Imagine -- being married to someone for twenty years and then come to find out their entire identity is a lie. Even worse, their job is to spy on you. Creator Peter Moffat's gripping drama has crafted not only a thrilling and captivating show but also a show that is relevant and timely. Undercover capitalizes on the exciting life of double agents and conspiracies but thrives on its underlining social message.
Maya Cobbina, a well respected defense lawyer, has spent the past twenty years of her career fighting to prove the innocence of her client who is currently waiting on death row. The case stems back to the mysterious death of political radical Michael Antwi and the police's circumstantial involvement. As Maya gets closer to uncovering the truth, deep secretes begin to reveal themselves, turing Maya's life upside down.
Undercover has all the elements of an exciting crime drama -- 20-year-old investigations, untamable defense lawyers, spies, police conspiracies -- you name it. The six episode arc is an interconnected web of plot lines that fit perfectly together in the end (regardless of the finale's less than satisfactory ending). The show touches on a number of important issues like police brutality, institutionalized racism, the death penalty, making the program touch a little closer to home.
But the most exciting part of Undercover is its black cast, characters, and story. British television, with its white costume dramas and remakes of Agatha Christie novels, is not accustomed to having dramas centered entirely around the black community. Undercover brings this community to life on screen in a bold, smart, and complex drama that advocates black issues with a talented and powerful cast of black actors. It's not something that is seen often on British television, but the success of this program proves that it should have a permanent place.
Undercover's stars Sophie Okonedo and Adrian Lester are spellbinding in their respective roles. Okonedo brings an earnestness to Maya. Her openness and trusting nature are perfectly captured in Okonedo's bright eyes and kind features. But don't be fooled by her honest eyes, as there is a fire burning down below ready to fight for her beliefs. Okonedo creates a wonderfully rounded character who embraces all the emotions and strengths of a modern woman. Contrasty, Lester brings a bitter coldness to Nick's hard facade. His calm composure and stealthy behavior reflect a man who has spent entire life hiding. Yet, Lester brings a profound sensitivity to the quiet moments when Nick's hard facade begins to crack. It's a moving and powerful performance of a man trying to cope with the loneliness of being undercover. Both Okonedo's and Lester's performances were bold, powerful, and complex, which brought these characters beautifully to life.
Despite its rather lackluster ending, Undercover proved to be an exciting, riveting drama that is as much entertaining as it is socially relevant. With its binge-worth plot and powerful performances, Undercover is a worthy contender for best show of 2016.