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What I’m Watching: State of Play

David Morriseey and John Simm in the BBC serial drama State of Play.

I just finished watching the 2003 BBC miniseries State of Play and it's fantastic! It's sort of like All the President's Men and The Wire (Season 3 & 5) with a sex scandal thrown in. The story surrounds a team of journalists investigating the death of a political researcher who was having an affair with the prominant Labour MP who was also her employer. It's a brainy thriller, with the tension building around the journalistic investigation, minus the car chases and shootouts you often get with American thrillers. The writing is sharp and the plot a complicated series of revelations and twisty turns. Also, not one performance in this large cast falls flat. Bill Nighy plays the team's fearless editor, mixing his characteristic wry humor with a commanding editorial presence. John Simm plays lead journalist Cal McAffrey with just the right combo of confidence and vulnerability. The cast also includes David Morrissey, James McAvoy ( Atonement ), and Polly Walker. You have to rent State of Play or get it from Netflix. Hollywood is releasing a film version this year , directed by Kevin MacDonald ( Last King of Scotland ) and starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn and Jason Bateman. & It's hard to imagine Hollywood preserving the integrity of this intelligent 6-part series when right off the bat they have to boil down the narrative to two hours. & Don't risk it - see the BBC series first. & You'll be hooked.

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