Slow Horses (S1 & S2) Series: Thrilling British Spy World Tales

Home » Series Review » Slow Horses (S1 & S2) Series: Thrilling British Spy World Tales

Slow Horses series narrates the thrilling British Spy world tales. It focuses on the so-called failed spies of the British espionage agency MI5, as these losers try to redeem themselves.

This British spy drama is based on the Slough House series of novels by the writer Mick Herron. The Slough House is a dumping ground for British intelligence agents who have screwed up a case in any number of ways. The “slow horses,” as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here.”

Synopsis of the Slow Horses (S1 & S2/2022) Series

This series follows a team of British intelligence agents who serve in a dumping ground department of MI5 – Slough House. The quick-witted spy drama follows a dysfunctional team of MI5 agents – and their obnoxious boss, the notorious Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman) – as they navigate the espionage world’s smoke and mirrors to defend England from sinister forces.

Spoilers Free review of the Slow Horses (S1 & S2/2022) Series

The introduction

This espionage series boasts a lot of mystery and spycraft. In addition, it has a fast-paced twisted storyline. And most of its key characters are well watched out. But, we do not wish to share any details inadvertently, which acts as a spoiler and reveals its plot. However, we can categorically state that we loved every bit of those two mysterious forays into this spy series, so far.

What is the basic story of the first season?

It is based on the Slow Horses book (Slough House #1) by Mick Herron.

So, in season one, the River Cartwright (Jack Lowden), one of the “slow horses” is bitter about his failure and about his tedious assignment transcribing cell phone conversations. But, when a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. But is the victim who he first appears to be? And what’s the kidnappers’ connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone has his agenda.

“The Bond-esque River Cartwright (Jack Lowden) and his group of defunct MI5 spies, headed by the irascible Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman), will do anything to get back into the (spy) game.”

Mick Herron | GoodReads

And what is the basic story of the second season?

It is based on the Dead Lions book (Slough House #2) by Mick Herron.

So, in season two, the disgruntled agents of Slough House are called into action. This house is the MI5 branch. Here washed-up spies are sent to finish their failed careers on desk duty. So, they are asked to protect a visiting Russian oligarch whom MI5 hopes to recruit to British intelligence. While two agents are dispatched on that babysitting job, though, an old Cold War-era spy named Dickie Bow is found dead, ostensibly of a heart attack, on a bus outside of Oxford, far from his usual haunts.

But the head of Slough House, the irascible Jackson Lamb, is convinced Dickie Bow was murdered. As the agents dig into their fallen comrade’s circumstances, they uncover a shadowy tangle of ancient Cold War secrets that seem to lead back to a man named Alexander Popov, who is either a Soviet bogeyman or the most dangerous man in the world. How many more people will have to die to keep those secrets buried?

Great collection of the ensemble cast in it

Most of the senior professional actors in this spy show have won awards (or nominations) for their acting performances in their illustrative careers. Therefore, we have the veteran actor Gary Oldman playing the protagonist Jackson Lamb. This old spymaster Lamb is an intelligent but irascible leader of the spies who end up in Slough House due to their career-ending mistakes. He leads the pack of talented cast members, such as Kristin Scott Thomas, Jonathan Pryce, Jack Lowden, and Olivia Cooke. No doubt, all of them have done a fabulous job in this spy thriller.

The conclusion

Of course, with its tight script and great ensemble cast, we get a winner in the form of this highly entertaining spy thriller. We believe that it got even better in its second season. It is a captivating spy drama when the old spy world minds like experienced Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman) operate with the active assistance of the tech-savvy new-age younger spies.

Assuming that you have a taste for typical British Humour, then do watch it and enjoy its jokes wrapped around the mysterious spy thriller spread across its two seasons.

It is a real old-school charm of spy-craft. And sometimes it seems that the slow horses win the race to emerge as the winner. You might enjoy it, as this spy series is about the Brain over Brawn drama. So far, two series of this series have been released. Hence, we have undertaken exhilarating trips into the thrilling Old-School British spy world, twice.

