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State of Play 

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In London, a naive young politician becomes a suspect when his female assistant and mistress is killed in a suspicious accident. The politician's investigative journalist friend and his team uncover a government conspiracy.
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1  
2003  
Top Rated TV #221 | 16 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
John Simm ...  Cal McCaffrey 6 episodes, 2003
Kelly Macdonald ...  Della Smith 6 episodes, 2003
Bill Nighy ...  Cameron Foster 6 episodes, 2003
Philip Glenister ...  DCI William Bell 6 episodes, 2003
David Morrissey ...  Stephen Collins 6 episodes, 2003
James McAvoy ...  Dan Foster 6 episodes, 2003
Amelia Bullmore ...  Helen Preger 6 episodes, 2003
Benedict Wong ...  Pete Cheng 6 episodes, 2003
Rebekah Staton ...  Liz 6 episodes, 2003
Polly Walker ...  Anne Collins 6 episodes, 2003
Marc Warren ...  Dominic Foy 5 episodes, 2003
Michael Feast ...  Andrew Wilson 5 episodes, 2003
Johann Myers ...  Sonny Stagg 5 episodes, 2003
Tom Burke ...  Syd 4 episodes, 2003
Maureen Hibbert Maureen Hibbert ...  Olicia Stagg 4 episodes, 2003
James Laurenson ...  George Fergus 4 episodes, 2003
Deborah Findlay ...  Greer Thornton 4 episodes, 2003
Christopher Simpson ...  Adam Greene 4 episodes, 2003
Sean Gilder ...  Sergeant 'Chewy' Cheweski / ... 3 episodes, 2003
Shauna Macdonald ...  Sonia Baker 3 episodes, 2003
Rebecca Ryan ...  Karen Collins 3 episodes, 2003
Charlie Ryan Charlie Ryan ...  Louis Collins 3 episodes, 2003
Stuart Goodwin ...  Robert Bingham 3 episodes, 2003
Patrick Brennan Patrick Brennan ...  Neil Woods 3 episodes, 2003
Madeleine Potter ...  Professor Tate 2 episodes, 2003
Anthony Flanagan ...  Young Guy / ... 2 episodes, 2003
Natasha Wightman ...  Sheena Gough 2 episodes, 2003
Geraldine James ...  Yvonne Shaps 2 episodes, 2003
Carla Du Bois Carla Du Bois ...  Hotel Receptionist 2 episodes, 2003
Elizabeth Elvin Elizabeth Elvin ...  Apex House Receptionist 2 episodes, 2003
Pui Fan Lee ...  Joy Cipriani 2 episodes, 2003
Anne Karam Anne Karam 2 episodes, 2003
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Storyline

In London, a naive young politician becomes a suspect when his female assistant and mistress is killed in a suspicious accident. The politician's investigative journalist friend and his team uncover a government conspiracy.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you have to read between the lines


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

BBC [UK]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 May 2003 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Den tredje makten See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(6 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Simm (Cal McCaffrey), Philip Glenister (DCI William Bell) & Marc Warren (Dominic Foy) also worked together on Mad Dogs as Baxter, Quinn & Rick respectively. See more »

Connections

Featured in Timeshift: Political Thrillers: Plays of State (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
State of the nation, state of the art
24 June 2003 | by paul2001sw-1See all my reviews

What makes a good political thriller? Some things are obvious. Firstly, strong believable characters. Secondly, a fast-paced, complex, dazzling plot. But the plot must resolve into something comprehensible - there may appear to be one hundred mysteries, but beneath the smoke and mirrors, there must be one story. Anyone can write an infinite collection of coincidences and conspiracies - but a strong story makes simple sense in the end. Finally, a political drama needs to say something authentic about the current state of the world. If the final conclusion is that the Prime Minister has a prediliction for drinking the blood of teenage girls, then however plausible this is made to seem, an opportunity has been lost - if politics really is the subject matter, and not just the setting, then the personal drama must make some wider political point. Paul Abbott's 'State of Play' succeeds gloriously on all these points, and confirms his reputation as among the the sharpest writers in British television today.

Director David Yates also deserves credit, for keeping the mood tense but unmelodramatic throughout, while the cast show uniform excellence in bringing Abbott's characters to life. Abbott has commented that he knew he would have failed if any of his (largely journalistic) heroes could be sumarised as "mavericks" - a simple lesson ignored by ninety percent of writers today. Instead we have real, three-dimensional portrayals. What's especially impressive is how well the female characters are realised - neither passive decoration nor kick-ass post-feminists, but believable, not necessarily glamorous women - the contrast between the sexes has a low-key ring of truth. David Morrissey as the MP around whom the storm breaks is also excellent - when politicians are held in universally low stock, 'State of Play' avoids all the easiest shots. If one of the tragedy of politics is that many of its protagonists are first rate idiots, another is what it makes out of those who are not. Morrissey's Stephen Collins is never sympathetic, and yet comes across as the sort of man you might almost choose to try and run the country. Paul Abbott, meanwhile, is certainly the sort of man you'd choose to write a drama. In 'State of Play', he has produced the best British TV series since 'Holding On'.


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