The Worricker Trilogy

Salting the Battlefield

Series 1 - Episode 3 Salting the Battlefield



David Hare concludes his trilogy of films about MI5 renegade Johnny Worricker with another meandering fugue on power, secrets and the British establishment.

Once again, Hare has gathered an amazing cast, including Ralph Fiennes as the vulpine PM and the always wonderful Olivia Williams as an upper-class newspaper editor drawn into Johnny’s plan to expose him.

The scenes where Johnny courts her at her country pile are classic Hare – verbal jousting in elegant interiors; the spy and the journalist probing each other. And much of the story is seductively watchable, like a Le Carré drama crossed with Lewis. But there’s a languid lack of suspense, as if enjoying this cast swap sage one-liners were enough.

Keep the faith, though, because in the last act, the pace quickens and by the end we’re sad to see the last of Bill Nighy’s super-smooth Johnny. Then again, if he ever does return, maybe he could be given a love interest somewhere near his own age for once?


Johnny Worricker goes on the run with Margot Tyrell across Europe, and with the net closing in, the former MI5 man knows his only chance of resolving his problems is to return home and confront prime minister Alec Beasley. Concluding instalment of David Hare's spy trilogy, starring Bill Nighy, Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.