Informer, a little known gem on Prime, is one of the most satisfying dramas we’ve watched in a while. The show opens with an anonymous public shooting in a coffee shop in London, England. Cut to a courtroom with Witness K unable to reveal much about the incident or the accused, given issues of security or confidentiality. Then cue “One year earlier” and the story begins to unfold. Although the plot’s confusing (turning on subtitles to decipher the British accents might help), it is engrossing: members of a counterterrorism unit aim, by any means, sometimes regardless of morals or ethics, to track down terrorists, to avert attacks.
Gabe, aka Witness K, is a cynical, counterterrorist officer who coerces Raza, a second-generation British Pakistani man, into becoming an informer, by threatening to deport his illegal immigrant mother. Raza must befriend an African Muslim (Dadir) to find out what he knows about the murder of his brother, a valued informant of Gabe’s. Nabhaan Rizwan (Raza) delivers a magnetic performance, balancing his personas of a rogue from the projects, a protective older brother and a snitch in training, as he ingratiates himself with Muslims and Albanians.
Set in the gritty streets of London’s East End, this espionage thriller, with multiple twists and turns, also treats race, class and immigration. Dadir, for instance, initially presents as a drug dealer, yet his character exposes racial profiling. When Gabe revisits his former undercover identity, we glimpse the disturbing world of working-class, white supremacists. As one reviewer wrote: “The Informer uses the melting pot of modern Britain to underscore the issues still front and centre there.”
The BBC is “incredibly proud” of Informer: “it had a multicultural cast … and attempted to combat stereotypes about Muslims and Islamophobia.” Unfortunately, audience numbers didn’t warrant a second season. Informer deserves a top rating of ♦♦♦♦♦.