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on 17 December 2015
Good, especially Maggie Gyllenhaal as the central character, sometimes moving, if complicated and not always 100% believable British made drama.

This series certainly has mysteries and surprising plot turns, but is too serious and character-focused to be just a thriller or spy story.

There are only 8 episodes, but they are quite long so there is quite a lot of viewing time.

‘The Honourable Woman’ of the title is Nessa Stein, a would-be philanthropist from a family of wealthy British Jews, who is caught up in intersecting plots by Palestinian Arabs, Israelis and British and American intelligence.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, playing Nessa Stein, is obviously a very talented actress. Although American (compare how she speaks in the short interview included in the one ‘Special Feature' on the disc), in the role she faultlessly imitates an English accent of a certain social class (as, incidentally her husband, the American actor Peter Sarsgaard, also did a few years back in the film ‘An Education’).

Ms Gyllenhaal (who I remember from the odd but surprisingly good film ‘Secretary’ some years ago) is no Hollywood Love Goddess beauty, but quite attractive in a ‘woman in her mid to late 30s’ kind of way. She has some semi-nude scenes here, although some are too sad in context to count as ‘soft porn’.

The rest of the cast are also mostly good, perhaps especially Lubna Azabal as the Arabic translator Atika. I hope she appears in more English language productions. You may also like: Janet McTeer as 'Dame Julia Walsh', the new Head of MI6; her rival subordinates Stephen Rea (also successfully using an accent not his real one) and Eve Best; Yigal Nayor as the Israeli businessman 'Schlomo', Genevieve O'Reilly as Nessa's assistant Frances and the 'expert' character with a foreign accent whose name I did not catch, who looks like Trotsky.

I lack first-hand knowledge to say how close to life the Palestinian and Israeli scenes and plot elements are. Those about people plotting against each other within British and American intelligence I cannot know but suspect owe more to other dramas the writer/ director has seen than reality.

The Israel - Palestine conflict, central to the plot, is a very emotive subject. As other reviewers have said, this series does an unusually good job of seeing both sides. I do, though, sense one prejudice in the script, especially in who is behind the ultimate plot, but can say no more about that without giving away the ending.


Lastly, only for those who are interested, a minor point about accuracy, speaking as a lawyer and ex-Whitehall Civil Servant:

In Episode 4 Janet McTeer’s character ‘Dame Julia Walsh’ talks of having someone “sign the Official Secrets Act” so they are “contractually bound” to keep government secrets. This combines 4 kinds of nonsense in a few words, as a real life senior member of British Intelligence would probably know.

-Despite what people say, public servants in Britain do not “sign the Official Secrets Act” . No one 'signs Acts of Parliament', except possibly the Queen, who writes her assent on new Acts of Parliament (in Medieval Norman French!), although that is not strictly her signature.

-There is not an “Official Secrets Act”, but currently four Official Secrets Acts in force.

-They are not "contractual". They are part of the law of the land. Everyone in Britain is automatically subject to them. Public servants may be asked, on joining and on leaving a department, to sign a Declaration that they will obey the confidentiality provisions in one of the Official Secrets Acts. Signing this has no legal effect but simply makes people aware of what their legal duties already are.

-(And to be legally technical, such a declaration is not 'contractually' binding in English law as there is no 'consideration' for the promise.)
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on 6 September 2015
I saw this series over the weekend and there are, amazingly, some very creepy similarities in real life that have developed over the past year! I am tempted, therefore, to call this writer, who is also director and producer, Prophet Hugo Blick!
But also, this intelligent writer has captured a most complicated atmosphere that exists between the Israelis and Palestinians – except that he has made it into a highly provocative TV series.
For me, this series was hypnotic. Each and every character in the series is mastered by the individual actor – and they are simply stunning. I highly recommend this series.
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on 10 November 2015
I'm an American fan of the show who wanted to acquire a Blu-Ray copy (primarily as a failsafe, before Netflix ever has a chance to take it down). Unfortunately, there is no Blu-Ray version available for an American region, only DVD quality. Given the gorgeous cinematography, watching this movie in standard definition would be a poor substitute. I decided to purchase the Blu-Ray from UK Amazon and deal with unlocking my player sometime in the future. Imagine my elation when I popped the first disk in, just to make sure, and it actually played perfectly!

For the record, I'm watching it on a Samsung BD-P3600. The quality is just a smidge better than Netflix, without the buffering. In addition, in the first ten minutes of watching I've already noticed two small pieces of dialogue that were cut from the Netflix version.

Thank you, BBC and Hugo Blick, for putting together such an engrossing, tightly plotted show. On my fourth rewatch, I am still noticing all the subtle facial expressions and intricacies of dialogue that demonstrate who knew what when--and they yield nearly the same feeling of awe as the first viewing. What an incredible series.
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on 11 October 2015
Complex, engrossing, intriguing - and one of my top three shows of 2014. Yes, you had to concentrate to untangle the machinations of fanatical Israeli and Palestinian terrorists and their not so ethical counterparts in the US, British and Israeli secret services - but it was so worth the effort. A wonderful international cast, great production values and an amazing job by writer/director/producer Hugo Blick mean this is one show I will watch - and enjoy - again and again. Bring us more TV as good as this .......
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on 15 September 2015
A great story set against the background of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Like so many really good British series is has many layers in the story, and it is really impossible to catch all the details at the first viewing.
It's like peeling an onion, with every skin that's peeled off another appears underneath.
Great drama, great story telling, beautifully filmed and beautifully acted.
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on 4 November 2015
Superb mini series, excellent story.
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on 21 September 2017
Just a great story
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on 17 March 2018
Fabulous film
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on 5 November 2016
A fabulous series. Couldn't wait to watch the last episodes when rerun on the tv so ordered the set.
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on 16 December 2015
Saw the first two episodes on a cruise and couldn`t wait to see the rest.
Terrific BBC production again.
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