This week, the biggest show of 2018 in the UK comes to Netflix. It's called Bodyguard, and by the series finale last month, it averaged nearly 11 million viewers, beating the record held by Downton Abbey of 10.5 million in 2011. The story focuses on Sgt. David Budd, played by Game of Thrones actor (and perhaps future James Bond) Richard Madden. Who is David Budd in Bodyguard? Warning: Spoilers for the Bodyguard miniseries follow.
When viewers first meet Budd, he's a former war veteran turned police protection services officer, aka a bodyguard. He's on a train, heading home to drop off his kids with their mom after his visitation weekend. But quickly, he senses something off about the conductor's behavior. Turns out there's a potential suspect in the bathroom, and a warning of a possible terrorist threat floating around.
Inserting himself into the drama, Budd discovers there is indeed a threat: A female suicide bomber in a vest, whose husband left her there and is preparing to escape in the confusion after she blows herself up. Budd, cool as ice, talks her down while keeping trigger-happy policemen at bay from killing her. It is quite possibly the tensest 20-minute scene you'll see on Netflix all year.
And that's just the opening 20 minutes. Now dubbed "the hero of 1/10," Budd's newest assignment for protection is the Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes), a prime target for assassination attempts. But how can he keep a warmongering politician safe when Budd has demons, and perhaps an attack plan of his own?
Budd is a complex and not always likable character. He's suffering from PTSD. His marriage fell apart because of his emotional instability, and his soon-to-be-ex regularly begs him to stop calling her up drunk in the middle of the night. His war buddies are no more stable than he is, blaming the government for their troubles and acting as potential domestic terror threats themselves. As he gets closer with Montague, the question becomes more intense. Who is trying to kill her? Is it outside forces? Or could it be her own bodyguard?
It's a far cry from the Robb Stark fans knew in Game of Thrones, especially with Madden using his natural Scottish accent. But Madden's inherent goodness that landed him first the role of virtual Prince Charming Stark and then literal Prince Charming in the live-action Cinderella carries him through.
When asked about his feelings about the role, Madden told Entertainment Weekly when he first started shooting the series he only had the first three of six episodes, so he didn't know how Budd's journey would turn out either.
It helped me for this one because I didn’t preempt anything that was going to come later, I just kind of went to it. When it got to Episode 3 and we were shooting, the director said to me, 'Do you now want to know who did it?' I was like, 'Don’t tell me!' It was quite good to follow the trail.
All six episodes of Bodyguard are streaming on Netflix starting today, Oct. 24, 2018.