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The Little Drummer Girl (miniseries)

The Little Drummer Girl is a British-American television series based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré and first aired on BBC One in the United Kingdom on 28 October 2018 and in the United States during November 2018.[1]

The Little Drummer Girl
Series title with an image of a suitcase in a doorway
GenreDrama
Espionage
Based onThe Little Drummer Girl
by John le Carré
Directed byPark Chan-wook
Starring
Music byJo Yeong-wook
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Stephen Cornwell
  • Simon Cornwell
  • Joseph Tsai
  • Park Chan-wook
  • Michael Lesslie
  • John le Carré
  • Arthur Wang
  • Wonjo Jeong
Producer(s)Laura Hastings-Smith
Production location(s)
  • London
  • Athens
  • Prague
CinematographyKim Woo-hyung
Editor(s)Lucia Zucchetti
Production company(s)
Release
Original network
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatStereo
Original release28 October (2018-10-28) –
2 December 2018 (2018-12-02)

Contents

CastEdit

  • Michael Shannon,[2] as Martin Kurtz[3] an Israeli spymaster working in a clandestine agency.[4]
  • Alexander Skarsgård,[5] as Gadi Becker[3] a mysterious man whom Charlie encounters on holiday in Greece and becomes her holiday fling. He is then revealed as an Israeli intelligence officer.[4]
  • Florence Pugh,[6] as Charmian "Charlie" Ross[7] a radical left-wing English actress in her early 20s who in 1979 is sucked into a story of espionage.[4]
  • Michael Moshonov as Shimon Litvak, a key Israeli member of Kurtz's team.[4]
  • Simona Brown as Rachel, a charismatic young operative working in Kurtz's team.[8]
  • Clare Holman as Miss Bach, an Englishwoman who is a key member of Kurtz's Munich team.[4]
  • Daniel Litman as Daniel, an operative working in Kurtz's team.
  • Kate Sumpter as Rose.
  • Gennady Fleyscher as Schwilli.
  • Alessandro Piavani as Rossino, an Italian terrorist.
  • Amir Khoury as Michel, a Palestinian revolutionary and Khalil's youngest brother.[4]
  • Charles Dance as Commander Picton.
  • Alexander Beyer as Dr. Paul Alexis
  • Lubna Azabal as Fatmeh, sister of Khalil and Michel. [4]
  • Max Irons as Al, Charlie's on and off boyfriend, a self-righteously political and big headed actor.[4]
  • Katharina Schüttler as Helga, a radical revolutionary who helps Michel recruit disillusioned European women into his network.[9]
  • Bethany Muir as Sophie.
  • Charif Ghattas as Khalil Al Khadar
  • Iben Akerlie as Anna Witgen.

