Worn by Anne-Marie Duff and Rafe Spall, the British series “Skripal Affair: the poisoned spy” is broadcast tonight Arte. An almost documentary story that tells a poisoning case from the point of view of the inhabitants of a small town.
What is it about ?
In 2018, the small town of Salisbury, England was reeling from the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s. The case is complicated when similar cases without apparent link then occur, causing panic among the inhabitants and the concern of the authorities who fear then a toxic contamination of great magnitude.
Thursday June 10 at 8:55 p.m. on Arte (4 episodes) and available on arte.tv until July 9
A diplomatic and health scandal told from the point of view of ordinary heroes
While British television is fond of tense and panting spy stories, The Salisbury Poisonings Affair (The Salisbury Poisonings in VO), broadcast last year on BBC One across the Channel and offered this evening from 8:55 pm on Arte , almost surprised by its bias.
Screenwriters Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson have indeed chosen to steer away from the expected thriller with such a subject – the British government having accused Russia of attempted murder, although Moscow’s involvement could not be proven to this day – to tell first and foremost a human, realistic and poignant drama, which chronicles the poisoning of the Skripals and its consequences on the community of Salisbury from the point of view of the inhabitants and the local authorities having been affected, directly or indirectly, by this dramatic affair.
Sensing that there was an incredible and untold story to tell, the two scriptwriters of The Skripal Affair went to the scene of the tragedy a few months after the events and collected numerous testimonies, including that of Nick Bailey, a poisoned police officer also took place at Novichok, a highly lethal chemical weapon, and his wife, who had previously spoken little.
From this fascinating raw material, they have drawn 4 episodes of 45 minutes, all broadcast this evening on Arte, which take the form of an almost documentary story that turns out to be chilling and very often overwhelming, while we follow the collective reaction of Salisbury residents facing an unprecedented health emergency.
With as central element the race against time of Tracy Daszkiewicz, director of public health of the municipality embodied by the excellent Anne-Marie Duff (Sex Education), and Nick Bailey, camped by Rafe Spall (Trying), to identify threat and protect the population. Men and women of everyday life who have played a major role in this story and which the series brings to light nicely, rather than being interested in the diplomatic crisis between London and Moscow.
A wise choice, all the more so at the present time, since the series, and its theme of community versus chaos, necessarily resonates with the Covid-19 crisis that the planet has been going through for more than a year now.