There is life for Robb Stark after the Red Wedding.Richard Madden, who played the doomed Stark on “Game of Thrones,” gives a magnetic performance in British import “Bodyguard” as a cop and military vet afflicted with PTSD whose act of heroism — calmly preventing a female suicide bomber from blowing up a packed train — changes his life forever. The gripping six-part series — which set BBC viewership records when it aired in the UK in August — has now landed on Netflix.
Madden’s character, David Budd, is promoted for his bravery — he’s named the Principal Protection Officer of Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes), a firebrand whose hawkish views on security put her at odds with the Metropolitan Police. David’s heroism puts his two children (he’s separated from his wife, played by Sophie Bundle) at risk when terrorists target the kids’ school. And his new job puts him at greater risk when Montague’s armored car is attacked by a sniper — leaving the government inspector bloody, shaken and in need of some convenient comfort.
Who ya gonna call? David Budd, of course.“Bodyguard” is a tense, tightly plotted thrill ride that makes almost no false moves. But putting Madden together with Hawes romantically in Episode 2 seems rushed and silly — it’s a setup we’ve seen so many times that you can see the conscious coupling coming a mile away. Fortunately, Madden makes the most of the predictable plot maneuver, revealing more of David’s vulnerability, and the writers use the love affair to cast doubt on Montague in his eyes, forcing him to spy on Montague for the police, who feel shut out by her political maneuvers.
As the body count rises from successive bombings, David’s isolation from his family, his colleagues and society becomes acute and Madden, employing his native charming Scottish accent, draws you in completely while raising intriguing questions. Why doesn’t David tell the police everything he knows about the sniper who tried to take out Montague? Why does he withhold the very information that would save lives?