EpisodesEdit

No.TitleDirected by [10]Written byOriginal air date [11]US airdate [12]U.K. viewers
(millions)
U.S. viewers
(millions)
1"Episode 1"Park Chan-wookMichael Lesslie28 October 2018 (2018-10-28)19 November 20188.17[13]0.40[14]
In Germany, the Palestinian terrorist Michel and his Swedish accomplice and girlfriend Anna Witgen kill the eight year old son of an Israeli diplomat with a pipe bomb. Senior Mossad spy Martin Kurtz is dispatched to Europe to hunt down and eliminate the Palestinian terror cell, which is led by Michel's wily older brother Khalil. Under Kurtz's orders, a Mossad team including Rachel kidnap Michel on the Greek-Turkish border while he is smuggling semtex in his red Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9. Meanwhile, left-wing English stage actress Charmian "Charlie" Ross and her troupe tour Greece as part of a corporate "charity job." While Charlie and her fellow actors are visiting a beach, she takes an interest in a mysterious handsome gentleman, who is actually an undercover Mossad agent called Gadi Becker. After treating Charlie for a date at the Parthenon, Gadi introduces Charlie to his Mossad team including Martin.
2"Episode 2"Park Chan-wookMichael Lesslie4 November 2018 (2018-11-04)19 November 20185.82[13]0.40[14]
In Athens, Martin subjects Charlie to an "audition", asking her questions about her past. When Charlie lies about her family background, Martin decides that they can use her acting talents to infiltrate and eliminate Khalil's terror network. Meanwhile, the captive Michel is held at a Mossad safehouse in Munich where he is tricked by his Mossad captors led by Martin's lieutenant Shimon into believing he is in an Israeli prison. Using a combination of drugs and psychological pressure including a faked letter from Michel's sister Fatmeh and a faked photo of a captive Khalil, Shimon's team discover that Michel was supposed to deliver the semtex shipment to Salzburg in Austria. Back in Greece, Gadi coaches Charlie into posing as one of Michel's girlfriends. As part of the training, Gadi role-plays as Michel. Charlie exacts a promise from Gadi to tell her more about himself in return for her work as a spy.
3"Episode 3"Park Chan-wookClaire Wilson[15]11 November 2018 (2018-11-11)20 November 2018N/A0.23[16]
As part of her rookie mission, Charlie is tasked with smuggling the semtex inside Michel's red Mercedes through Yugoslavia and into Austria. Gadi and the rest of the team monitor Charlie's movements from a safe distance. Meanwhile, Shimon's Munich team discovers that Michel has lied about the drop-off point. Shimon breaks Michel by revealing that his imprisonment was a set-up and secures the true drop-off zone: an Austrian town called Gutigplatz. After being informed by Gadi about the change in destination, Charlie arrives in Gutigplatz where she parks the car in the town square. Michel's girlfriend Anna drives the vehicle but is intercepted and captured by Mossad agents. Arriving at the Munich safe house, Charlie is horrified by the treatment of the drugged-up Michel. Nevertheless, she continues with the mission and writes fake love letters to Michel to perpetuate the ruse that she is one of his many lovers. After a one-night stand with Gadi, Charlie returns to London to await contact with Khalil's local associates. Back in Munich, the Mossad team eliminate Michel and Anna in a staged motor accident.
4"Episode 4"Park Chan-wookMichael Lesslie18 November 2018 (2018-11-18)20 November 2018N/A0.23[16]
Back in London, Charlie continues her spy training under the tutelage of Gadi, who outfits her with a transmitter. Charlie is eventually contacted by Michel's associates including Anton and Helga. While meeting with them in a caravan, she first learns of the deaths of Michel and Anna. Her grief-stricken reaction to Michel's death convinces Anton and Helga that she was in love with Michel and is also sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. While initially angry about Michel's killing, Charlie and Gadi develop romantic feelings. Later, Helga and her associates kidnap Charlie and smuggle her to Lebanon where she meets Michel's sister Fatmeh. Charlie manages to convince Fatmeh that she was romantically involved with her brother. While Martin is pleased with the progress of the mission, Becker is concerned about Charlie's well-being due to his feelings for her.
5"Episode 5"Park Chan-wookClaire Wilson25 November 2018 (2018-11-25)21 November 2018N/A0.30[17]
In Lebanon, Charlie undergoes training at a Palestinian militant camp. A disillusioned American trainee named Arthur Allen accuses her of spying but she turns the tables on him, resulting in his execution. After an Israeli journalist in Lyons is assassinated, the Israeli Air Force bombs the Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Back in London, Martin’s Mossad team discover that Khalil and his team are planning to assassinate a visiting liberal Israeli academic Professor Irene Minkel who is visiting London Polytechnic. Having gained the militants’ trust, Charlie is given the mission of assassinating Minkel. Returning to London, Charlie passes the suitcase carrying the bomb to the Mossad team only to discover that it is a decoy. Later, Charlie is taken to meet Khalil, the cell’s mastermind.
6"Episode 6"Park Chan-wookMichael Lesslie2 December 2018 (2018-12-02)21 November 2018N/A0.30[17]
Charlie ingratiates herself with Khalil, gaining his trust. She delivers the suitcase bomb to her Mossad handlers who are working with British police led by Commander Picton. The Israeli and British police services stage a fake explosion and spread disinformation that Professor Minkel was killed. Under orders from her Mossad handlers, Charlie returns to Khalil, claiming the mission was a success. The two make love and share a bed. The following day, Khalil is killed by Gadi. While her Israeli handlers are pleased, Charlie is distraught due to her feelings for Khalil. Mossad operatives hunt down and kill Khalil’s associates. Though still uncomfortable about the killings, Charlie meets up with her lover Gadi in Germany.

