Slow Horses Season 1 [8/10]

Mick Herron’s Slough House/Jackson Lamb series, soon to be eight books strong, is justly praised both as a stylistic breath of fresh air in the often turgid genre of spy fiction and for its propulsive, complex, tricky plots. “Slow Horses” brings the series’ first book, of the same name, to the streaming stage and I, along with many others, wondered if the screen version could do justice to the print version. My heart need not have fluttered. The six-episode first season not only hews close to the book (something purists always yearn for) but nails the key criteria of acting, script, direction, and pacing. The most important actor, of course, is Gary Oldman. He transports himself into the skin of the repulsive, farting, ontime-super-spy Lamb, who has been banished to run Slough House (rendered wonderfully in all its seedy glory), a spy shop of rejects (although the word ”run” does not really apply because all Lamb wants from them is to do nothing). Jack Lowden as River, Saski Reeves as Standish, Christopher Chung as Roddy … all are marvellous. And Kristin Scott Thomas as Lady Di Taverner … wow! The plotline of a young Muslim kidnapped and facing beheading follows the book’s labyrinthine details and James Hawes’s direction for all six episodes is flawless. This first season of Slow Horses is tense, chilling, yet witty and smart, perfect for both the Herron fan and the Herron neophyte.

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