Yesterday I finished up watching the BBC miniseries drama “State of Play”, a 2003 production featuring the following IMDB tagline: A thriller set in London, in which a politician’s life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage drug dealer is shot dead.
Featured in the miniseries are David Morrissey and John Simm as the male leads of MP Stephen Collins and Cal McCaffery (an investigative journalist who had served as Collins’ campaign manager and friend back in the day). Supporting are Kelly Macdonald and a very young James McAvoy as journalists, Bill Nighy as their very British editor and Polly Walker as Collins’ wife.
This is one of those miniseries where discussing it too much will just give away plot twists and turns, so I’ll stay somewhat general and discuss the nature of the production.
Ultimately, it is a classic investigative journalist drama… harking back to the early 90s and late 80s themes I recall from my youth. But it’s rather sophisticated in its masking. You don’t really see the various twists and turns coming… as the storytelling is quite first (rather than third) person. You’re seeing what the investigation sees, without having those limitations be so overt as to annoy. You can tell the screenplay was an adaptation of what must have been an engrossing novel of political and journalistic intrigue. [OK, wordy praise now out of the way]
The cast does a knockout job with their performances. Simms and Morrissey are each excellent and McEvoy and Nighy play off each other very well. Also outstanding is Marc Warren in a supporting role. MacDonald is very engaging as what constitutes the female lead and I’m somewhat surprised she hasn’t made a bigger impact on this side of the pond.
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