Both MI5 and its agents have a distinct image in fiction and reality. But the CIA has a side that people don’t frequently learn about, one that goes beyond the posh headquarters and suit-clad agents that they are known for. Slow Horses, an espionage thriller on Apple TV+, sheds light on this lesser-known MI5 division and offers an alternative viewpoint on intelligence officers.
These Slough Housers may not be your typical (fictionalized) elegantly dressed, erect, hard-to-crack, charming, and stiff-upper-lip agents. However, they are all talented and competent enough to tackle even the most difficult assignments. Even though they ended up in Slough House due to unfortunate circumstances, they can consistently demonstrate their worth.
The series, which debuted in April 2022, centers on a group of MI5-rejected failed intelligence agents who were sentenced to spend the remainder of their careers in purgatory at the abandoned Slough House department. The narrative is based on the Slough House novel series by British novelist Mick Herron, which includes Jackson Lamb as a prominent and recurrent character in both the books and the streaming series. Slow Horses Season 2 follows these operatives back for another suspenseful mission, this time to stop a group of Russian sleeper agents from spreading havoc on the United Kingdom, following the success of their initial mission as seen in the first season.
Slow Horses Cast: Who Plays Who in Season 2 of The Spy Thriller?
The first two episodes of the second season of the spy thriller series Slow Horses are currently streaming on Apple TV+.
This season features the dynamic duo of Gary Oldman and Jack Lowden as Jackson Lamb and River Cartwright, respectively, and is based on the second of Mick Herron’s best-selling Slough House novels, Dead Lions.
Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb
One of the main characters of Herron’s works, Jackson Lamb can be found in both the Slow Horses and Slough House series. Although he is the head of Slough House, he is not at all what you would anticipate a senior, seasoned agent to be. Lamb is maybe the most resentful and disillusioned worker you have ever seen, but there is more to him than meets the eye. Most of the time, he’s inebriated, a slob, always looking unkempt, and unconcerned about his work. But his outward appearance runs counter to his keen observational abilities and spider-sense. Even though he often gives his teammates bad advice, he does care about them—at least, he has since the first season.
Award-winning actor and director Gary Oldman as Jackson Lamb, and he appears to fit in like a glove in this wretched boss role—just as he did in the very different spy picture Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where he played George Smiley. Oldman is renowned for his remarkable acting career in films and television from his debut in Remembrance in 1982. He has won Academy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA awards. His most well-known performances include Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series, James Gordon in the Dark Knight trilogy, the voice of A Christmas Carol, and his Darkest Hour Oscar award for Best Actor in 2017. Unbeknownst to many about his career, Oldman has also starred in Guns N’ Roses and David Bowie music videos. The next role in the July 2023 release of the biopic Oppenheimer will be played by Gary Oldman.
Kristin Scott Thomas as Diana Taverner
Although she’s not M, she’s still tough. Diana Taverner leads MI5’s operations under the codename “Second Desk” and is the deputy director general. She oversees Slough House’s projects and was also a former colleague of Lamb’s. The complete opposite of Slough House, she is in charge of the agency’s swankier, higher-ranking squad, which is comprised of accomplished, elite field agents. Diana Taverner “has no redeeming quality” and “will stop at nothing” to obtain what she wants, according to an interview with Collider. She is where she is and Lamb is not because she is strong and steely.
In the film Darkest Hour, Kristin Scott Thomas, a five-time BAFTA nominee, plays Diana Taverner, a character she reunites with her co-star, Gary Oldman. In Four Weddings and a Funeral, Scott Thomas made her breakthrough performance for which she was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. In addition, she has received praise for her roles in Sarah’s Key, Gosford Park, Nowhere Boy, The English Patient, and I’ve Loved You So Long. The next film featuring Scott Thomas is called My Mother’s Wedding, which she also wrote the screenplay for and is directing for the first time.
