austen-esque environment. Elizabeth can't help but feel that Darcy is regretting his association with her family, especially since he goes into full Darcy remote mode as the pressure of events ratchets up.