Channel 4’s stylish new spy thriller Traitors takes us into the corridors of power in 1945 as the Second World War comes to an end and the Cold War starts to grow in its place. A young woman is recruited to spy on her own government – but whose agenda is she really serving?
Starring Keeley Hawes, Emma Appleton and Luke Treadaway, the six-part drama airs on Sunday nights at 9pm on Channel 4, and will later go out internationally on Netflix.
Here are all the characters you need to meet – and where you’ve seen the actors before…
Emma Appleton plays Feef Symonds
Who is Feef Symonds? Fiona “Feef” Symonds is a young, ambitious, upper-class woman training to become a British secret agent in 1945. It is a great disappointment to her when the war comes to an end and cuts short her career before it has even begun. Instead, Feef takes a job in the civil service and moves to London – but her lover Peter, an American agent, insists he needs her help in rooting out Soviet operatives at the heart of the British establishment.
What else has Emma Appleton been in? The young actress is a relative newcomer to our screens, having made quite an impression as Fay Brookstone in the TV series Clique. She has also made brief appearances in Grantchester, The End of the F***ing World, and Genius.
Keeley Hawes plays Priscilla Garrick
Who is Priscilla Garrick? A senior civil servant at the Cabinet Office. She has worked hard to be taken seriously, and isn’t afraid of sticking her neck out – especially when it comes to promoting women’s rights in the workplace.
What else has Keeley Hawes been in? Keeley Hawes has been all over our TV screens for the last few years – and that’s not a complaint. She played Home Secretary Julia Montague in Bodyguard, Dorothy Wick in Mrs Wilson, DI Lindsay Denton in Line of Duty, and Gemma Webster in The Missing. The actress will soon return to her star role in The Durrells, and is set to appear in two new series: Summer of Rockets and Year of the Rabbit.
Michael Stuhlbarg plays Rowe
Who is Rowe? American agent Rowe sees Feef’s potential as a spy within the corridors of power. The Cold War is only in its infancy, but Rowe is furiously anti-Soviet and anti-socialist and is convinced that the newly-elected Labour government is a sign of Russian influence. He believes the UK is so weakened by the war that it is incapable of grasping the Soviet threat.
What else has Michael Stuhlbarg been in? The actor has been in a string of award-winning movies, including Call Me by Your Name (as Elio’s father Professor Perlman), The Shape of Water (as Dr Robert Hoffstetler) and The Post (as New York Times Executive Editor Abe Rosenthal). His TV credits include Fargo, The Looming Tower, and Boardwalk Empire – where he played Arnold Rothstein.
Luke Treadaway plays Hugh Fenton
Who is Hugh Fenton? A socialist, and a newly-elected Labour MP. He is drawn to Feef, even though he despises her Tory politics and shares none of her privileged background.
What else has Luke Treadaway been in? Having won an Olivier Award for his star performance in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time in 2013, Luke Treadaway has spent the last few years building up an impressive acting CV including the role of Vincent Rattrey in Fortitude, Dr Arthur Calgary in Ordeal by Innocence, and James in A Street Cat Named Bob.
Greg McHugh plays David Hennessey
Who is David Hennessey? A senior civil servant in the Housing Office, who tries to take Feef under his wing. He is utterly passionate about his job, and has a certain enthusiasm for socialist principles.
What else has Greg McHugh been in? You may have seen him in Fresh Meat, where he played dressing robe-wearing socially awkward oddball Howard. More recently, he has starred as Eddie Scott in autism drama The A Word, and Hamish Osborne in A Discovery of Witches.
Edward Bluemel plays Barrie Clifton
Who is Barrie Clifton? Hugh Fenton’s friend, and a fellow socialist.
What else has Edward Bluemel been in? The actor first hit our screens as Toby Hamilton in World War Two hotel drama The Halcyon. Since then, he has starred as Marcus Whitmore in A Discovery of Witches, and played Sean Whiley in a Sex Education. He has been cast as “Hugo” in Killing Eve series two.
Brandon P Bell plays Jackson Cole
Who is Jackson Cole? An African American soldier stationed in the UK, where he serves as a chauffeur for American agents. He is deeply disillusioned and disenchanted.
What else has Brandon P Bell been in? The actor recently starred in the TV series Dear White People, playing Troy Fairbanks. Previous credits include Insecure, Ascension, and Switched at Birth.
Richard Goulding plays Jerry Rouxborough
Who is Jerry Rouxborough? One of Feef’s colleagues at the Cabinet Office. He immediately introduces herself by groping her bum.
What else has Richard Goulding been in? You’re more likely to recognise him as Prince Harry from The Windsors, and from the TV movie King Charles III. He has also played Boris Johnson in Benedict Cumberbatch drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, Tomothy in Fresh Meat, and Edgar Morton in Ripper Street.
Mat Fraser plays Andrew
Who is Andrew? A civil servant at the Cabinet Office. Like Priscilla Garrick and David Hennessey, he belongs to the Gilbert & Sullivan Society.
What else has Mat Fraser been in? The actor, who has thalidomide-induced Phocomelia, is a rock musician, writer and performance artist as well as an actor. His screen roles include Roger in Loudermilk, Paul the Illustrated Seal in American Horror Story, Will in Cast Offs, Sam in Kiri, and an upcoming role in His Dark Materials as Raymond Van Geritt.
Cara Horgan plays Rae Savitt
Who is Rae Savitt? A typist at the Cabinet Office.
What else has Cara Horgan been in? The actress has made appearances in The Death of Stalin, Disobedience, Midsomer Murders, Jane Eyre, and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
Matt Lauria plays Peter McCormick
Who is Peter McCormick? Feef’s American lover. Back home he’s a family man with a wife and kids, but in the UK he is enjoying the life of a bachelor.
What else has Matt Lauria been in? The American actor is known for his roles in Parenthood (as Ryan York) and Kingdom (as Ryan Wheeler), as well as in Friday Night Lights (as Luke Cafferty).
Jamie Blackley plays Freddie Symonds
Who is Freddie Symonds? Feef’s brother. The Symonds family is deeply dysfunctional, and Freddie – who everyone suspects is “a homosexual” – has been persuaded into marrying a woman for her money so his parents can fund their crumbling country mansion. He resents his sister Feef for defying their parents’ expectations and going her own way.
What else has Jamie Blackley been in? This isn’t the time he’s played a character called Freddie; Jamie Blackley previously starred in ITV series The Halcyon as Freddie Hamilton, alongside his Traitors co-star Edward Bluemel. He played Adam in the movie If I Stay, Tom in Kids in Love, and Caspar De Brunose in Slaughterhouse Rulez.
Phoebe Nicholls plays Frippy Symonds
Who is Frippy Symonds? Feef’s mother. She is a miserable, upper-class alcoholic.
What else has Phoebe Nicholls been in? She is perhaps best known for her role as Cordelia Flyte in Brideshead Revisited, or for playing John Merrick’s mother in The Elephant Man. Aside from her stage work, other acting credits include Doctor Thorne, Fortitude, and Downton Abbey.
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