Written By GingersnapComments Off on Watch Episode 1 of A Spy Among Friends For Free
Episode 1 Now Streaming for Free
by Gingersnap | damian-lewis.com | March 12, 2023
Per MGM+ website, A Spy Among Friends premieres tonight at 9:00 CST/10:00 EST, but episode one is available now for free. Episode two is in queue with subscription. Then remaining episodes drop each Sunday thereafter. Visit MGM+ here or add MGM+ to your Amazon Prime account.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on A Spy Among Friends Places Damian Lewis in a Heady Spy Game
It’s a Role Lewis Plays Beautifully
by Daniel D’Addario | Variety | March 12, 2023
The story of Kim Philby is perhaps too good to make up. The British spy, a double agent for Moscow, operated at the highest levels of the intelligence community; his ability to disseminate information to the Soviet Union, to which he eventually defected, is proof, perhaps, of the power of personal charm and erudition to cover over what’s lying in plain sight.
That’s the powerfully told story of “A Spy Among Friends,” which streamed on ITVX in the United Kingdom last year and which now arrives on nascent streamer MGM+. Guy Pearce plays Philby, who has at the series’ outset been a valued Soviet source for many years; likely his closest friend in tradecraft, Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis), must get a confession from him. We see the pair’s relationship over time in layered flashbacks, adding context and understanding to Elliott’s failure to nail down Philby.
The story is adapted by Alexander Cary from Ben Macintyre’s novel, which embroiders on the real-life Philby and Elliott’s tale; it’s rather a clever thing to use likely the most infamous real-life British espionage scandal as the backbone of a John Le Carré-esque tale. The story is told through Elliott’s recollections: Anna Maxwell Martin plays a fictional interrogator who walks through the story of Elliott and Philby’s relationship, and who brings a crystalline level of distrust and disdain to her work. Among the pleasures of “A Spy Among Friends” is the spectacle of Elliott’s performing for the woman scrutinizing him, adding shading and dimension to his memories.
For what passed between Philby and Elliott is perhaps unknowable even to the men themselves — how, indeed, could a spy as experienced as Elliott let Philby slip away? Part of it, “A Spy Among Friends” argues, is the dynamic nodded at by the title: The clubby and parochial world of intelligence ran on social connections, befitting a culture undergirded by endless unwritten codes of what is socially appropriate.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on A Spy Among Friends Brings Cold War to New Generation
“Russia Has Never Been More Topical”
by Stephen Schaefer | Boston Herald | March 12, 2023
“A Spy Among Friends,” streaming Sunday on MGM+, reflects on a key chapter in post-WWII espionage history when the Cambridge Five, a quintet of Cambridge University graduates, were exposed as Russian spies.
The most notorious and most damaging, guilty of a thousand deaths, was British MI6 officer Kim Philby, a double agent for the Soviets. He served in postwar Washington, DC and cleverly escaped exposure in the early 1950s when two of his fellow Cambridge spies defected to Moscow.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on VIDEO: Panel Discussion of A Spy Among Friends at New York Premiere
Damian Grapples with Friendship, Betrayal and Producing in MGM+ Drama
by Charna Flam and Katie Reul | Variety | March 10, 2023
Following Sony’s “A Spy Among Friends” premiere and red carpet in New York, the cast and crew of “A Spy Among Friends” took to the stage to discuss the process of differentiating the series from the 2014 nonfiction book by author Ben Macintyre about one of Britain’s most notorious espionage scandals. Alexander Cary, showrunner and creator of the Sony Pictures Television series for MGM+, was joined by star Damian Lewis, director Nick Murphy and producer Chrissy Skinns.
Moderated by Variety’s TV business writer Jennifer Maas, the conversation began with Lewis’ reflection on why the series was the right opportunity to make his debut as an executive producer. Best known for his starring roles in Showtime’s “Billions” and “Homeland” and the 2001 HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” the Emmy winner tried his hand at a behind-the-screen job on the series, working with fellow executive producers Cary, Murphy, Macintyre, Bob Bookman, Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen and Patrick Spence.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on VIDEO: Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce on the Friendship at the Center of A Spy Among Friends
Who Would Make the Better Secret Agent?
by Kate Hahn | TV Insider | March 10, 2023
Damian Lewis, who won an Emmy for playing Marine double agent Nicholas Brody on Homeland, is back in the spy game as a patriot in MGM+‘s A Spy Among Friends, a tense adaptation of Ben Macintyre’s nonfiction bestseller.
Lewis is a reserved British intelligence man, Nicholas Elliott, who discovers that his best friend and colleague, the witty, charismatic Kim Philby (Guy Pearce) is a traitor. The case, which broke in the early 60s after Philby had spied for 30 years, became notorious in the U.K.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on Loyalty and Affection is Threatened in ‘A Spy Among Friends’
A Show That Makes You Question All Your Relationships
by Mark Kennedy | Washington Post | March 10, 2023
NEW YORK (AP) — A main character in “A Spy Among Friends” is one of the Soviet Union’s most notorious double agents. But you don’t need to know anything about him — or really about spying in general — to enjoy the show.
