Queerantined

The Weekend Binge: Ben Whishaw in a terrifying spy mystery

Welcome to Queerty’s latest entry in our series, Queerantined: Daily Dose. Every weekday as long as the COVID-19 pandemic has us under quarantine, we’ll release a suggested bit of gloriously queer entertainment designed to keep you from getting stir crazy in the house. Each weekend, we will also suggest a binge-able title to keep you extra engaged.

The Paranoid: London Spy

Writer Tom Rob Smith enchanted audiences with his take on the Gianni Versace murder with American Crime Story: Versace. For anyone looking to experience Smith at his best–and most daring–check out this BBC series starring British heartthrob Ben Whishaw. In the limited series, Whishaw plays Danny, a former prostitute and party boy in the process of turning his life around. When he meets Alex (Edward Holcroft), a studious nerd, he feels an instant attraction. Just as the two fall in love, Alex turns up dead, and evidence appears to from Danny for the murder. Danny then embarks on a dark and disturbing journey into a world of secret agents, lies and murder to discover Alex’s true killer and clear his name.

Whishaw gives a stellar performance in the lead, a role that requires him to be on camera virtually the entire runtime of the series. He manages to suggest a certain tenderness and intelligence in Danny that other actors might have lacked, and that elevates London Spy beyond a simple revenge mystery into a moving romance. Fans of the James Bond series will also delight in seeing Whishaw–a fixture of the series–stepping into the role of the spy-action hero. Likewise, Holcroft gives a fine supporting turn, as do Jim Broadbent (as an aging queen-mentor of Danny’s) and Charlotte Rampling as a chilling, complex villain. Smith’s writing gives the story a tense and rapid pace, and heaps brutal plot twists on his leading character. London Spy ain’t for the faint of heart, but for those that stomach its plunges, it’s one addictive ride.

Streams on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, iTunes and VUDU.