If you love sitting on the edge of your seat and not having a clue who to trust, Netflix’s Bodyguard is for you.
The political thriller — which debuted on the BBC to British audiences back in August — stars Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden as a police officer and PTSD-suffering war veteran David Budd, who is assigned as a protection officer to the U.K.’s controversial Home Secretary Julia Montague (played by Line Of Duty’s Keeley Hawes) at a time when there’s a heightened threat of terrorism in the country.
Crammed with twists, turns and what-the-heck-is-even-happening moments, the show (created by Line of Duty‘s Jed Mercurio) is the precisely the kind of content you won’t be able to resist binging in one sitting — there are just six episodes, so it’s totally doable. Here are the five main reasons we love the series so much.
1. Richard Madden is perfectly cast — and hot — as David Budd
He’s proved his chops by suffering possibly the most traumatizing death on cable TV as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones, shown how suave he can be, pursuing slipper-less would-be-princesses in the live action retelling of Cinderella and let loose, rocking some drug-addled minds as superstar DJ Leo West in Netflix’s summer romp Ibiza, but Bodyguard is where Madden really gets to show his range and skill. From moments of sheer panic (bound to happen when you wake up with a bomb strapped to your chest!!), to tortured stares and stony silences, the Scottish actor hits every beat with nuance and vulnerability. If you don’t believe that he’s a superstar — well, first, watch the show and you totally will — maybe you will when he’s cast as the next James Bond. — Ruth Kinane
2. It’s already a monster hit in the U.K. — and the Brits have sophisticated taste, mostly
The country that brought us heavyweight drams such as Luther, Broadchurch, Sherlock and Downton Abbey has more than shown it knows how to deliver content and Bodyguard is no exception. The show captivated audiences weekly in late summer, drawing in more than 10 million television viewers in a week for its first episode, securing the largest audience for a new drama on U.K. TV since Downton Abbey. “The first episode was the biggest launch of a new drama in the U.K. for over a decade,” creator and writer Mercurio told EW. “And then as the series went on, it just started breaking record after record, and then by the end of the run with the last episode, it’s the most-watched drama episode since modern U.K. records began.” Thinking of tuning in yet? — RK
3. That 20-minute opening scene
Sometimes, when you start a new show, it takes you a minute to get into it the action and you wind up swiping through social media on your phone with one eye on the TV screen. NOT WITH THIS SHOW. As soon as we meet David Budd sitting on a train with his two kids who he is shepherding back to their mother’s home, he’s scanning his surroundings aware of some barely perceptible threat. Minutes later he’s trying to talk a terrorist suicide bomber out of detonating the bomb and killing all the train’s passengers — including his two young children. It’s about as tense as it comes and Madden’s face runs a gamut of emotions from a calm, conversational façade to high-pitched desperation. (Honestly, the moment where he loses cell phone service, an incident that could derail his attempts to stop the bomber, is probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever witnessed.) Interestingly, the bomb on the train scene was originally intended to be set on a subway. “It was actually set in the London underground originally, in a station in central London,” Madden told EW. “We had a problem with that location, so we lost it and ended up having to change the whole concept and make it on a moving train coming into London, rather than be on the underground. I think that was great actually, because I think it makes it much more accessible and much less about London and more about the whole of the U.K. — and that works to pull people in.” — RK
4. All the women in power positions
From the moment the first episode begins, we meet women in power — and they never stop coming. There are female cops, female bomb diffusers, female politicians, female heads of law enforcement. Who does creator Jed Mercurio think he is, a realist? Actually, yes. “I come from gender-balanced workplaces,” Mercurio told EW. “I started off working in medicine, and when I went through med school, it’s 50/50 men and women. And when I started working as a doctor, it’s 50/50 men and women. So I’ve always been very accustomed to women occupying pivotal roles in the professional environment. What I’m doing is trying to show what’s going on in the real world. In terms of high-powered roles in the U.K., the head of the Metropolitan Police is female. The head of the National Crime Agency is female. We all know the prime minister is female. For most of the time when I was writing the script, the home secretary was female. There are great female role models out there, and I just feel very proud to be able to represent them in my work.” — Lynette Rice
5. It seems to have perfectly ZERO interest in going into a season 2. For now.
Bodyguard was designed to be in and out after six episodes. It’s very American to want to go on for many more seasons, but Mercurio and the BBC seem uninterested in carrying on the story [for now]. “One of the benefits of working for the BBC is that they’re very open to different formats,” he said. “So with a drama season, we can do anything from four episodes to eight, as a standard first run. And six is kind of that sweet spot they like.” — LR
Bodyguard is streaming on Netflix now.