The 5 best political thrillers on Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)

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The 5 best political thrillers on Netflix

Office breaks, parties, dates and dinner table conversations are never complete without mentioning politics. What follows is a furious and intense make or break situation where we often find ourselves picking sides, criticising the government, or addressing the daily 24-hour news cycles that form an indispensable part of our mundane existence. 

However, if you are someone who is hoping to immerse themselves in political turmoil without hearing the characteristic debates between Republicans and Democrats, the conservatives and liberals or hearing the ministers scream out empty promises, Netflix’s array of political thrillers might be the best option for you. 

Netflix has a wide variety of political dramas and thrillers that often have a historical significance (Medici: Masters of Florence, Versailles). Besides, they also have a wide array of espionage dramas and Presidential shows where ordinary character is often thrust into the throes of power and must balance their lives efficiently while battling other daunting obstacles. 

If you are craving pure and intensive action against a gripping political backdrop, here are the five best political thriller shows on Netflix: 

The 5 best political thriller shows on Netflix

5. Pine Gap (Greg Haddrick, 2018)

The six-part Australian series is set in the world of intelligence, where the series serves as an expose of the consequences of secrecy. After an unforeseen incident, the American Australian military alliance is threatened as one’s loyalty and perseverance are severely tested. 

Written by Haddrick and Felicity Packard, the show is a pretty intense Aussie drama filled with twists and turns heightened by the clever use of dialogues. A gripping espionage drama, such a brilliant execution is pretty rare in today’s landscape, and Netflix deserves a pat on the back for this production. 

4. Designated Survivor (David Guggenheim, 2016)

Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Adan Canto, Kal Penn, Italia Ricci and more, this three-season drama boasts a compelling narrative, layered characters and gripping conflicts that are laced with high-strung action and unfathomable twists. Sutherland suddenly becomes President after the sitting President is assassinated in a Capitol attack. 

The series focuses on how Sutherland’s character must keep his family together while catering to the needs of his country and dealing with self-doubt while trying to bring justice to the deceased President. Sutherland’s enigmatic screen presence and overall vulnerability and grit in the aftermath of such a volatile event have cemented his role in the hearts of political thriller aficionados. 

3. Bodyguard (Jed Mercurio, 2018)

This six-part limited British series presented a fictional yet riveting story of a herpes war veteran, suffering from severe PTSD, who is assigned to protect the ambitious calculative and powerful Home Secretary. Although he despises the ethics of her politics, David Budd is torn between his beliefs and pledged loyalty as he struggles to keep her safe from the looming threats.  

Starring Richard Madden, Sophie Rundle, Ash Tandon, and Vincent Franklin, Madden does a marvellous job of portraying the volatile and emotional Budd. Masterfully curated, the screenplay is intriguing and is filled with fast-paced and unprecedented twists and action sequences that make it an unforgettable watch. 

2. Borgen (Adam Price, 2010)

This three-season Danish series is a revolution in the Danish television industry, demanding unhinged attention. One of the best political dramas of this decade, the show began streaming on Netflix from 2020 who are interested in producing a fourth season. Starring Sidse Babett Knudson, the show focuses on her ascent to becoming the first-ever female Prime Minister of Denmark, but not without various obstacles and hindrances adorning her path that threaten to shatter all that she has worked hard for. 

It focuses on the politics of gender and power and the complexities that come along with burgeoning responsibility. As she faces betrayal and tension from her cabinet ministers, besides adversaries and lecherous media, she finds herself at the cusp of personal and professional problems while addressing the double standards pertaining to women. The drama exposes the male response to a female in power while discussing the political and dramatic conflicts.  

1. House of Cards (Beau Willimon, 2013)

Starring the likes of disgraced actor Kevin Spacey and legendary thespian Robin Wright in the lead as the cruel and ruthless Underwoods, the series sees how a Democrat and his wife seek vengeance against those who betrayed them while he was ascending the throne.

Adapted from Michael Dobbs’ eponymous 1989 novel, the series is a political thriller that reeks of manipulation, contempt, power, lust and revenge. With 56 Emmy nominations and several other Awards, it is a polarising series that focuses on the lust for power of the Underwoods that is accentuated by Spacey’s searing take on Frank and Wright’s brilliant performance as the calculative and ambitious, Lady Macbeth-like Claire.