I'm still amazed by the quality of tv shows that Apple TV+ manages to churn out. They may not be dropping them at the speed of their competitors but Slow Horses is just another example of an incredible series that will grip you from the second it starts.
Slow Horses opens with an MI5 operation at a UK airport. River Cartwright (Jack Lowden) is the agent in charge and needs to locate a potential terrorist who plans to set off a bomb.
When things don't go to plan, Cartwright is relegated to Slough House. Based in London, this is a dumping ground department for members of the intelligence service who've screwed up.
It's a small team of agents who've all made stupid mistakes and paid the price. Left a service file on a train, blown a surveillance, or become drunkenly unreliable? Then it's off to Slough House.
Nicknamed the the Slow Horses, the team is run by Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman) who assigns the most menial tasks to his crew of misfits.
Everything about the job is grim. The building is awful, the job is awful and the boss is awful but that all changes when a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to behead him live on the Internet.
Beginning with surveillance on a right-wing has been journalist, Cartwright believes that he holds the key to finding the victim and the abductors. Seeing an opportunity to redeem himself, if he can figure it all out he might just make it back to MI5.
As the clock ticks on the execution, everything starts to go wrong and led by Jackson Lamb, the team make the shocking discovery that they are not just the poor relatives, but the fall guys for an operation gone badly wrong where everyone involved has their own agenda.
Will the Slow Horses attempt to rescue Hassan Ahmed or will they save their skin and get out of dodge?
Is Slow Horses, Worth Watching?
Without a shadow of a doubt, Slow Horses is one of the best drama's currently streaming.
Based on the 2010 novel of the same name by Mick Herron, this is a spy thriller series with a difference.
Instead of the usual slick, fast action agents that we normally see, what we get with Slow Horses is the polar opposite. Agents who have made career ending mistakes, with little recognised skill and beaten down by years of having had to work with Lamb.
Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) as Jackson Lamb is simply genius. A former spy, his outward disgusting mannerisms just about conceal the fact that he not only is he still on top of his game but that he actually cares about the rest of his team.
He is matched in star power by Kristin Scott-Thomas as Diana Taverner the Deputy Director-General of MI5. Their scenes together are effortless and as the show slowly peels back the layers, it's their battle with each other that becomes the most engaging.
This isn't all action, it's a wonderfully created slow burn television series that reels you in with each episode leaving you desperate to figure out how the whole show will unfold.
How Many Episodes Of Slow Horses, Apple TV?
This is where things start to get interesting. Slow Horses was given a straight to series order by Apple TV+ in October 2019 consisting of two sets of six episodes.
Whether this means two six-episode seasons, or one season in two parts, we don't quite know. The first six episodes are based on Mick Herron's first book, Slow Horses
The following six episodes are based on the based on the sequel and follow-up novel, Dead Lions.
So we won't be getting all 12 episodes in one go. In fact, the second season is still in production with no announcement from Apple TV+ about when it will drop on the streaming service.
Cast Of Slow Horses
Creating a show like Slow Horses is no easy task. Not only do you have to have a script and level of production to rival a movie, but you have to have the best in the business so step into the shoes of British Intelligence Agents to make it all believable.
Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb, the head of Slough House. Slovenly and drunk most of the time, his bad habits conceal his abilities as an experienced intelligence officer.
Jack Lowden as River Cartwright, an up-and-coming MI5 agent who was demoted after a very public training exercise mistake.
Kristin Scott Thomas as Diana Taverner, the Deputy Director-General of MI5 and head of operations codenamed “Second Desk”.
Saskia Reeves as Catherine Standish, the office administrator and a recovering alcoholic.
Olivia Cooke as Sidonie “Sid” Baker, a competent MI5 agent inexplicably assigned to SH.
Dustin Demri-Burns as Min Harper, assigned SH after leaving a top secret disk on the train.
Rosalind Eleazar as Louisa Guy, assigned to SH after an operation went badly.
Paul Higgins as Struan Loy, assigned to SH after sending an inappropriate work email.
Christopher Chung as Roddy Ho, a computer expert and former hacker assigned to SH.
Steven Waddington as Jed Moody, an ex-member of The Dogs, a MI5 internal affairs unit.
Jonathan Pryce as David Cartwright, River Cartwright's grandfather and a retired MI5 officer.
Antonio Aakeel as Hassan Ahmed, a British-Asian student kidnapped by the far-right.
Chris Reilly as Nick Duffy, head of MI5's internal affairs and tactical unit nicknamed “The Dogs”.
Paul Hilton as Robert Hobden, a right-wing journalist.
Slough House Book Series In Order
Written by Mick Herron, Slow Horses, begins a spy series featuring MI5 agents who have been exiled from the mainstream for various offences and sent to a dumping ground department to serve out the rest of their time.
The second volume in this series, Dead Lions, was published in 2013, for which Herron won the Crime Writers' Association 2013 Gold Dagger award.
Slow Horses (2010)
Dead Lions (2013)
The List (2015 novella)
Real Tigers (2016)
Spook Street (2017)
London Rules (2018)
The Drop (US title: “The Marylebone Drop“) (2018 novella)
Joe Country (2019)
The Catch (2020 novella)
Slough House (2021)
Bad Actors (2022)