The MGM+ series starring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce dramatizes the true story of two British spies and lifelong friends, Nicholas Elliott (Lewis) and Kim Philby (Pearce.) The latter became a notorious British defector. But it’s the personal betrayal that the creators hope to explore, not stolen microfilm or dead drops.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on MGM+’s A Spy Among Friends Is a Patient, Magisterial Addition to the Spy Pantheon
A Tremendous Restraint and Delicacy to Lewis’ Performance
by Shane Ryan | Paste Magazine | March 10, 2023
If you are, like me, intermittently obsessed with the business of espionage, the name Kim Philby holds a sort of ineffable mystique in the darkest corners of your brain. Philby was the most notorious of the Cambridge Five, a group of British intelligence operatives who betrayed their country in ways big and small by spying for the Soviets from the 1930s through World War II, and in some cases well into the Cold War. Philby rose the highest, and caused the most damage and sacrificed the most lives—at one point, he was the chief British intelligence officer in the U.S.—and what’s most remarkable about his story is not his ideology, or his treason, but the fact that he should have been caught decades before he fled to the USSR.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on A Spy Among Friends Review: Guy Pearce as Kim Philby
A Nuanced, Finely Acted Cold War Series on MGM+
by John Anderson | Wall Street Journal | March 9, 2023
The six-part espionage drama “A Spy Among Friends” opens with a well-known quote from novelist E.M. Forster, which blooms enigmatic as the series rolls out: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” By the end of episode 1, one would like to say to Forster, “Define friend.”
You can’t (he died in 1970), but Forster’s intent seems to have been straightforward enough. Not so the series, which amid all its intrigue, double meanings, double-entendres and double-dealing is about friendship and its slippery definitions. As a screen card proclaims at the outset of creator-writer Alexander Cary’s expansive adaptation, the period thriller is based on Ben Macintyre’s nonfiction book of 2014, but is itself “a work of imagination” in which names have been changed, scenes invented, etc. Nevertheless, it hews very closely to the true-crime case of infamous British double-agent Kim Philby (Guy Pearce), his close friend Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis), and Philby’s epic betrayal of both colleagues and country.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on A Spy Among Friends Review: An Elegant Cold War Thriller
A Talky Espionage Caper
by Manuel Betancourt | AV Club | March 8, 2023
The title for A Spy Among Friends, last year’s British thriller that makes its MGM+ premiere on March 12, intentionally flirts with the glaring tension its narrative rests on. The spy genre, after all, depends on a timeless mantra—“trust no one”—that seems to stand in clear contradistinction to what one expects from one’s friendships. Writer Alex Cary and director Nick Murphy have taken Ben Macintyre’s nonfiction book, an account of a famed British espionage Cold War disaster, and punched it up to ask whether it can be possible to not only be but survive being, yes, “a spy among friends.”
One would imagine the answer to be self-evident. Could anyone in the intelligence community, after all, truly put friendship above idealism, above national loyalty, above politics? And yet with every passing episode, this elegantly mounted period drama does keep you guessing as to whether the friendship at the heart of this narrative could well prove to be the exception to the rule.
Written By GingersnapComments Off on How Much Watching Time Do You Have This Weekend?
Jazzy Spy Craft
by Staff | New York Times | March 9, 2023
A Spy Among Friends begins Sunday on MGM+. The personal is political in this juicy period drama, based on a true story about two British spies (played by Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce) who form an intimate friendship over decades – except one of them was working for Russia the whole time. Even the characters aren’t quite sure which is the worse betrayal, that of country or confidant, and the show finds depth in both its emotional wounding and its jazzy spy craft. If you still think about The Americans a lot, or if you like shows where repressed fussy British men let loose at Christmastime only to regret even that fleeting moment of happy pleasure. try this.
A Spy Among Friends premieres Sunday, March 12th on MGM+ (formerly Epix).
Written By GingersnapComments Off on In ‘A Spy Among Friends,’ B.F.F. Betrayal at an International Level
A Twisty MGM+ Series
by Roslyn Sulcas | New York Times | March 3, 2023
A twisty MGM+ series tells the story of Kim Philby, a British agent secretly working for the Soviet Union, and Nicholas Elliott, his closest friend. Stream beginning March 12.
“Why wasn’t he in custody?” asks the MI5 officer Lily Thomas. It is January 1963, and Thomas is talking about Kim Philby, a British intelligence agent who, after being exposed as a Soviet spy, has escaped to Moscow. Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s closest friend and a fellow member of the foreign intelligence agency MI6, looks slightly nonplused. “Well, that’s not how we —” he begins, before coming to an abrupt halt.