MI5 has a certain image in fact and in fiction, as do its agents. But beyond the swanky offices and costumed spies they’re known for, the agency has a side people don’t often experience. Apple TV+’s spy thriller series slow horses sheds light on this lesser-known department of MI5 and looks at intelligence operatives from a very different perspective. These Slough Housers might not be your quintessential (fictional) stiff-lipped, well-dressed, hard-to-break, level-headed, charming agents. But each of them is talented and qualified enough to handle the most difficult task. Although bad timing and bad luck brought them to Slough House, they have the ability to prove their worth time and time again.
First released in April 2022, the series follows a group of failed intelligence operatives who have been rejected by MI5 and sent to spend the rest of their careers in purgatory at the abandoned department called Slough House. The story is taken from the British novelist Mick Heronthe series of novels titled swamp house which features Jackson Lamb, an important and recurring character in the books and the streaming series. After the success of their first mission, as seen in the first season, slow horses Season 2 brings these agents back for another tension-filled mission, as they stop a group of Russian sleeper agents from wreaking havoc in the UK.
Find out who’s playing who in this quirky thriller series that will burst your spy and spy bubble and show you what real agents are made of.
Jackson Lamb is one of the major characters in Herron’s novels who appears in the swamp house books, as well as slow horses series. He’s the head of Slough House, but he’s the least of what you’d expect from an experienced senior agent. Lamb may be the most disgruntled and disenchanted employee you’ve ever seen, and yet there’s more behind the facade than he gives. Most of the time, he’s drunk and a slob, with a perpetually disheveled appearance, and doesn’t care about his job. But his visible personality contradicts his Spidey sense and observation skills. Although he always discourages his team members, he cares a little about them, or at least he got there after the first season.
Award-winning actor and filmmaker Gary Oldman plays the character of Jackson Lamb and he seems to go hand in hand in that miserable boss role, just like he did when he played George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Spy Soldier, who was a very different kind of spy. An Academy, Golden Globe and BAFTA award winner, Oldman has been recognized for his illustrious acting career in film and television since his 1982 debut with Remembrance. He is best known for his roles as James Gordon in The black Knight trilogy and as Sirius Black in Harry Potter series, voice role for A Christmas Caroland for winning the Best Actor Oscar in 2017 for darkest hour. Although it’s a lesser-known fact of his career, Oldman has also appeared in music videos for david bowie and Guns N’ Roses. Gary Oldman will next appear in the next biopic Oppenheimerscheduled for release in July 2023.
She’s not M but she’s just as tough. Diana Taverner is MI5’s Deputy Director General and Chief Operating Officer under the code name “Second Desk”. She is also a former colleague of Lamb and oversees the Slough House projects. She controls the agency’s swankiest, high-level team, full of high-performing, top-notch field agents; the exact opposite of Slough House. As described in an interview with Deadline, Diana Taverner will “stop at nothing” to get what she wants and “has no redeeming qualities.” She’s steely and powerful, which is why she’s where she is and Lamb isn’t.
Five times nominated for the BAFTAs Kristin ScottThomas plays the role of Diana Taverner where she finds her darkest hour co-starring Oldman. Scott Thomas is best known for his breakout role in Four weddings and a funeral for which she won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is also known for her performance in Nowhere Boy, The English Patient, Gosford Park, I love you for so longand Sarah’s Key, among others. Scott Thomas will next be seen in the upcoming film, My mother’s weddingwhich is also his first film with its own screenplay.
You could say Cartwright is the reason there’s been a sudden stir in the otherwise uneventful Slough House. The promising MI5 agent finds himself in exile at Slough House after a botched training mission. But as you might expect, the ambitious young spy is not cut out for a hustling role, as he prefers to be in the field facing difficult tasks. His desperation leads him to discover a threat that could put the nation (or possibly the entire world) in danger. To prove his worth as an agent and return to where he belongs, Cartwright rounds up the other Slough House agents and plans a mission to stop the menace. In the second season, he is back with his team to stop another disaster. But it is still an integral part of Slough House.
Playing the role of River Cartwright is Jack Lowden. He rose to fame with the BBC miniseries War & Peacefollowed by a major role in Christopher Nolanepic drama, Dunkirk. He also appeared in other popular movies like Mary Queen of Scots, Caponand Blessingand TV series like The long song and small axamong others.
