About 25 minutes into the fourth episode of Bodyguard, we find out that Keeley Hawes’ stern-but-sexy Home Secretary Julia Montague is dead. She’d died of her injuries following the shock explosion at the end of the previous week’s drama. Less than ten minutes later the other main star of the show shoots himself in the head.
With two and a half hours of the drama still to go, we were left with the prospect of both main characters dying within minutes of each other. It was only the previous episode we were watching them ripping each other’s clothes off. With ten million viewers now tuning into Bodyguard, what better way to shock one-sixth of the entire United Kingdom, eh? But all, as is so often the way with these things, was not as it seems…
David, we soon discover, did not die from his self-inflicted gunshot. Not because he’s an incredibly poor shot, but rather because his rounds had been secretly swapped for blanks by someone without his knowledge. Further proof to a conspiracy and a let-off for the grief and guilt-ridden personal protection officer.
What’s behind that guilt exactly, though? Well, it appears – to all intents and purposes – to be down to his feelings for Julia. But David is coming under some suspicion due to the high number of attacks on the politician he was supposed to be protecting. As Counter-Terrorism Command Detective Chief Inspector Deepak Sharma (Ash Tandon) puts it, “this is the second attempt on the Home Secretary’s life. Both times you were the PPO. Either you’ve got rotten luck mate, or it’s a coincidence.”
We’re expecting plenty more twists and turns to head our way across episodes 5 and 6, so we won’t be hugely surprised to find out that Julia perhaps did not die as we so casually found out here. We didn’t see her die, after all. Nor did David. We’ve not seen her body. Nor has David. We suspect it’s a rouse of some sort.
Or maybe she is dead. And David killed her somehow. Or her assistant did. Or one of her work rivals. Or the Secret Service. Or ex-husband. Or the head of the Police. Or terrorists. Even with this fourth outing been a more reflective and less frenetic hour of drama, we’re still pretty murky on the details of exactly who’s up to what. And, let’s face it, given the people behind are the scenes are those responsible for Line of Duty, we’re not likely to find out until Bodyguard’s no doubt shocking and revelatory finale in a fortnight’s time.
If Julia really is dead, that’s the plot thread of hers and David’s relationship killed rather abruptly. As is the story involving her clawing her way to Number Ten. And, well, any and all things concerning Hawes’ character.
Looking shadier than ever before is the now acting-Home Secretary, Mike Travis (Vincent Franklin). He clearly has everything to gain from Montague’s removal from office/life. Don’t let that little ‘tache/roundy specs combo trick you, he’s a slippery one, for certain.
Episode 4 here might not have featured the action sequences, the tension or the steamy sex scenes of previous instalments of Bodyguard, but it did feature plenty of intrigue and kept the plot rolling apace. It also introduced a weirdly Shakespearean subtext.* Two doomed lovers from different words, one ‘dies’, one attempts suicide. One’s called Julia (Juliet), with Montague as a surname. Alright, so that was Romeo’s last name, but there’s a little wryness there in the script, no doubt.
While we’re throwing out conspiracies and getting a little paranoid, we’re still harbouring a slight inkling that David Budd could be some sort of Manchurian Candidate here. His oddly blank stares could be indicative of fugue-like states and that whole waking up and strangling Julia thing was very odd and tonally a bit off. Has David been programmed in some way? Alright, so it’s not overly likely, but we like it as an outside bet.
Questions need to be asked about who David’s ex is now seeing too, that seems to be a plot thread as yet unyanked on. And let’s not forget the aide who was sacked in episode 1. Her exit in the 4×4 was strange, surely that was something. Especially as the man (her boyfriend?) who picked her up appeared to be at the Veterans For Peace meeting not long after.
*If you really want to dive down the Shakespeare rabbit hole, there’s a ‘Sampson’ in Romeo and Juliet and Bodyguard – a Capulet servant and Gina McKee’s Anna. As well as a character in the play called ‘The Nurse’, which is the job of David’s ex-wife.
Oh, you want more? Okay, Richard Madden has played Romeo at the Globe Theatre before landing his role in Game of Thrones.
Coincidences? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Did you tune in for Bodyguard episode 4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!