Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman) and his team of sidelined agents — who showed up the real M15 at their own spy game in the terrific first season — return with the first two episodes of Apple TV+’s “Slow Horses” Season 2, and Oldman says secrets about Lamb will be front and center this season.
Ahead of the premiere, Oldman told TheWrap that some of his character’s secrets “will out,” as the expression goes. Despite the fact that her character Catherine Standish is one of those being kept in the dark by Lamb, Saskia Reeves insisted that those secrets are essential to spycraft on both sides of the game in the “Slow Horses” novels by Mick Herron.
In the Season 1 finale, Lamb admitted to Standish that, in the apparent suicide of former MI5 Director General Charles Partner, he “gave him the gun.” However, we learned that it was Lamb who actually shot Partner and staged the scene to look as if he had taken his own life from him.
TheWrap: Lamb has told Catherine quite a few lies, hasn’t he?
Gary Oldman: I have, yes. I’m not very forthcoming with my past. It will out. It will develop as we go along. But, yeah, I harbor some real dark secrets. I guess that’s who they are, isn’t it? This is the people that we play. They’re full of secrets.
Is it fun to play that tension?
Oldman: Yeah, it is. We had a terrific scene at the end of Season 1 where Catherine confronts Lamb and says, “I really want to know what went on.” And I kind of it’s weird, because I kind of lie. I do lie. Gone. And I also [tell the truth] in the lie. I mean, if you want to look at lines like, “I gave him the gun,” when he did give him the gun, literally. So those scenes are multi-layered. And they’re great fun. And if you’ve got a wonderful actor that you’re working with, that’s what gets you out of bed in the morning and that’s why we do the job, isn’t it?
This season, you go up against a former KGB agent. Did you learn about the KGB from John le Carré’s Cold War novels? (Oldman received his first Oscar nomination for playing one of the spymaster’s best-known agents in 2011’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”)
Oldman: It’s sort of, what’s the word… zeitgeist? We grow up, don’t we, familiar with or have an idea of what the KGB is?
Saskia Reeves: It’s amazing how we’re not that different, really. You know, all the “on a need-to-know-basis,” which is what you said was lying to Catherine. It’s also on a need-to-know-basis, without upsetting the applecart or disturbing the status quo. That’s what the Russians do. That’s what the Chinese do. We all do it in trying to get one over on each other. And then there’s the the similarities, that these people have been through similar traumas, similar problems: Losing friends, being dominated by particular types of bosses… they share a lot even though they’re Russian and we’re English. They’re like two sides of the same coin. (Laughs) I think there’s probably a Russian Catherine Standing somewhere. Katarina.
Oldman: (Smiles and adopts a heavy Russian accent) Katarina Broz-noz-nee-veech.
Reeves: And she lives in Moscow. (Laughs)
The six-episode second season of the drama premieres globally on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes on Friday, Dec. 2, followed by one new episode each Friday.