Much like a great true-crime series, nothing gets the heart pumping harder than a solid political drama. We don’t know whether it’s the dark underbelly of politics mixed with corruption and a conspiracy theory here or there or the uncanny parallels we can see in real-life political life. Whatever it is, it's juicy, addictive and we love to binge it.
Check out the best political shows on Netflix.
If you haven’t yet sunk your teeth into the intense show that is Designated Survivor, boy do you have a good few seasons to catch up on. We love the plot for this one which revolves around a very true government back-up in the US in which a government official (the Designated Survivor) is chosen to stay at an undisclosed secure location, away from events such as State of the Union addresses and presidential inaugurations just in case anything should go wrong. We know—juicy.
Set in and around the corridors of power, Bodyguard tells the fictional story of David Budd (Richard Madden), a heroic, but volatile war veteran now working as a Specialist Protection Officer for the Royalty and Specialist Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service. When he is assigned to protect the ambitious and powerful Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes), Budd finds himself torn between his duty and a few other distractions.
This six-part political thriller is based on an American and Australia joint defence intelligence facility at Pine Gap, which just so happens to be a real place in the Northern Territory. The idea for this one is loosely based on truth, with Pine Gap quite literally a US satellite surveillance base. The show itself (we love the most because its Aussie made) follows the lives of the people who live and work at the facility as analysts and the crumbling relationships on the ground that begins to separate the historically strong alliance.
We’re going to assume you’ve done yourself a favour and already watched the first cracker season of Netflix’s The Politician because season two is here and bringing some crazy energy (but if not, the series basically follows the story of Payton Hobart, a wealthy Santa Barbaran, and each season revolves around a different political race his character is involved in). This time around, Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) fights to unseat Dede Standish (Judith Light) in the New York State Senate race. As a long-time incumbent and greatly admired Senate Majority Leader with no-nonsense Chief of Staff, Hadassah Gold (Bette Midler) at her side, Dede’s re-election was supposed to be easy, but Payton, who sees this as the next step on his path to the Presidency, must decide what kind of politician he ultimately wants to be in order to succeed.
Beneath the placid facade of Canberra lies a “Secret City’” of dangerous deals and divided loyalties, lies and opportunism. As a city Harriet Dunkley generally thinks she knows (she’s a senior political journalist), she forces and sneaks her way closer to the truth of a number of stories in Canberra. But as Harriet discovers, there’s a conspiracy that threatens her career, her life and endangers the freedom of every Australian. This one's a bit of an underrated gem and we’d go so far as to say it kept us more on our seats than House of Cards ever could (and that’s a big call we’re willing to back).
For those who love a little Scandi-intrigue, multi-award winning show Borgen definitely needs to be added to your watch list, stat. From the producers of The Killing, Borgen follows the rise of first female Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg and the machinations of those within and outside of her circle. Blending compelling political intrigue with unexpected twists and turns this Nordic Noir drama will keep you on the edge of your seat. Watch out for some exemplary acting from a young Pilou Asbæk, better known as the thoroughly unpleasant Euron Greyjoy in Game of Thrones. Pro tip: Enable subtitles to get a deep appreciation for the Danish language and a real feel for the action as it was intended.
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Image credit: Netflix