Not a thriller, per se, The Politician’s Husband TV series is a tense political drama from BBC Two, now available on Netflix instant viewing. Featuring a powerful, ambitious political couple, the show draws immediate comparison to House of Cards. As a three episode mini-series, The Politician’s Husband is much more compressed, and it serves the show well. Without time to wander and explore side plots, the focus is tight on the dynamics of the central characters; the less believable and excessive aspects of the longer series are avoided.
Aiden Hoynes is a cabinet minister in an unnamed British administration – there are no party affiliations in the show, either – who resigns as the show begins. It’s part of a long term political strategy that does not go as planned. As Aiden’s star is falling, his wife’s is on the rise. Freya Gardner let her husband’s career take prominence in their lives while she focused somewhat more on their two children, but this is her chance, and she is not going to let it slip away.
There is a tense dynamic between the ambitious couple. It plays out privately in the bedroom; less so in public, but the British tabloids latch on to whatever they can. They are given more fodder as the show moves along. We know early on that Aiden will not stay down for long. His maneuvering – and Freya’s – is both political and personal; there are casualties along the way.
Aiden Hoynes is played by David Tennant, best known for his work in Doctor Who and Broadchurch. Emily Watson, who has starred in numerous feature films, is Freya Gardner. Watching the couple in The Politician’s Husband, you may find your loyalties shifting back and forth. Is one of these two more scheming and ruthless than the other? Does either of them value their family more than political power?
In addition to a nanny, Aiden’s dad helps the family around the house, especially since they have a son with Asperger’s. The father serves as Aiden’s conscience, and we see how he is affected by the changing dynamics of their relationship more than we do with Freya . It is not until later in the show, episode three, that we start to get a deeper sense of what is happening with Freya.
The show was written by Paula Milne and directed by Simon Cellan Jones. Obviously a fan of other political dramas, Milne has pointed out it is no coincidence that the main characters in The Politician’s Husband share last names with important characters in “The West Wing,” long touted as one of the best political shows on TV.
The Politician’s Husband TV series aired on BBC Two in 2013. Though some of the plot twists are fairly predictable, the three episodes pass by all too quickly. It’s an entertaining show well worth your time as you wait for the next season of House of Cards.