Bodyguard is a contemporary crime/thriller series released on Netflix in 2018. In the show, we follow the actions and whereabouts of David Budd (played by Richard Madden), an officer of the London Metropolitan Police Service. After helping to prevent a bomb go off on-board a train, Budd is assigned as the PPO (personal protection officer) of Julia Montague (played by Keeley Hawes) – the home secretary of the United Kingdom. Budd is roped her controversies and discovers an elaborate terrorist plot to destabilize the entirety of the country.
Bodyguard is in obvious reference to the character of David Budd so lets talk about him for a bit. I would call him a two-sided character. In the public eye (i.e. among his peers in the force), he was presented as a trained, resourceful and fearless officer – perfect for taking up the mantle of PPO to the home secretary. But outside the workplace, he was a completely different individual. He was on the verge of a divorce, suffered from loneliness, PTSD and a minor addiction to alcohol. His PTSD in particular was very well illustrated through the use of tinnitus (i.e that ringing sound in your ears that you hear if you’re in proximity to an explosion) & motion blur through the camera. The two sides of Budd made him a very compelling character – a flawed protagonist.
The show also made brilliant use of the “surveillance state” in its plot. More often than not, the movements of characters such as Budd were tracked by intelligence agencies through the use of CCTV cameras, microphones, GPS etc. This was a very important aspect of the plot, and an indirect commentary on how our personal freedoms can be violated by organizations that may not always have the best interests at heart. This aspect of the plot also further added to the show’s realism.
The plot of Bodyguard also began and ended on high notes. The opening scene of the first episode was one of the most enthralling and tense sequences that I’ve seen in a television series to date – my eyes were glued to the screen. This 20-minute scene took place on-board a moving train with Budd attempting to rumble a suicide bombing attempt through negotiation. The last episode also contained an equally nail-biting yet longer hostage situation that provided some excellent technical insights into hostage negotiation and bomb defusal techniques.
Another high of this show’s plot was its cohesiveness and logical consistency. Nothing was over the top neither were there any loose ends nor plot holes by the end of the series. Everything tied together well and every character had a significant role to play in executing the vision and scope of the storyline. An excellent twist was also revealed in the finale, related to who the ‘main’ antagonist actually is. The tone of the series also evolved significantly over the six episodes. The first three episodes were more upbeat and action packed in nature as they involved Budd executing his duties as PPO. In contrast, the final three episodes were more gloomy and suspenseful as Budd put on his detective hat on and attempted to uncover a nationwide conspiracy.
I have no real complaints about Bodyguard but the one thing I will say is that its soundtrack was very derivative from other Netflix produced shows like Stranger Things and Mr.Robot. I also really hope that they don’t make a second season of this show (at least not with the same characters) as I believe that every character presented had a very satisfying conclusion. But overall, I would highly recommend binging this series. The production value of every episode was pristine, making each of them seem like a mini-movie. The plot of the show was also masterfully crafted with no noticeable inconsistencies. Lastly our protagonist, David Budd, was likeable enough in nature.