Slow Horses and the error-prone MI5 agents dumped at Slough House under the leadership of Jackson Lamb returns triumphant for a second series as Russian sleeper agents (code name Cicadas) are activated in the quiet of the English Cotswolds.
As agents Min Harper (Dustin Demri-Burns) and Louisa Guy (Rosalind Eleazar) are assigned to a seemingly run-of-the-mill security detail in central London involving Russian industrialists, River Cartwright (Jack Lowden) finds himself under cover in a picturesque, archetypal English village posing as a journalist. All seems polite and relatively low key until Lamb (Gary Oldman) connects the dots and recognises old pre-Berlin Wall emnities between old school UK and Russian agents.
But it being Slow Horses, nothing is as it initially seems and the old suspicions between Lamb and MI5 Deputy Head, Diana Taverner (Kristin Scott Thomas) are ever present – with the latter as always plotting to improve her position and power base within the organisation. Even if that means kowtowing to the odious Home Secretary, Peter Judd (Samuel West), who has his own political aspirations.
As with the first season, past events impact on the current with the experience of old hands such as Lamb and River’s grandfather, David Cartwright (Jonathan Pryce), crucial to the understanding of the modern day narratives. Catherine Standish (Saskia Reeves) also takes a more central role in the unravelling of Cicadas outside of her long-suffering office support to Lamb.
Whilst more intriguing than the kidnapping in season one, season 2 admittedly has a level of inevitable predictability to it as the investigation itself follows a more ‘traditional’ spy storyline. These plot lines may be more dominant in this season, but what sets Slow Horse apart is the slovenly Lamb and his relationship with and to his superiors (namely Taverner) along with the dynamics between colleagues in Slough House itself.