Jack Lowden as River Cartwright
It’s possible to argue that Cartwright is to blame for the recent upheaval in Slough House, which was previously quiet. Following a disastrous training operation, the promising MI5 spy is banished to Slough House. However, as one might anticipate, the eager and youthful agent is not suited for a menial, paper-pushing position; instead, he would want to be in the field taking on difficult assignments. In his despair, he finds a menace that might endanger the country—or perhaps the entire planet. Cartwright organizes the other Slough House agents and devises a plan to neutralize the threat to demonstrate his worth as an agent and get back to his rightful place. He returns to his club in the second season in an attempt to avert yet another disaster. However, he remains an integral component of Slough House.
Jack Lowden is portraying River Cartwright. After becoming well-known for the BBC miniseries War & Peace, he played a significant part in Christopher Nolan’s epic thriller Dunkirk. In addition, he starred in television shows like Small Axe and The Long Song, as well as other well-known films including Capone, Benediction, and Mary Queen of Scots.
Saskia Reeves as Catherine Standish
Catherine Standish appears frequently in the majority of the Slough House stories in Herron’s book series. She handles all the odd chores at the workplace and serves as both Lamb’s secretary and the office administrator at Slough House. Catherine is a well-known recovered alcoholic who has endured long-term abuse at the hands of her employer in addition to personal trauma that contributed to her alcoholism. We got a taste of this woman’s personality and character from the first season. Even though she and Lamb despise one another, they also share a peculiar affection. This becomes clear in the first season when Lamb appears to watch out for her after a perilous expedition. Her persona is characterized as “not glamorous, struggling, with full of secrets and opportunities” in an interview with Collider.
The actress portraying Catherine Standish is Saskia Reeves. The British actor gained notoriety for his parts in several television shows, including Shetland, Luther, Silent Witness, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Midsomer Murders. In addition, Reeves is well-known for her parts in motion pictures, including Our Kind of Traitor and Close My Eyes.
Jonathan Pryce as David Cartwright
In addition to being River’s grandfather, David was a retired MI5 agent. The only thing we know about him is that he and Lamb have a strange past. According to the novels, David is a bit of a legend in MI5 and has been raising River ever since his mother abandoned him. Thus, we may anticipate learning more about David’s past as an agent and a father figure in the upcoming second season.
Sir Jonathan Pryce, a seasoned actor, portrays David Cartwright. Pryce’s breakout performance in Brazil is what made him most famous, followed by roles in Evita, Tomorrow Never Dies, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, The Two Popes, and many more. His most well-known television roles are from Taboo, Tales from the Loop, Game of Thrones, and other shows. In addition to appearing in Scrooge: A Christmas Carol and One Life, Pryce will be seen in The Crown Season 6 and reprise his role as Prince Phillip in Season 5.
Olivia Cooke as Sid Baker
Surprisingly skilled MI5 agent Sidonie “Sid” Baker is assigned to watch over River Cartwright at Slough House when she could be with the other top agents in Regent’s Park headquarters (spoiler alert). Sid’s adventure comes to an end in the first season when she either passes away or is, in the words of her coworkers, “made to disappear.” However, Sid survives for a few books in the books and then comes back. Olivia Cooke, a well-known actor from TV shows like Bates Motel and Vanity Fair, as well as movies like Ready Player One and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, portrays Sidonie Baker. Cooke currently has a significant role in the House of the Dragon spin-off series of Game of Thrones. Her next scheduled role is in the upcoming movie Mother’s Milk.
Other roles include that of Freddie Fox as James “Spider” Webb, a high-ranking MI5 agent from the Regent’s Park office, Samuel West as right-wing Conservative politician Peter Judd MP, and Chris Reilly as Nick Duffy, the head of MI5’s internal affairs and its tactical section known as “The Dogs”.
“Slow Horses,” an espionage thriller on Apple TV+, delves into the lesser-known MI5 division, Slough House. Season 2, based on Mick Herron’s novels, follows rejected agents led by the unconventional Jackson Lamb, played by Gary Oldman. The cast, including Kristin Scott Thomas and Jack Lowden, delivers a fresh take on intelligence work, blending talent and dysfunction.