And we loved both the seasons.

Ratings of the Slow Horses (S1 & S2/2022) Series

Season 1Season 2
FM’s rating4.10/54.20/5
Rotten Tomatoes ratings as of the date95% Tomatometer
& 91% Audience Score
100% Tomatometer
& 95% Audience Score
Critics Consensus / Rotten TomatoesThis show refreshes the espionage genre by letting its band of snoops be bumbling, with Gary Oldman giving a masterclass in frumpy authority.This show says neigh to the sophomore jinx with a second season that might be even better than its supremely addictive predecessor.
FM, IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes ratings – Slow Horses (S1 & S2) show.

Poster of the Slow Horses (2022) Series

Slow Horses show – poster.

Key details of the Slow Horses (2022) Series

Genre Drama, Thriller, Mystery
Released April 2022 (Season -1) & December 2022 (Season-2)
Age-restrictionsA (18+)
SeasonsTwo seasons
Episodes1st Season – Six (6) Episodes – (From 1st April 2022 to 29th April 2022)

2nd Season – Six (6) Episodes – (From 2nd December 2022 to 30th December 2022)
DirectorJames Hawes
CastGary Oldman, Jack Lowden, Kristin Scott Thomas, Saskia Reeves, etc.
NetworkApple TV+
About – Slow Horses (S1 & S2) show.

Trailers of the Slow Horses (S1 & S2/2022) Series

First (S1) Season
Official trailer – Slow Horses (S1) Show – Apple TV+ | YouTube
Second (S2) Season
Official trailer – Slow Horses (S2) Show – Apple TV+ | YouTube

Awards won by the Slow Horses (S1 & S2/2022) Series

It was nominated for 5 BAFTA Awards 2023, in these categories – Leading Actor (Gary Oldman), Supporting Actor (Jack Lowden), Editing, Sound, and Original Music.

Awards NamesAwards Winners
BSC Awards 2023 – The Camera Operators AwardTV Drama – Vince McGahon – For ‘Bad Tradecraft’ episode
USC Scripter Award 2023 – TelevisionWill Smith – Based on the novel by Mick Herron for the episode S1E1 of the show
Awards – Slow Horses (S1 & S2) Series

Focus on the Slough House books by Mick Herron

As we have said earlier, the Slow Horses show is based on the Slough House books by Mick Herron. So, here are

This CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning British espionage (Book) series starring a team of MI5 agents united by one common bond: They’ve screwed up royally and will do anything to redeem themselves.

London, England: Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers. The “slow horses,” as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. Maybe they messed up an op badly and can’t be trusted anymore. Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them.

Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle—not unusual in this line of work. One thing they all have in common, though, is they all want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there─even if it means having to collaborate with one another.

Mick Herron | GoodReads

Focus on the actor Gary (Leonard) Oldman

The Oscar, BAFTA and SAG awards-winning actor Gary Leonard Oldman (nickname – Gaz) has an impressive body of work, the details of the same are shared below. This English actor has done a quite diverse range of acting jobs in theatre, film and television in his long acting career in the entertainment industry.

MoviesSid and Nancy (1986), Prick Up Your Ears (1987), JFK (1991), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), True Romance (1993), Léon: The Professional (1994), Immortal Beloved (1994), Air Force One (1997), The Fifth Element (1997), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Batman Begins (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), The Dark Knight (2008), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), Darkest Hour (2017), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), Hunter Killer (2018), Mank (2020), Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021), Crisis (2021), etc.
Wrote & Directed – Nil by Mouth (1997).
TV – Series & MoviesMeantime (1983), Morgan’s Boy (1984), Screen Two (1986-1991), Jesus (1999), Slow Horses (2022), etc.
Body of work of the actor Gary Oldman.

If you love the British series, then check out and read about the Peaky Blinders series on our FM, too.

Featured Image and Poster of the Slow Horses series | Apple TV+.

Discover more from Focus Magazine

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top