Who is Greg Simmonds in Slow Horses? Why Does He Get Hassan Ahmed Kidnapped?

‘Slow Horses’ follows the less-than-spectacular team of British intelligence agents of Slough House. MI5’s lackluster sister agency is where agents who have made career-ending mistakes are sent while their competent counterparts remain at the central headquarters and take care of “important matters.” However, the Slow Horses of Slough House never seem too far from the action, and the kidnapping of young Hassan Ahmed lands them in the eye of the storm.

As the web of lies, deceit, and covert operations slowly unfolds, a number of shadowy figures are introduced. You might have heard mention of “Simmonds,” who seems to be pulling some particularly ominous strings. Here’s everything you need to know about Greg Simmonds from ‘Slow Horses.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.

Who is Greg Simmonds in Slow Horses?

Greg Simmonds (Christopher Villiers) is a wealthy businessman with right-wing views who is introduced in episode 1 when Sid walks into a darkened office to see River watching videos of him. The videos show Simmonds making loud proclamations of “keeping Britain for the British,” which are essentially part of his anti-minority rant. It is slowly revealed that Simmonds has actually been getting an increasing amount of support.

However, River is seemingly watching the video as part of his investigation into the disgraced right-wing reporter, Robert Hobden. It is also mentioned a few times (by River and later by Diana Taverner) that Simmonds has been funding right-wing extremist groups. However, it is only when Hassan Ahmed is kidnapped that it becomes clear just how “extreme” the groups Simmonds is funding actually are.

Simmonds also appears to have some high-level connections to the intelligence community because he actually knows that Alan Black is an undercover MI5 agent. In fact, it is Simmonds who orchestrates the kidnapping and later informs Curly that Moe (aka Alan Black) is actually an undercover agent. However, Alan’s brutal murder cannot be attributed to Simmonds because he actually orders the rest of the kidnappers to merely leave. Unfortunately, Curly takes matters into his own hands and decapitates the agent, setting off a chain of chaotic events that find the Slow Horses on the run from the team at MI5.

Why Does Greg Simmonds Get Hassan Ahmed Kidnapped?

Through his speeches, Simmonds makes his views quite clear. His populist approach and atrocious calls to remove immigrants from Britain make River shudder, and the MI5 actually keeps quite a close watch on the businessman. In fact, it is also revealed that Diana Taverner has actually stood by and allowed Hassan’s kidnapping to occur in order to turn public opinion against right-wing extremists.

Simmonds gets Hassan Ahmed kidnapped to send a “message” to immigrants and anyone who doesn’t support his extreme calls to action. By threatening to behead Hassan on a live internet video, Simmonds’ kidnappers send the entire country into a frenzy. However, it is worth keeping in mind that Simmonds doesn’t really want Hassan killed because he, too, understands that a cold-blooded murder will turn public opinion against his side.

Additionally, the kidnappers hired by Simmonds are revealed to be amateurs, having never committed a serious crime before. Funnily enough, the undercover MI5 agent is the only one in the group who claims to have killed a person (until, of course, Curly kills him). Ultimately, it appears that Simmonds orchestrates the kidnapping to rally the extremist right-wing elements amongst his supporters without actually killing anyone. Unfortunately, his “plan” goes seriously wrong.

Read More: Is Slow Horses Based on a True Story?