Character-led smart espionage drama which places a much higher premium on tension than on special effects is a well-established niche, even if, especially when it comes to films, directors often fall prey to the temptation of reaching for another round of CGI special effects rather than another round of script editing.
So in one respect, the TV series The Bureau is just another entry in a small but thriving tradition of more intelligent intelligence shows. But in another respect, it’s refreshingly different for it’s not American, British nor even Scandinavian. Instead, it’s a highly praised French drama, and one which comes therefore with a welcome variety in the backdrops.
Not only is the spy HQ in France, but much of the overseas drama happens in West Africa, a place of plenty of real world tension and terror yet rather under-represented in fictional accounts.
The nuances of French-Algerian history with the mix of rivalry and cooperation between the sometime allies and sometime opponents provide a lively backdrop to the dilemmas between prioritising saving individual lives here and now and a more nebulous longer-term possible greater good. Successes come with costs as this more nuanced than usual drama shows.
Here is the trailer:
If you like this, you might also be interested in The Game.
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