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Series / The State Within

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This 2006 miniseries on The BBC centers on Sir Mark Brydon (Jason Isaacs), the British ambassador to the United States. He witnesses a plane bombing and soon has to deal with the fallout when a British Muslim is responsible for this tragedy, which results in the deaths of many U.S. citizens. As he attempts to find out who’s behind the bombing, Mark must simultaneously deal with the return of an old friend that he once betrayed and who now wants his help with a Central Asian coup. Also, he tries to help feisty human rights lawyer save a former British soldier from death row… naturally, he’s a piece of the political puzzle as well.

Despite his Dark and Troubled Past, Mark seems to be the Only Sane Diplomat stuck among three war-bent countries. All of them want to use him as their pawn.

This series provides examples of:

  • British Conspiracy Thriller
  • Bury Your Gays: Christopher Styles is shot to death at the end while his partner, Nicholas, is in the next room trying to figure out what he overdosed on.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: In this case, the ambassador is the good guy, so he doesn’t use this too often. But it does keep the FBI away from him briefly as he’s running around solving the mystery.
  • Divided We Fall: Mark tries to convince US Secretary of Defense Lynne Warner that their two countries are in danger of this.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Minutes into the first episode, Sir Mark Brydon is seen immediately exiting his car to help a woman trapped in the wreckage caused by a plane crashing on the highway.
  • Fictional Counterpart:
    • USA NOW replaces USA Today as the United States national newspaper.
    • The Washington Press replaces The Washington Post.
    • The airline BAQ stands in for British Airways.
  • Fictional Country: The former Soviet nation of Tyrgyzstan.
  • Godwin's Law: Mark reminds a Jew that discrimination is wrong by invoking this (the actor who plays him, Jason Isaacs, is himself Jewish).
  • Good Lawyers, Good Clients: Jane Lavery and Luke Gardner, respectively.
  • Keeping the Enemy Close: Nicholas Brocklehurst is in a sexual relationship with Secretary of Defense Lynne Warner's assistant.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Mark’s excuse for his Greatest Failure, seen below. Also, Christopher tells Warner he did everything for her, attempting to justify his actions.
  • Iron Lady: Lynne Warner, the US Secretary of Defense, naturally sporting Power Hair.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Matthew Weiss.
  • My Greatest Failure: Mark can’t get over the fact that he had an affair with his best friend’s wife and the fact that he helped a dictator into power. Naturally, this period in his life comes back to haunt him.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Lynne Warner, due to her dead son.
  • Private Military Contractors: CMC.
  • Profiling: After it is revealed the BAQ flight bomber was a British Muslim, the Governor of Virginia orders all British Muslims in the state to be arrested and detained in a military base. A panicked couple who try to escape a checkpoint are shot and killed.
  • Properly Paranoid: Mark goes from being spied on by just about everyone to being targeted for assassination. Is it any wonder he doesn’t trust anyone?
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sir Mark Brydon. During the first embassy meeting regarding the explosion, he tells his staff that they can take the day off to be with their families if they please.
  • Suicide Attack: The only problem was that the suicide bomber was unaware of his purpose.
  • With Friends Like These...: When Mark finds out that Nicholas, his Counselor for External Affairs, has been tracking him and bugging his office, he reacts poorly.