Is Treason on Netflix based on a true story?

Charlie Cox in Treason on NetflixNetflix

Is Treason based on a true story? Charlie Cox’s nail-biting, twist-filled MI6 thriller is one of the most popular shows on Netflix right now, but is it based on real events?

Created by Matt Charman, who wrote the Oscar-nominated Bridge of Spies, Treason stars Cox as Adam Lawrence, an MI6 operator forced to the top of the food chain after somebody tries to kill the chief (Ciarán Hinds).

“But when the past catches up with him in the form of Kara, a Russian spy with whom he shares a complicated past, he is forced to question everything and everyone in his life,” the synopsis reads.

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With the show arriving on Netflix on Boxing Day, viewers may be wondering: is Treason based on a true story?

Is Treason based on a true story?

Treason isn’t based on a specific true story – however, the plot and characters are inspired by the showrunner’s research into MI6 and the “everyday” operatives at the agency.

When asked if Cox’s Adam was based on a real person, Matt Charman explained in a press release: “Through different projects before this, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a couple of people who work in the intelligence services.

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“People who have been operatives, and what’s always struck me about those in that line of work is how brilliantly they fit into everyday life – how well and easy it would be to meet them at a party or sit next to them on the tube, have a little chat with them and not know what they do for a living.

“These are people who aren’t just good at pretending to be part of us, they are part of us. They’re drawn from our world and our society.

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“I wanted Adam to feel that way; I wanted him to feel like someone you might have gone to university with or who you might have bumped into in a supermarket or a book shop. He had to feel real and relatable and fallible, and that was my starting point for him.”

As for the story, Carman strove to make it feel grounded, compared to the James Bond approach to espionage. “That was the biggest part of this show for me,” he explained.

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“I love Bond movies but a lot of the time when we watch spy stories on film and TV they don’t feel real to us. They feel a little elevated but I wanted this to feel like we could imagine this guy going to work, we could imagine what he was doing and the toll it takes on him, then he comes home and he has to have dinner with his kids and not tell them a thing. That’s real and it happens to people.”

Treason is available to watch on Netflix now. You can find out more about the show here.

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