State of Play (2003)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
8.6
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A thriller set in London, in which a politician's life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage pickpocket is shot dead.

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2003  
16 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Cal McCaffrey (6 episodes, 2003)
...
 Della Smith (6 episodes, 2003)
...
 Cameron Foster (6 episodes, 2003)
...
 DCI William Bell (6 episodes, 2003)
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 Stephen Collins (6 episodes, 2003)
...
 Dan Foster (6 episodes, 2003)
Amelia Bullmore ...
 Helen Preger (6 episodes, 2003)
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 Pete Cheng (6 episodes, 2003)
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 Dominic Foy (5 episodes, 2003)
...
 Liz (6 episodes, 2003)
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 Anne Collins (6 episodes, 2003)
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 Andrew Wilson (5 episodes, 2003)
Johann Myers ...
 Sonny Stagg (5 episodes, 2003)
...
 Syd (4 episodes, 2003)
Maureen Hibbert ...
 Olicia Stagg (4 episodes, 2003)
James Laurenson ...
 George Fergus (4 episodes, 2003)
...
 Greer Thornton (4 episodes, 2003)
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 Adam Greene (4 episodes, 2003)
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 Sergeant 'Chewy' Cheweski / ... (3 episodes, 2003)
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 Sonia Baker (3 episodes, 2003)
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 Karen Collins (3 episodes, 2003)
Charlie Ryan ...
 Louis Collins (3 episodes, 2003)
Stuart Goodwin ...
 Robert Bingham (3 episodes, 2003)
Patrick Brennan ...
 Neil Woods (3 episodes, 2003)
Madeleine Potter ...
 Professor Tate (2 episodes, 2003)
...
 Young Guy / ... (2 episodes, 2003)
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 Sheena Gough (2 episodes, 2003)
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 Yvonne Shaps (2 episodes, 2003)
Carla Du Bois ...
 Hotel Receptionist (2 episodes, 2003)
Elizabeth Elvin ...
 Apex House Receptionist (2 episodes, 2003)
Pui Fan Lee ...
 Joy Cipriani (2 episodes, 2003)
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Storyline

A thriller set in London, in which a politician's life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage pickpocket is shot dead.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you have to read between the lines


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Release Date:

18 May 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Den tredje makten  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A second season was commissioned by then-BBC Commissioner Greg Dyke before the first season had even been transmitted. The second season never materialized, however, because Paul Abbott felt he didn't know how to make the story work and he had already had tremendous success with Shameless (2004). See more »

Quotes

Stephen Collins: SPOILER:
[seated on the steps of Cal McCaffrey's house, as Cal is walking away]
Stephen Collins: You're no good to Anne now... Your name will be on the story... You'd know if you had them... Kids... They shoot the messenger... They just do
See more »

Connections

Remade as State of Play (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The BBC at its best
2 September 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The BBC dramatic standards have been slipping, either trying to hard to compete with HBO (The Last Enemy), letting shows jump the shark (Spooks) or simply being too cheap and just make shows like Strictly Come Dancing. But when the BBC get it right it can be some of the best television available. With State of Play we get a brilliant written, deep show, with a great director and an fantastic cast. A show so good that Hollywood remade it into a film stating Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck.

The mini-series starts with brutal murder of a 15-year-old petty criminal and the suspected suicide of Sonia Baker, a researcher for Simon Collins MP (David Morrissey), the chairman of the Energy Select Committee. At first the two events seem unrelated until newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey (John Simms) starts looking into it. Both men, with the backing of the Heard newspaper, including junior reporter Della Smith (Kelly MacDonald), editor Cameron Foster (Bill Nighy) and free-lancer Dan Foster (James McAvoy). Slowly all parties discover a conspiracy involving big oil, political corruption and sexual scandals. Simon Collins himself was having an affair with the dead researcher and his marriage falls apart. Cal ends up getting close with Simon's wife Anne (Polly Walker) and has to balance his friendship with the two. Cameron has to balance his editorial responsibles and Della and Dan set out to prove themselves as journalists.

I am a politics nut, so this series easily appealed to me. Often programmes and films about British politics is treated as a comical subject. This series treats it seriously, much like the West Wing does with American politics (if a bit more far-fetched). The show follows the traditional British view of being cynical about politicians and ideology. However the show is wrong about how Select Committee Chairpersons are picked. The film also shows the underhanded way oil lobbyists world (oil is such a easy villains for us Brits). The show also looks at many aspects of the press, from its relationship with the government and politicians, journalistic ethics and Chinese walls between a paper's editorial staff and the ownership. The film looks at journalists and politicians as individuals and wanting to serve the public. The series has a great complex plot, you don't know where its going next and shows how hard journalists have to work. Peter Abbott does a wonder job.

David Yates has proved himself to be a good director. The State of Play and his other mini-series Sex Traffic was prove enough for him to a land a small feature film, Harry Potter. He makes the series look very cinematic, like an excellent thriller feature. He keeps the tension going, get the best out of his actions and has some wonderful shot, especially tracking shots. He is a skilled man.

There is a great cast, David Morrissey and John Sims are both very good actors and were excellent in the leads. Both character are very faulted but you take an interest in what happens to them. There is a great support cast, with actors like Kelly MacDonald, James McAvoy, Bill Nighy and Marc Warren. Bill Nighy was perfectly smiley but a cares about his people. Kelly MacDonald is excellent as the young idealist. There was no weak link and all the major characters are fully developed. Even the bad guys have reasons for what they are doing, and not just for money.

The series is cheap on amazon and play and it is worth having. Highly recommended.


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