Liaison Season 1 Review – not even Vincent Cassel can save this middling spy thriller

By Adam Lock
Published: February 16, 2023 (Last updated: March 23, 2023)
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Liaison is an uninspiring spy thriller devoid of tension or engaging characters. Vincent Cassel is as cinematic and commanding as always, yet his appearance in this misfire seems just as jarring as the show’s overall mismatched tone.

We review the Apple TV+ series Liaison Season 1, which does not contain spoilers.

Nowadays, most wars are fought in Government boardrooms or on nondescript computer screens, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, instead of on anything close to resembling a battlefield. That seems to be the case for the spy thriller Liaison as well.

The Apple Original series, starring Hollywood heartthrobs Vincent Cassel (Black Swan) and Eva Green (Casino Royale), focuses on escalating cyber-attacks in the UK while an interlinked, global espionage narrative takes place across Europe and the Middle East. This globe-trotting thriller has all the makings of another hit show for Apple TV+, yet it drastically falls short of its potential with questionable plotting and mediocre drama.

Liaison Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

The signs are there from the off, with an oddly jarring opening credits sequence that feels retro and trippy. Liaison is neither nostalgic nor hallucinatory, pitching your standard spy thriller plotting with very little mystery to entice viewers or any real emotional connections to keep audiences returning each week.

And with so much better content out there, why would you? In the series, London has been targeted by an unknown terrorist organization, who intensify their cyber-attacks with each fresh assault. Their first significant attack caused mass flooding in the country’s capital, and these destructive acts of terrorism only worsened as the series progressed.

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Private secretary Alison Rowdy (Eva Green) and French mercenary Gabriel Delage (Vincent Cassel) are at the heart of the saga. Alison is tasked with political diplomacy as the Brits try to organize a new cyber security deal with the European Commission. While at the same time, Gabriel is on the hunt for a USB key with crucial details of the terrorist’s final, explosive cyber-attack. The French and the Brits are after this vital piece of information, pursuing two genius Syrian hackers across Europe to save countless lives in the process.

Of course, these two main characters and major storylines quickly interconnect. Alison and Gabriel appear intrinsically linked to one another, with strong hints of an old romance between our two brooding leads. Alison has a new life now and is about to get married. In contrast, Gabriel is your stereotypical lone-wolf type, taking on new identities and elaborate disguises per the job’s requirements. A reunion between these two mysterious lovers brings up old wounds and new dilemmas, all against the backdrop of national upheaval.

Is Liaison Season 1 worth watching?

Unfortunately, Liaison is a total misfire from Apple. This big-budget British-French co-production takes far too long to warm up, wasting the earlier installments with ineffective drama and political nonsense, even shoehorning in the Brexit debate for some relevancy.

Liaison is a rather dull affair overall; the cyber-attacks never feel threatening, no one ever seems to be in danger, the main cast is hard to find relatable or engaging, while the mysterious backstory between Alison and Gabriel is uninspiring.

The dialogue also seems stilted throughout, with actors either overacting or delivering their lines in an odd, jarring fashion. The direction may be to blame for this mismatched tone, with Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2) at the helm, although there are some stunning drone shots on offer, and Vincent Cassel is his usual charming, effortless self. The French star is good in everything he appears and seems surprisingly wasted here. Even the charismatic Cassel cannot save this new, six-part series from forgettable mediocrity.

What did you think of the Apple TV+ series Liaison Season 1? Comment below.

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