January 27, 2023

A spy among friends director Nick Murphy has explained his reason for the show’s confusing story, saying it was a deliberate choice to “discombobulate” viewers.

Throughout the series, the show jumps between different locations over 30 years as it tells the story of Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis) and KGB double agent Kim Philby (Guy Pearce). Murphy explained that it was a conscious decision from the start not to label every location and every year explicitly, in order to focus on the show’s emotional storyline.

“The show jumps around for over 30 years in London, Berlin, Moscow, Vienna, Istanbul… We decided pretty early on not to do subtitles while we were jumping around because it was going to be this endless litany of subtitles on screen,” he told. Digital spy.

Damian Lewis, a spy among friends


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“That typifies our approach to storytelling. It does expect a certain amount of intelligence from the audience to keep up and pay attention,” he continued.

Murphy added that the time jumps make sense to tell the story of Elliott and Philby’s friendship.

“If you look [the show]the thread that justifies why you make these jumps is emotionally connected,” he continued. “You don’t feel [like]”Wait a minute, I’m just going off the story.” I’m going to answer a question I’ve already asked.

“The jumping back and forth — the almost confusing structure of that — is part of the point. We’re trying to figure out what their friendship meant, and what it means, and what it was? What did I know then? Could I see it back in the day ?

Anna Maxwell, a spy among friends


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“So all of that shouldn’t be presented as some kind of linear inquiry, but more as an opportunity to put things together. And the only person trying to understand everything in a linear way is Anna. [Maxwell-Martin’s] character.”

However, Murphy added that the show also provided some visual clues to locations.

“All I had to do then was provide a kind of visual grammar that was very clear, and the gradation of the photo is slightly different. The sunlight in Beirut is different from the architecture of Moscow, and things like that,” he said . .

“So the designer and photographer and I created a slightly different visual grammar for each so you knew where you were.”

A spy among friends now streaming on ITVX.

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