Saskia Reeves as Catherine Standish
In Herron’s series of books, Catherine Standish is a recurring character in most of the swamp house stories. She is the Slough House office administrator and Lamb’s secretary and does all the odd jobs in the office. Catherine is known to be a recovering alcoholic and has long suffered from the misery of her boss, not to mention the trauma in her personal life that led her to alcoholism. From the first season, we have a glimpse of the character and personality of this woman. Despite the disdain she and Lamb share for each other, they also have a strange kind of affection for each other. This is revealed in the first season, where Lamb appears to be watching over her following a dangerous mission. In a GameSpot interview, her character is described as “unglamorous, struggling, full of secrets and opportunities.”
Saskia Reeves plays the role of Catherine Standish. The British actor is best known for playing various roles in TV series like Dunes by Frank Herbert, Midsomer Murders, Luther, silent witnessand Shetland, among others. Reeves is also recognized for her film roles in films like close my eyes and Our kind of traitor.
David is a retired MI5 officer and also River’s grandfather. All we know about him is that he has a mysterious history with Lamb. In the books, David is something of a legend within MI5 and has raised River ever since the boy was abandoned by his mother. So, in the second season, we can expect more information about David’s background as an agent and father figure to be revealed.
veteran actor Mr Jonathan Pryce stars as David Cartwright. Pryce is best known for his breakthrough performance in Brazil followed by other films like Avoided, tomorrow never diesthe Pirates of the Caribbean series, The two popes, and much more. On television, he is best known for his roles in game of thrones, Taboo, Tales from the Loopetc Pryce currently plays Prince Phillip in The crown Season 5 and is also expected to appear in the sixth season, along with the movies Scrooge: A Christmas Carol and A life.
Dustin Demri-Burns as Min Harper
Min Harper is an agent thrown into Slough House after making the mistake of leaving a top secret document on a train during one of his previous postings as an MI5 agent. Harper is played by the British actor, comedian and writer Dustin Demrie Burnswho is best known for his work on the television series Cardinal Burnsas well as series like drunk story, game faceand Greatand movies like Alan PartridgeAlpha Dad and The spy who dumped me.
Rosalind Eleazar as Louisa Guy
Louisa Guy, who was assigned to the service after an operation gone wrong. She is played by a film and theater actor Rosalind Eleazarbest known for her roles in television series like Relik, Howard’s End, Death in paradise, prostitutesand her first film role in The personal story of David Copperfield.
Christopher Chung as Roddy Ho
Roddy Ho is a detestable computer expert and former hacktivist who appears to be Slough House’s tech rescuer. He is played by Australian actor and singer, Christopher Chungwho has already appeared in television series like Neighbors and Waterloo Road.
Sidonie “Sid” Baker, who is surprisingly a capable MI5 agent and (spoiler alert) no one understands why is tasked with policing the River Cartwright at Slough House when she could be with the other top agents at Regent’s Park HQ. Sid’s journey ends with the first season, as she either dies or, as her co-workers think, is “made to disappear.” In the books however, Sid remains dead for a few books and later returns. Sidonie Baker is played by Olivia Cookean actor best known for his roles in series like Bates Motel and vanity loungeand movies like Me and Earl and the dying girl and Loan player one. Currently, Cooke plays a major role in the game of thrones derivative series, Dragon House. She should then appear in the next film, Breastmilk.
In other roles, there are Samuel West as MP for Peter Judd, a right-wing Conservative politician, Freddy Fox as James “Spider” Webb, one of the top MI5 agents from the Regent’s Park office, Chris Reilly like Nick Duffy, the head of internal affairs for MI5 and its tactical unit named “The Dogs”. Other characters, who appeared in prominent roles in the first season of slow horses but will not return for second season, is Struan Loy played by Paul HigginsJed Moody played by Steven WaddingtonIngrid Tearney played by Sophie OkonedoHassan Ahmed played by Antonio AkelRobert Hobden played by Paul HiltonAlan Black/Moe played by Sam HazeldineZeppo played by stephen waltersLarry played by David WalmsleyCurly played by Brian VernelAgent Singh played by Bally Gilland Agent Pierce played by Joey Ansah.
We wish to say thanks to the author of this article for this awesome content
Slow Horses Cast & Character Guide – GameSpot