The Last Post, Season One (2017)

Reviewer: Charity Bishop

I wasn't sure what to expect tuning in to this program, but it started out a drama, shifted into a kidnapping plot, and then became suspenseful and tense in its second half.

Captain Joe Martin (Jeremy Neumark Jones) has just arrived in Aden with his innocent, cheerful wife, Honor (Jessie Buckley), to replace a retiring captain. His departure is a serious disappointment for alcoholic Alison Laithwaite (Jessica Raine), who has kept their adulterous affair under wraps (or so she thinks)... but it has not escaped the notice of Mary Markham (Amanda Drew), whose husband Harry (Ben Miles) has to on occasion take a hard approach to Yeomen prisoners. He and Ed Laithwaite (Stephen Campbell Moore) disagree on mistreating and interrogating their enemies. Well aware of his wife's affair, Ed is on hand to comfort her when the captain dies in a terrorist explosion. The locals want them to pull out, and will stop at nothing to force the British into full retreat... even if it means hitting them where it hurts.

As the series unfolds, our initial perspectives on characters shift as we see their true self; there's a lot of selfless, heroic people involved and the show doesn't shy away from confronting the hard issues in front of them. It debates the worth of a child's life, and a desperate attempt to save someone, which leads to a court martial; it asks hard questions about forgiveness and love (Ed loves his wife so much, he would leave her if he thought it would make her happy), and military operations. It touches on being stationed in hostile territories, the difficulty and loss of separation from loved ones, and issues of rank. It also has strong relationship bonds between its female characters, who hold their own with their army husbands and are complex, nuanced characters.

There is a palpable sense of tension and fear throughout, but also sweeter and funnier moments to offset it. The series is mostly tasteful (apart from one early scene) and it was nice to not hear a bombardment of foul language for once. I found myself immersed in these people's lives, on the edge of my seat in several episodes, and full of regret when I reached the end. That's it?! I want more! The acting is wonderful, the setting atmospheric, and the emotions rich and deep. I hope its renewed!

Sexual Content:
The pilot has a graphic, rather long adulterous sex scene; an episode toward the end has brief backside nudity as a man is stripped and searched in prison; some innuendo.
5 f-words (three said by a child); 6 uses of Jesus' name as an exclamation. 
Frequent conflict between Arabs and British (bombs go off, firepower rips through enemy combatants, men are shot at close range, severed heads stuck on pikes in the sand, people are tortured for information and beaten up in prison -- mostly off-screen).

One character is an alcoholic who begs her doctor for an abortion (she's having twins).