‘Slow Horses’ follows a team of disgraced British intelligence agents who, for a variety of career-ending mistakes, find themselves relegated to the “Slough House” branch of MI5. Housed in a decrepit building under the thumb of their miserable (but highly accomplished) boss Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman), the team gets assigned the most lackluster assignments imaginable.
This makes it all the more exciting when a brutal, potentially fatal kidnapping falls into the lap of the Slough House team, prompting them (and even a reluctant Jackson) into action. So what is the story behind Hassan Ahmed’s kidnapping? And is he still alive? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is Hassan Ahmed Dead or Alive?
Hassan’s kidnapping and the subsequent threat by his kidnappers to behead the young man on a live online video stream instantly puts a dark pall over the otherwise comedic tone of the show. However, things are merely getting started, and even as the kidnappers identify themselves as an extremist nationalist group called the Sons of Albion, the “Slow Horses” are hot on the trail of a potential lead.
Of course, the lead, which happens to be the disgraced right-wing journalist Robert Hobden, proves to be craftier than expected, making it difficult to find out just how much he knows. All this time, Hassan’s life hangs in the balance, and his abductors’ threat to behead him the following morning hangs heavy. It is particularly ominous that the kidnappers do not demand any form of ransom, making their threat to kill their victim all the more believable.
For a while, it appears Hassan might escape when he finds a passage out of the basement he is held captive in. However, he is recaptured moments before he can get away and is then held in the same room as the kidnappers. Things get sinister when one of the kidnappers, Curly, appears to want to kill Hassan before the designated hour. However, the end of episode 3 reveals that Curly actually beheads one of the other kidnappers, Moe, instead of Hassan.
Despite the dangerous position Hassan is in, it seems like the young man will not be killed. Since a bigger plot seems to be at play behind the kidnapping, it is important for MI5 to ensure that Hassan is rescued. Additionally, even the nationalist politician Peter Judd, who is known for his far-right rhetoric, doesn’t want the nationalist group to go ahead with the killing because it would make public perception hostile against the right-wing movement. Thus, there are some powerful forces that seem to want Hassan alive.
Why is Hassan Ahmed Kidnapped?
Initially, it appears that Hassan is kidnapped because of his amateur stand-up comedy routine, which makes references to various religions. However, subsequent episodes reveal that Hassan’s kidnapping actually has much deeper motives and is masterminded by none other than the head of the MI5’s second desk, Diana Taverner!
Apparently, Hassan is the nephew of Mahmud Gul, a Pakistani intelligence agent. Thus, the young man is specifically hand-picked by Diana to be kidnapped so that the MI5 can subsequently rescue him and improve ties with Mahmud Gul and hopefully receive valuable information from Pakistani intelligence. Diana also has a secondary motive for getting Hassan kidnapped by a nationalist group which involves shifting public opinion against hardline right-wing extremists, which is precisely what Peter Judd is afraid of.
Read More: Is Slow Horses Based on a True Story?