WORRICKER (2011-2014) British TV mini-series (trilogy)
Director: David Hare
Writer: David Hare
Cast: Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon, Judy Davis, Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes…
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): Not rated
Runtime: approximately 4 hours 46 minutes – 3 episodes
Genres: International espionage/Crime/Political drama/Mystery
List Price: $ Varies depending upon source. Individual episodes are available in addition to complete sets.
by Cherie Jung
The trilogy is comprised of “Page Eight,” “Turks & Caicos,” and “Salting the Battlefield.”
“Page Eight” (2011) 1 hour 45 minutes
Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a British intelligence analyst with MI5 who stumbles upon a secret document that reveals illegal government actions involving the Prime Minister and he is compelled to do something about it.
“Turks & Caicos” (2014) 1 hour 40 minutes
While hiding in the islands, dodging his MI5 work, Worricker encounters some dubious American businessmen who are linked to the Prime Minister. Worricker’s survival is at stake.
“Salting the Battlefield” (2014) 1 hour 38 minutes
Worricker is on the run but knows he must confront his nemesis, the Prime Minister, if he is to resolve his problems.
The WORRICKER TRILOGY is more of a spy drama than a thriller.
As noted above, the WORRICKER TRILOGY revolves around career MI5 analyst Johnny Worricker who discovers in the first episode, “Page Eight,” troubling evidence that the British Prime Minister was involved with secret U.S. built detention complexes that used torture in their investigations of the prisoners held there. The second episode, “Turks & Caicos,” finds Worricker trying to keep a low profile on the island but getting tangled up with some unscrupulous businessmen, the CIA, and a murder. And finally, episode three, “Salting the Battlefield” finds Worricker on the run again, through Europe, eventually returning to England to confront the British PM.
And that’s about as exciting as it gets. Sigh.
The pacing is traditionally British (i.e.: slow, with too much time spent with uninteresting secondary characters and overly convoluted plot curves…I can’t in good conscience call them “twists.”) The third episode, “Salting the Battlefield” is the weakest of the three with the first installment, “Page Eight,” coming in a close second.
That is not to say there was nothing interesting or entertaining in those episodes. Well, that could be said of the third episode, I suppose.
I find the actor Bill Nighy (Johnny Worricker) and his facial expressions and mannerisms fascinating to watch, even if the plot is less than exciting. In “Page Eight,” the discovery of the British government’s involvement in torture and the cat and mouse game being played out between Worricker (Bill Nighy) and the PM (Ralph Fiennes) was interesting enough but the secondary arc about Worricker’s antagonistic relationship with his daughter quickly became tiring. The arc with his neighbor across the hall (Rachel Weisz) seemed contrived and forced, and added little to the overall story.
The second episode, “Turks & Caicos,” had more action and better pacing than the other two, though we’re not talking “Jason Bourne” here. There were no car chases, no explosions, no shootouts, just snappier dialogue, more interesting secondary characters and it felt like the bad guys and good guys were pretty evenly matched. (Christopher Walken plays a creepy and devious CIA agent.)
I would have preferred the trilogy to have been condensed into two 90-minute episodes or three much shorter, one-hour episodes. I suspect the length of each episode had more to do with fitting into the Masterpiece: Contemporary framework than time needed for telling the story.
I doubt that I will watch the entire trilogy again. I may re-watch the “Turks & Caicos” sometime.
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