TV Review: Cobra – Cyberwar, Series 2

Even with much of the Kent coastline underwater, Series 2 of Cobra – Cyberwar lacks some of the camp silliness of the first season

“I want that port open again before there’s riots in Tesco”

I rather enjoyed the Spooks-ish thrills of Sky drama Cobra, so new of a second series which aired late last year was certainly welcome, if a little bit of a surprise. And as Ben Richards’ writing ends up cleaving a little closer to reality (I mean, to a point, there’s still a tsunami in Kent…), it proves less of a guilty pleasure and more of a sinking-feeling kinda show.

This time around, a WWII shipwreck full of ammunition is the flashpoint for the tumultuous events that occur when a multi-pronged cyber attack puts several key services under severe threat. There’s political strife once again, not least from a resurgent Labour party and the swaggering far right wing of the Tory party. And as if it couldn’t be any more on the nose, some Ukrainians are assassinated and the most likely suspects are Russian…

Whether deliberate or not, there’s a more serious-minded approach here and that has its pluses and its minuses. I inevitably miss something of the camp thrills, but there’s something undeniable in the show’s account of the way social unrest is so easily fomented by misinformation online, which then metastasises as it impacts real life behaviour too.

Robert Carlyle continues to do OK as PM Robert Sutherland, flailing as the attacks target his personal life (including his wife, the lovely Lucy Cohu) and cause him to strike out at his long-suffering chief of staff (the ever-excellent Victoria Hamilton). Lisa Palfrey does well though as the always-under-pressure Head of the JIC Eleanor James, particularly when she’s sparring with her US counterpart played by Madeleine Potter.

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