REVIEW: ‘In From The Cold’ is a lukewarm spy thriller

REVIEW: ‘In From The Cold’ is a lukewarm spy thriller
“In From The Cold” is on Netflix. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 February 2022

REVIEW: ‘In From The Cold’ is a lukewarm spy thriller

REVIEW: ‘In From The Cold’ is a lukewarm spy thriller
  • Great fight scenes are let down by a patchy plot in Netflix’s new series

LONDON: The spy thriller genre is becoming something of a crowded space — most of the streaming platforms have at least one marquee title (think “Jack Ryan,” “Hanna,” “Treadstone” and their ilk) — so it’s a little surprising to see Netflix giving the green light to another IP built around espionage and shady dealings.

“In From The Cold” introduces viewers to Jenny, a recently divorced mom chaperoning her daughter on a trip to Madrid, who suddenly finds herself whisked away by the CIA, who believe her to be a Russian operative with a skillset vital to unpicking a terrorist plot. But they’ve made a huge mistake, Jenny insists. She’s just a normal mom trying to enjoy some much-needed time with her daughter.

It wouldn’t be much of a show if that was the case, however, so soon enough, Jenny is dusting off her Black Widow-esque spy suit and agreeing to infiltrate a Spanish terrorist cell. It kicks of an eight-part story that veers from gritty streetfight to gritty streetfight, via a few tense standoffs and a couple of double crosses.

Showrunner, creator, writer and executive producer Adam Glass (who has writing and producing credits on “Criminal Minds” and “Supernatural” among others) alternates between Jenny’s present-day adventures and her teenage training in Soviet Russia. It’s an effective plot device as details of Jenny’s past click into focus during her Spanish escapades. The action is decent too, with some excellently choreographed fight scenes between Jenny (Margarita Levieva) and pretty much everybody else in Madrid.

It’s a shame, then, that the story and the dialog are so woeful. Glass mashes up elements of every Cold War Soviet cliché with tropes from every shady CIA movie, and sketches out a two-dimensional supporting cast with little to do other than offer up exposition. Levieva and Stasya Miloslavskaya (as Jenny’s teenage self) are great, but they struggle to raise “In From The Cold” above the mundane.

In a genre that’s getting increasingly crowded, the twists and turns of Glass’s show do little to make it stand out.