The Kingdom season 1 review – politics and faith overlap in this Argentine thriller

August 13, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Reviews
3.5

Summary

The Kingdom isn’t a breezy binge-watch, but it’s a propulsive political thriller with some fine performances and chewy themes.

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3.5

Summary

The Kingdom isn’t a breezy binge-watch, but it’s a propulsive political thriller with some fine performances and chewy themes.

This review of Netflix series The Kingdom season 1 is spoiler-free.


Netflix’s new Argentine political thriller The Kingdom will be a tough sell for most audiences; a lengthy, serious political thriller that exists in the space between secularism and religiosity, at once a severe investigation into an assassination and an exploration of faith. Written by Claudia Piñeiro and Marcelo Piñeyro and extending across eight episodes that feel every minute of their runtimes, this isn’t a light weekend binge-watch. It is, though, pretty good, if you’re in the market for such things.

Revolving primarily around Pastor Emilio Vázquez Pena (Diego Peretti), a controversial televangelist who becomes the next potential president of Argentina following the murder of his running mate, Armando Badajoz (Daniel Kuzniecka), a dense web of conspiracy is quickly established that ensnares Emilio as well as a smattering of other characters whose subplots help to unpack the show’s themes.

It’s part police procedural thriller, then, but also partly a meditation on faith, organized religion, secularism, politics, and family drama, with the idea of moral and ethical compromise taking the forefront. Despite being lengthy and stocked with characters, the show’s good at making them interesting, both at first blush and as they develop. It’d be easy to have these people be stand-ins for political viewpoints or containers for themes, but they’re fleshed out well, and believably, giving The Kingdom an effectively grounded slant.

It’s also admittedly bold to tackle head-on the intersection of religion and politics when the two are so knottily intertwined, and perhaps especially in such a socially liberal but dominantly Roman Catholic country as Argentina. It’s a nice hook, and it adds a layer of welcome cultural specificity to the thriller plot, as well as allowing for a number of characters who aren’t quintessential genre archetypes.

Strong performances help to sell the show’s ideas and keep even its large-scale macro plot, about massive, competing forces in public life, on strictly human terms. As mentioned, it’s hardly a relaxing, breezy binge-watch, but it is a propulsive thriller with some interesting viewpoints and subtexts, well worth checking out if that’s your thing.

What did you think of Netflix series The Kingdom season 1? Comment below.

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