Netflix’s Treason: Is the TV Show Inspired by Real Life?

Netflix’s ‘Treason’ is a thriller series created by Matt Charman. It stars Charlie Cox (‘Daredevil‘) as Adam Lawrence, the deputy to the Chief of MI6. However, when the Chief is suddenly poisoned and hospitalized, Adamis is forced to step up and replace his boss. Soon, Adam finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy related to one of his past missions and sees his family threatened by his actions. The fast-paced espionage thriller is well-balanced with dark secrets, hidden motivations, and family drama. Therefore, viewers must be curious to learn about the show’s inspiration. If you are wondering whether ‘Treason’ is based on a true story, here is everything you need to know!

Treason is an Original Work of Fiction

‘Treason’ is the brainchild of Matt Charman. The screenwriter rose to prominence by creating the police procedural drama ‘Black Work.’ However, Charman is best known for his work as the co-screenwriter on the Academy Award-winning spy drama ‘Bridge of Spies,’ directed by Steven Spielberg. In an interview with Why Now, Charman opened up about the conceptualization of ‘Treason’ and revealed his experiences while writing ‘Bridge of Spies,’ a real-life inspired historical drama movie about CIA agents during the Cold War. However, ‘Treason’ is not directly based on any real incidents.

He explained that writing ‘Bridge of Spies’ and working with Steven Spielberg opened up the idea of writing a story in the espionage genre. “Out of those meetings, it became really clear to me that there was a fascinating story to be told with a spy who was in charge of his country’s secrets, but also was a father, a husband, and a family man, and how those two roles would compete,” Charman stated. As a result, Charman wanted to create a grounded narrative revolving around a spy that explores his human side.

Furthermore, Charman explained that he wanted to keep the show’s narrative grounded and wanted the viewers to believe what they were saying. As a result, he approached the narrative from the audience’s perspective. “Not everything can be done with smart bombs and keystrokes, you need people who can actually get into a place, get some information. That’s why it has to be grounded,” the creator said about avoiding the use of genre tropes on the show.

In the show, the conspiracy Adam uncovers is related to the leadership election. The plot thread shares some semblance with reality. In the show, Audrey Gratz, the Foreign Secretary, is campaigning to become the Prime Minister. In reality, Liz Truss, the real-life Foreign Secretary of the UK, was also in the running for the Prime Minister’s position. Charman explained the similarity by stating, “It’s weird, but it’s kind of gratifying because maybe we are in conversation with the world we’re living in.”

From the creator’s words, we can deduce that the show treads the fine line between reality and fiction by staying true to its characters and the themes it tackles. The family drama surrounding Adam, his wife, and his children, forms the emotional core of the plot. However, some plot threads are reflections of the socio-political climate in the real world.

Ultimately, ‘Treason’ is not based on a true story. The series tells a fictional story revolving around an MI6 agent. It tackles the duality of the spy profession and explores how it can affect a person’s personal life. The narrative’s focus on building realistic relationships allows the viewers to connect with the characters. Moreover, it takes a grounded approach to the espionage genre by focusing on the consequences instead of the action-packed elements. Hence, despite being fictional, ‘Treason’ is rooted in reality.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s Treason Filmed?