How does a person that believes in God come up with such a godless plan? – William Hurt as Bob Partridge
Audience channel first came to my attention when it aired Friday Night Lights from 2008-2011. Forever thankful for them saving one of my favorite shows, I always looked to see what programs they had. Over the years, they’ve tried their hand with different shows from Ice to Kingdom, but none of them held my attention for long.
That was until Condor debuted in June. I tried to watch the first episode but was distracted doing other things. I try not to do this with new shows; I want to give them my undivided attention so I bookmarked it as a show to revisit. From what I could see, it was an interesting story and Max Irons was a solid lead.
One week in July, I decided to binge the show and WOW. I had no idea it was going to be this good.
Condor is a 10-episode show loosely based on the 1974 novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady. Film nerds may remember Sydney Pollock’s film Three Days of the Condor that’s based on the book as well. The show follows Joe Turner (Max Irons), a CIA analyst that accidentally stumbles upon a massive terrorist plot. The information he finds leads to his entire division being killed. The people behind the terrorist plot make Turner the #1 suspect. Turner spends most of the season trying to find the real killers, stop a terrorist plot to kill millions, and clear his name.
The show could’ve gone a million different ways with Turner. They could’ve made him an extreme badass or too weak to care for himself. The show splits the character down the middle. He’s smart, but he doesn’t outsmart everyone. He’s got some tactical training, yet the show never turns him into Rambo – even when it would’ve been convenient for the plot. Also, Turner does more running than Ethan Hunt. He’s got perfect form too.
When Turner transitions from happy analyst to accused killer on-the-run, the women become the heartbeat of the show:
Leem Lubany plays the crazed assassin Joubert. She takes out people with the same calm demeanor as the Terminator. She’s an unpredictable sociopath and with her skill set that makes her incredibly dangerous. She spends most of the season right on the heels of Turner. Lubany is the best things about the show and plays one of the best characters on television
Christina Marie Moses plays Sharla, an analyst brought in to be a part of the task force to help solve the case. She lost a loved one in the massacre and seems to be the only one on the task force trying to solve the case and not interested in killing Turner. Moses’ emotional performance gives the show heart and sometimes gives audiences a reason to smile..
Kristen Hager plays Mae Barber, the wife of one of Turner’s colleagues. Mae has no idea what’s going on and learns more about her husband and the men he worked with as she uncovers details about his life.
Katherine Cunningham plays Kathy Hale, Turner’s failed Tidner date the night before his life spiraled out of control. Despite having the date from hell, Kathy is the only person Turner can trust. As smart as Kathy is she needs to pick better Tinder dates and learn to read the room in stressful situations.
The show is successful at being an action thriller that has more action than most shows in its genre. Every episode has an action sequence that could easily be on the big screen. The best action scene may occur in the first episode. The whole sequence beginning with the killers entering the building and ending with Turner sprinting through the city like an Olympic athlete is perfect. You replace Max Irons with Tom Cruise and this is a scene straight out of Mission: Impossible.
Condor also succeeds by giving characters depth through flashbacks. The flashbacks aren’t just for the sake of having flashbacks for non-linear storytelling (I’m looking at you LOST), they actually give audiences a deeper understanding of the characters, their motivations, and what they might do in the future. The best flashback belongs to Nathan Fowler (Brendan Fraser). In just a few short minutes you learn why he’s such a tortured characters with a twisted look at patriotism.
The best part about Condor is its willingness to kill people. None of the characters are safe. A traditional TV show would keep these characters around, however, Condor has no problem upping its body count every episode. It feels much like Game of Thrones when you don’t know if a character you love will die or not. With Joubert roaming the streets like a pit bull off its leash, nobody is safe.
Condor is The Fugitive meets Homeland. It’s the perfect blend of mystery and espionage with a little conspiracy theory mixed in. The entire season is amazing. Stand out episodes like “Trapped in History” and “A Diamond With a Flaw” are why the show is outstanding. Take a few nights to binge the show and tell your friends about it. When it’s time for Golden Globe nominations, let’s remember how incredible Leem Lubany is. She deserves all the awards.