Review of the “The Little Drummer Girl” by John LeCarré–the Television Series

“The Little Drummer Girl” by John LeCarré, was reworked into a televised series of 6 episodes. Since John LeCarré is at the top of my favorite authors list, I decided to watch this. I was not disappointed. This was a very entertaining adaptation of a great story.

“The Little Drummer Girl” concerns a low level actress who is recruited by Israeli Intelligence to infiltrate a group of Palestinian terrorists. She is recruited because of her acting skills, and her slightly leftist past provides a possible infiltration strategy. Her infiltration is successful, but conflicts over the risk she must take versus the benefits of the information she may provide increase as the series progresses. Also, she may have a love attraction with her control in Israeli intelligence as well as with some of her Palestinian contacts.

I was riveted for 6 hours watching this. Michael Shannon was particularly chilling as the Israeli agent orchestrating this operation. The other acting was highly professional, but just not standout for me. I felt there was some confusion at the beginning of the series as to what was happening. The fact that I had read “The Little Drummer Girl” some time ago helped me to follow the plot, but I imagine someone not familiar with LeCarré’s work might find it difficult to keep up with what is going on. The beginning seemed pretty true to LeCarré’s story, but the ending seemed quite different from what I had remembered from the book. It was still very much a LeCarré ending, however, albeit somewhat foggy and a little bit confusing.

Overall, this was an outstanding effort. If you are a fan of LeCarré’s brand of story, you will find this a great ride.


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