I find it extremely bizarre that so little is being said about The Widow online. It’s an Amazon series, it stars a huge movie star in Kate Beckinsale, and it’s got a high-concept premise (a woman travels to Africa to find her missing husband). Also, it’s not a bad show. Far from it – it’s actually quite excellent!
The show’s pilot serves as a strong start for the series, and subsequent episodes are packed with jaw-dropping twists and sprawling mysteries. In fact, no one on this show is safe (there’s a Game of Thrones vibe to how mercilessly characters are killed off), and that helps imbue the show with a palpable sense of danger. It also helps that that production values are spectacular. Shot on location in South Africa (although the series takes place in The Democratic Republic of the Congo), this is one gorgeous looking show. Amazon spared no expense to create a sense of place with this one, and that lends an authentic feel coupled with the magnificent (and very chilling) musical score.
As the star of the show, Kate Beckinsale is tremendous. In fact, I would love to see the actress tackle more TV projects since the film world hasn’t served her too well in recent years. She can obviously kick ass (as evidenced by her turns in Total Recall and the Underworld movies), but she can also convey a whole lot of emotional depth. Her character, Georgia Wells, is remarkably steadfast in her mission to uncover the truth, and that makes for a really empowering protagonist. Beckinsale is tasked with a particularly challenging role, and her performance is gut-wrenching right till the end.
Beckinsale is also surrounded by a first-rate cast. Thrones‘ Charles Dance adds a whole lot of gravitas as Georgia’s confidante Martin Benson; although he’s not her father, he’s the closest thing she has to family and that makes their dynamic extremely heartwarming. Also turning in superb performances are Alex Kingston as aide worker Judith Gray (who has some secrets of her own), and Olafur Olafsson as a mysterious blind man called Ariel. Another standout is a young Shalom Nyandiko as a child soldier called Adidja; I won’t say much about her character arc but it’s a predictably powerful one.
The Widow also has a perfect length of eight episodes. It kept me guessing every step of the way making it perfect for bingewatching (I finished it in under 48 hours). Limited series tend to live or die based on the quality of their endings, and I can safely say that the conclusion to this journey is a wholly satisfying one.
A suspenseful and electrifying thriller with a fantastic star and incredible production values.