Bodyguard on Netflix: Everything you need to know about the hit BBC TV series
The 2018 political thriller starring Keeley Hawes and Richard Madden has been a huge success in the UK – but will viewers in the US and abroad be convinced?
The six-part political thriller tells the story of Principal Protection Officer David Budd (played by Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden), who is assigned to protect controversial British home secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes).
The very first episode throws viewers into a nail-biting stand-off featuring former military man Budd and a potential suicide bomber.
From there the tension barely lets up, as the series pushes personal relationships to breaking point against a backdrop of rising terror threats.
The show aired weekly on BBC1 in the UK, but is now available to binge on Netflix in the USA and internationally.
Read on to find out more about Bodyguard, including exclusive interviews and full episode-by-episode recaps, as well as what the future holds for season two...
- "Freaking good" – US viewers and critics react to Bodyguard on Netflix
- How accurate is Bodyguard? How Jed Mercurio created a terrorism and politics thriller with "heightened reality"
Should I watch Bodyguard on Netflix?
David Budd is a British police officer and Army veteran who is assigned to protect Home Secretary Julia Montague.
In UK politics, the home secretary is responsible for all internal (as opposed to foreign) affairs, including immigration, policing, national security and counter-terrorism. It is one of the most important roles in UK government.
When it comes to Bodyguard, the job becomes even more relevant, as much of the action revolves around perceived terrorist threats, public safety and possible corruption in the police and secret services.
The series also contains a number of cameos from real-life British news anchors and reporters, including headline political interviewer Andrew Marr.
At first the story seems to be about whether bodyguard Budd can put aside his personal antipathies and fulfil his professional duty to protect Montague.
“There is an apparatus set up to protect politicians,” series creator Jed Mercurio tells Radio Times, “but those within that apparatus will have their own political views. I’ve got mates who are police officers and mates who are in the military and they often have a very different view to the policy they’re asked to carry out.”
However, that's just the tip of the iceberg in a series full of major twists and turns.
If you're coming to the series fresh however, be warned: there will be lots of spoilers online following the series' airing in the UK. And given writer Mercurio's tendency to kill off major characters in his dramas, be careful what you click on.
From here on in, we'll link to episode recaps that contains spoilers.
Bodyguard season 1 episode summaries and reviews
- Bodyguard opening episodes sparks online debate about female job roles – and train times
- Bodyguard's Home Secretary Keeley Hawes reveals how she learned to face down the real Andrew Marr
- 8 questions we have after that explosive episode of Bodyguard
- Bodyguard creator Jed Mercurio "thought long and hard" about revealing contents of THAT briefcase
- Bodyguard episode four produces another stunning plot twist
- 7 questions we have after Bodyguard episode four
- Bodyguard creator Jed Mercurio: there's no such thing as a "can't-die" character
- 9 critical questions we have after Bodyguard episode 5
- Who is Chanel in Bodyguard – and why has she returned now?
- Bodyguard series finale – live recap and reaction
- Bodyguard's action-packed series finale – explained
- Bodyguard episode 6 review: was the season 1 finale just too absurd?
The ending of Bodyguard leaves open the possibility of Richard Madden's David Budd returning for a second run, although as of yet nothing is set in stone.
Creator Mercurio however has been keen on the idea of a second series of Bodyguard since the very beginning. Speaking on set, the showrunner said, "I really do love doing returning series, so if this is successful, and people stick with it, then it would be great to do more."
He later told Radio Times that he would be ready to do more if the BBC offered him the opportunity.
"You have to wait until the end because anything can happen," he said. "Some shows do nosedive at the end, or some piece of content could become incredibly controversial and affect the way the show is seen. In the end, you have to accept that the broadcaster holds all the cards."
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The ending of season one sees Budd finally agreeing to go to therapy for his PTSD, taking the first step towards recovery.
Although it's possible that a second season could introduce an entirely new bodyguard as the main character, at the moment it looks like Mercurio is hoping to get Budd back – and perhaps give him a new "principal" to protect.
"He's the genuine article, a real leading man. And I think this role has put him very much in the spotlight for bigger things," the screenwriter told Radio Times. "So the practicality may be that we have to work round his availability, if we are lucky enough to get him back."
However, Budd is just one thread in the story of a political scandal that has far wider implications – so perhaps the series will follow that trail of corruption further?
We will update this page as soon as we know more.