ReceptionEdit

The series holds an approval rating of 94% based on 66 critics, and an average score of 7.76/10 on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics' consensus reads "The Little Drummer Girl marches to a steady beat of assured plotting, extraordinary art direction, and a uniformly terrific cast that makes the show's smolderingly slow burn pace bearable."[18] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100 based on 18 reviews, signifying "generally favorable reviews".[19]

Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair praised Florence Pugh's acting but criticized elements of the story.[20] Alan Sepinwell of Rolling Stone awarded The Little Drummer Girl 3.5 out of five stars, praising the acting and lush presentation but criticizing what he regarded as the show's convoluted story. He observed that the film followed the same formula of the critically acclaimed The Night Manager television series, an adaptation of another one of Le Carré's novels.[21] Judy Berman, reviewing for TIME, praised the TV series for its suspense, exploring moral dilemmas and the legacy of British foreign policy in the Middle East, and for having nuanced characters on both sides.[22]

Troy Patterson of The New Yorker described the series as a "subtly nutty geopolitical thriller distilled to an exercise in psychological suspense". He also praised Florence Pugh, Alexander Skarsgård, and Michael Shannon's performances as the main protagonists Charlie Ross, Gadi Becker, and Martin Kurtz.[23] Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture described the series as "a lavishly produced, intelligent, tasteful mixed bag, more interesting to think about than to watch."[24] Jesse Schedeen of IGN awarded the series 8.2 our of 10, praising Pugh's "mesmerizing" performance and Park Chan-Wook's strong directorial vision for overcoming its storytelling flaws.[25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Petski, Denise (21 August 2018). "John le Carré's 'The Little Drummer Girl' Miniseries Gets November Premiere Date on AMC".
  2. ^ White, Peter (25 January 2018). "Michael Shannon To Star In 'The Little Drummer Girl' Miniseries For BBC/AMC".
  3. ^ a b "BBC – Production commences on The Little Drummer Girl – Media Centre". BBC.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Meet the cast of The Little Drummer Girl". Radio Times.
  5. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (21 November 2017). "Alexander Skarsgard Joins 'The Little Drummer Girl' Opposite Florence Pugh".
  6. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (9 November 2017). "'The Night Manager' Team Reunites For 'The Little Drummer Girl'; Florence Pugh To Star, Park Chan-Wook Directing – Update".
  7. ^ "When is The Little Drummer Girl on TV?". Radio Times.
  8. ^ "Rachel". AMC.
  9. ^ "Helga". AMC.
  10. ^ "The Little Drummer Girl: Why Park Chan-wook is a strange yet perfect fit for the BBC's new John Le Carré thriller". Independent. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  11. ^ "The Little Drummer Girl – Episodes Guide and Summaries". Next Episode. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  12. ^ "The Little Drummer Girl – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Four-screen dashboard – BARB". barb.co.uk.
  14. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (20 November 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.19.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  15. ^ "BBC One – The Little Drummer Girl, Series 1, Episode 3". BBC.
  16. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (21 November 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.20.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  17. ^ a b Metcalf, Mitch (26 November 2018). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Wednesday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 11.21.2018". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  18. ^ "The Little Drummer Girl: Miniseries – Rotten Tomatoes".
  19. ^ https://www.metacritic.com/tv/the-little-drummer-girl
  20. ^ "Florence Pugh Proves Herself a Star in The Little Drummer Girl". Vanity Fair. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  21. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (16 November 2018). "'The Little Drummer Girl' Review: Ignore the Plot, Admire the Beauty of Le Carré Thriller". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  22. ^ Berman, Judy (14 November 2018). "Little Drummer Girl Is a Brisk Spy Thriller That's Worth Your Time". TIME. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  23. ^ Patterson, Troy (16 November 2018). ""The Little Drummer Girl," Reviewed: A Fever Dream of Glamorous Espionage". The New Yorker. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  24. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller. "The Little Drummer Girl Is Dazzling, But Bloodless". Vulture. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  25. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (22 November 2018). "AMC's The Little Drummer Girl Review". IGN. Retrieved 22 January 2019.

External linksEdit