The series shows us how the 4 characters, Philby, Burgess, Maclean and Blunt are recruited and why they feel compelled and obligated and wanting to do this with Russia. Each series focusses on an individuals life and the interactions between the four people. Blunt is the reserved one who occasionally is allowed to show emotions and is also gay. Guy Burgess is witty and charming, who enjoys picking up men in public toilets. Maclean is a man of privilege who feels guilty for what he has, yet is aware of his limitations. And finally we have Philby, the most enigmatic, fiercely loyal and intelligent, devious and filled with angst. There is a lot of information that is thrown at the viewers and you just have to keep taking it. I am not going to try to summarise the story or narrative here like I do most times, because there is so much that it is difficult to summarise it into words. But in short it is a sympathetic look at these 4 gentlemen from their Communist days at Cambridge in the early 1930s through their rising through the ranks of British government. Highlighted in particular on this journey are the sacrifices that they all made in their personal lives ranging from Philby's first wife to Burgess' great love Julian Bell and Maclean's being forced to leave behind his wife and children. Also seen is Blunt's journey as he gradually loses faith in both Communism and his spying for the Soviet Union.
The acting and production by everyone is just brilliant in the whole series. Thankfully it was not made in a documentary style and hence the viewers are always engaged. It is never made a big deal of the fact that 2 of these guys were gay either by their friends or even the Russians. It was just accepted. It was definitely eye-opening and insightful. I thought the story and focus on each character was quite balanced. Though personally not being aware of the whole history, made it a little difficult for me to follow the series completely. There were instances where I was completely loss because I personally am not very aware of the overall picture. But all said and done, it doesn’t take away form the fact that this is an important piece of historical information.
Definitely recommended. (7/10)