The useless people from 'Slow Horses' are back, the funniest thriller on television

British screenwriter Will Smith thought it was a good idea to adapt Mick Herron's Jackson Lamb novels because they had everything he loves in one work.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
28 November 2023 Tuesday 17:15
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The useless people from 'Slow Horses' are back, the funniest thriller on television

British screenwriter Will Smith thought it was a good idea to adapt Mick Herron's Jackson Lamb novels because they had everything he loves in one work. He, who is a lover of John Le Carré's spy novels, could write a series of the genre with action and also large doses of comedy, a field that he dominates as a scriptwriter for series like Veep. But above all, he was struck by the fact that the writer profiled real characters. “They are marked by their experiences as spies. They have to deal with more human problems like addiction, loss, frustration. “It is the journeys of the characters that attract me,” he reveals in a conversation with La Vanguardia on the occasion of the premiere of the third season of Slow Horses this Wednesday on Apple TV.

In the new episodes, an MI5 operative is murdered in Istanbul and, like the flutter of a butterfly, this event has consequences at Slough House, the headquarters of disgraced agents led by Lamb, the character played by Gary Oldman. “The case of the first season was about far-right nationalists, then the danger was Russia, but in this third season the threat comes from within, it includes the secrets buried in the service,” Smith advances.

As if the seasons had to be cumulative, he warns that the bar has been raised in terms of action: “We aimed higher, we had never filmed scenes like the ones from the fourth chapter onwards, although there is the same humor and the same sense dramatic".

He has also dispensed with flashbacks with a plot with a very limited time frame, to ensure that the tension was not diluted: “In a thriller you can't take a break to suddenly tell a passage from the past. We also didn't want the viewer to feel like he was waiting for something to happen. Each episode has something exciting and twisted and keeps you engaged. You have to push the story organically.”

Smith, curiously, relies on Herron's opinion when writing the episodes ("we have his opinion and his blessing") and acknowledges that he always receives the same advice from the writer: he should not lose sight of the fact that the characters are the outcasts of the service for some reason. reason, and for this reason they cannot be written as heroes. “River Cartwright, for example, was caught in a trap but he continues to make the same kind of mistakes: he always finds a way to ruin everything,” he says of the young protagonist played by Jack Lowden.

And, regarding the oldest, Gary Oldman, he still doesn't understand how they accepted the idea of ​​presenting his character as such a disgusting man. “I think it was Gary who had the idea that we would introduce Jackson Lamb waking up to his own fart,” he laughs, “we never thought we would get away with it: introducing the Oscar winner to the Apple audience with a fart". Of course, he defends that gases contribute to the character's portrait: "He is not someone who cannot control his digestive system but rather uses flatulence as a superpower."