Gary Oldman in “Slow Horses” 2022. IMDb photo

In a time of sex, gore, vampires and endless Jeopardy winners, the masterful “Slow Horses” is more than welcome back.

This British contemporary spy thriller, based on the 11th book in the “Lamb” series by writer Mick Herron, (whose background is currently being featured in the Dec. 5 issue of New Yorker Magazine) is back on our home screens as of Dec. 2, with promises of Seasons Three and Four.

“Slow Horses” we’ve learned, is the slang term for “Slough House,” where the current inhabitants, young and ambitious who messed up easy assignments, were dumped into a rotting building on a rotten street in East London.

Here, after climbing multiple creaking stairs, they’re given one room to share and menial paper pushing tasks, so mind deadening, their bosses hope, that they will quit, give up their pensions and start new lives away from MI5 intel.

Spoiler Alert: None of them do.

We’re delighted, grateful in fact, to see the same perfectly cast group of losers returning.


We’re more than pleased to welcome back Gary Oldman, (“Dracula,” “Darkest Hour”) an aging pro, so gifted you can’t take your eyes from him lest he snatch your life away, is once again Jackson Lamb, the biggest spider in the crowded, dark cobwebs of MI5.

Jack Lowden (“Dunkirk”) Oldman’s protege River Cartwright, returns as well, to sit on Lamb’s one nerve and rattle the cages.

Welcome as well, is the old pro Kristin Scott Thomas (“The English Patient,” “Horse Whisperer”) as a devious, conniving M-type character.

The best casting choice has been that of the superb Jonathan Pryce (“The Crown,” “The Two Popes”) as River’s grandfather, once a senior player in a British intel game, who appears to have retired to a village garden home, trying to convince us that he’s a confirmed agnostic and gardener.

Spoiler alert: Yeah, right.

Lamb’s past is a cluster of dark streets and darker rooms we can’t wait to open.


Lamb sits behind a dusty desk and even dustier blinds at Slough House, smoking and drinking himself, he hopes, into a quick, merciful demise.

Spoiler alert: Don’t believe a moment of that.

What we’re going to see straight away in chapter one is titled “Dead Lions,” that will include a dead man on a London bus, dropping a cellphone with one word,“Cicada.”

“Slow Horses” streams on AppleTV+

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