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VIDEO: Nick Murphy Explains Why A Spy Among Friends Deliberately Jumps Around

“The Jump-Around Is Part Of The Point”

by Brenna Cooper and David Opie | Digital Spy | December 12, 2022

A Spy Among Friends director Nick Murphy has has explained his reason for the show’s confusing narrative, saying it was a deliberate choice to “discombobulate” viewers. Throughout the series, the show jumps between several locations across 30 years as it tells the story of Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis) and KGB double agent Kim Philby (Guy Pearce). Murphy explained that it was a conscious decision from the beginning not to explicitly label each location and year, in order to focus on the show’s emotional storyline.

“The show jumps around over 30 years in London, Berlin, Moscow, Vienna, Istanbul… We made a decision quite early to not caption things as we jump around, because it would become this endless litany of captions on screen,” he told Digital Spy in a video here.

“That typifies our approach to the storytelling. It does expect the audience to have a degree of intelligence to keep up, and to pay attention,” he continued.

Murphy went on to add that the time jumps make sense in order to tell the story of Elliott and Philby’s friendship.

“When you watch [the show], the thread that justifies why you makes these leaps is emotionally connected,” he continued. “You don’t feel [like], ‘Hang on a second, I’m just going from the point of narrative’. I’m going to answer a question I’m already asking.

“The jump-around – the almost discombobulating structure of that – is part of the point. We try to work out what their friendship meant, and what it means, and what was it? What did I know back then? Could I see it back then?

“So all of that is supposed to be not presented as a sort of linear investigation, but more of an ability to sort of assemble things together. And the one person trying to make linear sense of it all is Anna [Maxwell-Martin’s] character.”

Murphy, however, added that the show did also provide some visual cues for locations.

“All I then had to do was provide a sort of visual grammar that was very clear, and the grading of the picture is slightly different. The sunlight in Beirut is different to the architecture of Moscow, and that sort of thing,” he said.

“So the designer and photographer and I created a slightly different visual grammar to each, so you knew where you were.”

Read the rest of the original article at Digital Spy