Bodyguard Episode 4 swapped the action and the sexytime for one rug-pulling revelation after another, with bold results.
In Bodyguard Episode 4, a major cast member was (maybe) killed off, another tried (unsuccessfully) to commit suicide, and the on-going conspiracy continued to contort itself into unpredictable knots. It was the rare hour of television that seemed to pass by in barely a moment, and now we’re approaching the end of the BBC’s six-part series, it’s impossible to guess where it might end up.
What I certainly didn’t predict was that the show would kill off its female lead halfway through the season, even though that’s a typical Jed Mercurio thing to do. But there you have it. Keeley Hawes’s Home Secretary, Julia Montague, snuffed it as a result of injuries sustained in last week’s campus bombing. And Bodyguard Episode 4 didn’t even save that revelation until the end.
Call me cynical, but I’m not buying it until I see a body. Then again, there’s so much going on here that the loss of just one protagonist wouldn’t even seem like much of a loss. It even looked as though we were going to lose the second – and it’s probably a testament to Bodyguard’s storytelling quality that for just a moment I really believed we did. I mean, David Budd (Richard Madden) did shoot himself in the head. What was I supposed to think?
But there, you see, lies the conspiracy. Someone had broken into David’s apartment, fiddled with his gun, and swapped the rounds for blanks. He got a nasty head wound and a ruptured eardrum out of the ordeal, but he was otherwise unharmed. And what’s more, his purpose was renewed. Rather than fretting over various post-traumatic anxieties, David spent the latter half of Bodyguard Episode 4 getting balls-deep in the case, rather than the Home Secretary.
And what a case it’s turning out to be. The current prime suspect is aide Tahir Mahmood (Shubham Saraf), in no small part because he’s Asian (although nobody has yet stated that out loud.) But what about the Home Secretary’s simpering special advisor Rob Macdonald (Paul Ready), who handed Tahir the suspicious case in the first place? And what about David himself, who inspected the offending item and apparently found nothing inside but Home Office documents? All the suspects were put through the wringer in testy interrogation scenes by nosey SO15 counter-terror cops DCI Deepak Sharma (Ash Tandon) and DS Louise Rayburn (Nina Toussaint-White). Bodyguard Episode 4 had no shortage of tense interrogations, let me tell you. Even Nadia (Anjli Mohindra) turned up again to provide a crucial lead, although admittedly David led that conversation himself.
There’s no doubt that this is the tensest, most compelling television airing right now, and that’s an incredible feat considering that a cool third of Bodyguard Episode 4 consisted of people sat a table, just talking.
All this, and we still seem no closer to the truth. Macdonald was clearly conspiring with Acting Home Secretary Mike Travis (Vincent Franklin), but we don’t exactly what about just yet. Stephen Hunter-Dunn (Stuart Bowman) and Richard Longcross (Michael Shaeffer) over at MI5 had a “plan” in place, as one presumes the Security Service must, and the Prime Minister (David Westhead) himself isn’t above suspicion considering how nakedly Julia threatened his position. It’s all very intriguing, isn’t it?
And ridiculous, of course. But at this point, frankly, who cares?
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.