New York Times Preview Spies Of Warsaw

The New York Times have published a preview of Spies Of Warsaw, the pre-war spy thriller starring David Tennant that premières in BBC America tonight.

They say: "it’s an enjoyable, straightforward espionage tale without a lot of twists or extra layers."

David Tennant plays Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, a decorated war hero, posted as the French military attaché in Warsaw, who also runs a network of spies. 

The New York Times say:

Col. Jean-François Mercier (David Tennant) is a French military attaché in Warsaw, a widower and wounded World War I hero who in 1920 also fought in a Polish unit against the Red Army. Mercier is modeled closely on de Gaulle, though he is much more handsome, and single and available.

Mercier has a front-row view of Germany’s preparations for war, and they are hard to miss — the border keeps getting closer. As Mercier’s driver puts it, “A man can rise from his bed in Poland, go down to the kitchen and find himself in Germany.”

Mercier knows that war is imminent, but he has to fight denial — or indifference — inside the French Embassy and even back in Paris, where top officers in the Deuxième Bureau ignore or dispute his reports. His one ally is General Beauvilliers (Julian Glover), who shares Mercier’s mistrust of Pétain’s defense strategy and debriefs Mercier on German invasion plans over oysters and choucroute at Brasserie Heininger, the fictional Parisian restaurant that feeds intrigue in many of Mr. Furst’s novels.

In Warsaw, Mercier covertly runs a small network of informants and agents, but his official duties require him to put on the red trousers and glittering epaulets of his dress uniform and attend lavish diplomatic banquets and balls. He is bored by the social whirl, but it brings him to Anna Skarbek (Janet Montgomery), a beautiful lawyer for the League of Nations, who lives with Maxim Mostov (Piotr Baumann), a Russian émigré writer with a deep thirst for vodka.

Mr. Tennant (“Dr. Who”) is reserved, cool and quite believable as Mercier, a man scarred by combat and bereavement; he is plausible even as a French country gentleman turned spymaster. 

The first part of Spies Of Warsaw can be seen on BBC America tonight at 9pm/8c


  1. The amount of errors in the NY Times review made me write their corrections department.


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