The BBC's new drama The Honourable Woman starring Maggie Gyllenhaal is kicking up quite a storm and after watching just two episodes, it's easy to see why.
This politically-charged drama looks at the Israeli-Palestine conflict (reminiscent of US thriller Homeland, as pointed out by The Guardian) but for me, the best thing about this show is it's filled with strong female characters.
The series focuses on Nessa Stein (played by Gyllenhaal), leader of a London organisation caught up in the Israel and Palestine conflict. Her father was assassinated - with some very lethal bread tongs - when she was a young girl which immediately sets a tone of danger and violence in the very first scene of the series.
Nessa faces threats from business partners and protesters alike yet remains cool as cucumber throughout it all. When warned by an irate former business associate that she would make enemies, without missing a beat, she sharply replies, "It's the Middle East, Shlomo, enemies is what you make."
In episode two, Stein's confidence is even more captivating. We see her get down and dirty with her bodyguard, only to pull off his wire whilst straddling him. Outing an M15 mole in your underwear? How very 007 of you, Maggie.
As The Independent writes, Nessa is both "elegant and apologetic...whose motivations mingle family pride with intergenerational guilt."
Gyllenhaal is an exciting fictional character, but she's representative of a real woman we can relate to. Forget entrepreneur Barbies, Nessa is our kind of role model.
If you can draw yourself away from the action long enough to appreciate the James Bond-esque soundtrack, you'll also notice the artful way in which The Honourable Woman is shot.
Hugo Blick's latest drama combines an exquisitely written script with a typically BBC finish to its music and set. Bring on the rest of the series - even if it's just to see Gyllenhaal and her unfaltering British accent.
The Honourable Woman is an eight-part series on BBC 2. Episode three airs on Thursday, July 17 at 9pm.
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