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TELEVISION | Campy spy-thriller series brims with bullets, beatdowns, and bedroom scenes

Jonathan Prime/Amazon

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➤ Rated TV-14
➤ Prime Video

Amazon’s new spy-thriller series Citadel corroborates the Writers Guild of America’s complaint that they’re overworked and, consequently, short on fresh ideas. Citadel recycles ideas from The Bourne Identity and borrows action sequences from James Bond and Mission: Impossible films. Little originality exists in the barrage of bullets, beatdowns, and bedroom business. Amazon’s maturity ratings seem just as sloppy as the script. Citadel deserves a rating stronger than TV-14 for its partial nudity, bloody violence, and frequent foul language.

The story begins eight years in the past. Mason Kane (Richard Madden) and Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) were spies for Citadel, an organization dedicated to “the safety and security of all people.” After a train crash, their memories were erased. The likely culprit was Manticore, a syndicate founded “to manipulate world events and amass wealth and power.”

In the present day, Mason is married and has a child. He and Nadia begin to recover memories of their professional—and romantic—history together. Flashbacks disclose other intrigues that fill episodes with superfluous adventures. Mason and Nadia rejoin Citadel after Manticore steals a briefcase containing “all the codes to every nuclear weapon in the world.” Like that’s never happened before.

The writing continues to ­disappoint unless you like it campy. As a Manticore bad guy is torturing Citadel agent Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci), Orlick reveals that the bad guy’s girlfriend, presumed dead, is alive. The bad guy gets misty-eyed and stops tormenting Orlick. Jason Bourne himself never dreamed up a more brilliant ruse.

Spy movies

  • Goldfinger / 1964
  • Clear and Present Danger / 1994
  • GoldenEye / 1995
  • Mission: Impossible / 1996
  • The Bourne Ultimatum / 2007
  • Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol / 2011
  • Bridge of Spies / 2015

Bob Brown

Bob is a movie reviewer for WORLD. He is a World Journalism Institute graduate and works as a math professor. Bob resides with his wife, Lisa, and five kids in Bel Air, Md.



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