If you like your mysteries to proceed in an orderly, linear fashion with traditional clues and breadcrumbs along the way, don’t watch the Hidden TV series, a four-episode crime and political thriller. If you enjoy fast pacing, short scenes and deliberate attempts to keep you thinking and guessing, Hidden is a good choice for your Netflix instant viewing list.

Set in contemporary London, the BBC One series introduces us to the main characters through a series of short clips with little context. There appear to be several parallel stories. As it turns out, some of the scenes are current; some are flashbacks. Gradually, we begin to put things together. A mysterious woman, Gina Hawkes, played by Thekla Reuten, approaches lawyer Harry Venn, actor Philip Glenister from the series Life on Mars, for help locating a man who can help her jailed client.

Meanwhile, there is scandal and instability in the current administration. A journalist, politician and other power brokers are apparently scheming to put a new leader in place. How does this relate to the main story? We assume there must be a connection, but it is some time before the puzzle pieces start to shift into place.

The first episode of Hidden is enough to draw us in, but there is very little that is clear or known. In the second episode, we find out more, but not all, of Harry Venn’s background as he wonders why Hawkes sought him out. His actions are drawing attention; various people are finding their lives in danger. At the same time, his teenage son is acting out, mirroring some of Harry’s own behavior as a young man.

By episode three, some of the storylines have merged; scenes are longer and the series begins to play like a more traditional thriller. Still, there is much that has not yet been revealed. As the last episode marches toward its conclusion, we found out more, but maybe not all we had hoped for. Are corporations the true holders of power and politicians their pawns or is it only a select group that is covertly pulling strings?

Hidden is not one of the better known foreign TV shows on Netflix. However, it is well worth watching if you enjoy paying close attention and don’t mind being left in the dark about what is going on for stretches of time. Not everyone is who they say they are or appear to be. A few characters that look similar to each other adds to the potential confusion.

This BBC mini-series was first shown in 2011. It is currently available for Netflix streaming. (2015 update – Hidden is no longer available on Netflix, but can be seen on Hulu Plus.Hidden’s four episodes are one hour each; it was written by Ronan Bennett and directed by Niall MacCormick. Strong supporting actors include Anna Chancellor, Michael Winder and David Suchet.


“Hidden” BBC Trailer and Interview with Philip Glenister