Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

New review: The Honourable Woman

Electronic Intifada, 12th September 2014

The title, like much of the series, seems deliberately multi-faceted. Does it refer to the ennoblement of central character Nessa Stein (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal), a British-Israeli businesswoman elevated to the British House of Lords for her efforts towards “peace in the Middle East?” The term “honorable” has overtones of the British House of Commons, where Members of Parliament address one another as “the honorable member.”
Or does it refer to Nessa’s stubborn adherence to her principles in the face of corruption and double-dealing (a key theme)? Is there a nod to John Le Carre’s 1977 spy novel The Honourable Schoolboy, since many of the series’ tropes seem to draw on his work, as well as on-screen inspirations such as Homeland and (less salubriously) long-running BBC spy drama Spooks?

The full review is here.

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