‘The Honourable Woman’ episode guide

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Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight) and Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch) star in BBC Two’s new political thriller, The Honourable Woman.

Written, directed and produced by Hugo Blick (The Shadow Line), the eight-part series is set against the present day backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and explores “a range of complex and provocative themes of conflict, deception and betrayal on both a personal, human level as well as on the international and political stage”.

The cast also includes Stephen Rea (The Shadow Line), Lindsay Duncan (The Hollow Crown), Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd), Janet McTeer (The White Queen), Lubna Azabal (Occupation), Tobias Menzies (Game Of Thrones), Genevieve O’Reilly (Spooks) and Igal Naor (House Of Saddam).


Episode 1: ‘The Empty Chair’

Thursday 3 July 2014, 9pm

> Read our review.

Nessa Stein is a beautiful and powerful Anglo-Israeli businesswoman who strives for equality and peace in the Middle East, heading up the powerful Stein Foundation with her brother Ephra.

Nessa’s father was a Zionist arms procurer, and as children, she and her brother Ephra witness his assassination.

As an adult, inheriting her father’s company, she dramatically inverts its purpose from supplying arms to laying high-spec data cabling networks between Israel and the West Bank. Now in her thirties, her sudden appointment as a life peer, apparently due to her tireless promotion of projects for reconciliation between the Israelis and Palestinians, creates an international political maelstrom.

As she receives her ennoblement from the House of Lords, Samir Meshal – a Palestinian businessman with connections to the family – is killed, forcing Nessa and her family to become even more vigilant.

With their actions closely monitored by Whitehall and the secret intelligence agencies, both at home and abroad, tensions increase when Kasim, the young son of Atika, the nanny employed by Ephra, is kidnapped.


Episode 2: ‘The Unfaithful Husband’

Thursday 10 July 2014, 9pm

> Read our review.

With the hunt on for Atika’s son, the head of MI6’s Middle East desk, Sir Hugh Hayden-Hoyle, starts to look into who killed Meshal and why, leading him to be blocked from any further line of enquiry by his boss, Dame Julia Walsh, on the instructions of the CIA.

However, Julia tells him to look in a different direction, which means turning his attention to Nessa.

As more of Nessa’s past is uncovered, including how she and Atika were kidnapped eight years before in Gaza, Nessa receives a mysterious phone call from a man who threatens to divulge secrets from this time in her past.


Episode 3: ‘The Killing Call’

Thursday 17 July 2014, 9pm

> Read our review.

The mysterious phone calls to Nessa become regular, threatening the kidnapped child Kasim’s safety should she not do whatever is asked of her.

Israeli family friend Shlomo Zahary has been rejected by Nessa as a future business partner on the grounds she believes she has uncovered corruption in his past, a charge Shlomo passionately rejects, telling her she is being manipulated to partner a Palestinian business instead of him.

Nathaniel Bloom, Nessa’s security advisor, follows a lead he believes will help him uncover the identity of Kasim’s kidnappers.

However, Nessa is forced to reveal this to her mysterious caller and, in protecting Kasim, has to stand by as Bloom is murdered. Meanwhile, although Hayden-Hoyle is aware of Nessa’s secret past, he is met with a wall of silence by all of Nessa’s associates.

This in turn, however, leads Nessa’s brother Ephra to discover the true identity of Kasim’s father, Saleh Al-Zahid, who is a member of the terrorist cell that kidnapped Atika and Nessa eight years previously.


Episode 4: ‘The Ribbon Cutter’

Thursday 24 July 2014, 9pm

> Read our review.

Going back eight years, we see a younger Hayden-Hoyle making his way to the top of the spy business, courtesy of an affair with current MI6 chief Dame Julia Walsh – who in turn has made a pact with the ambitious Monica Chatwin, who is now eyeing the top job.

We also see how Ephra once controlled the Stein Empire and Nessa’s abduction in Gaza with Atika (then a translator).


Episode 5: ‘Two Hearts’

Thursday 31 July 2014, 9pm

> Read our review.

Nessa discovers a secret which Atika has kept from her, for which she feels a deep betrayal.

At a University in Israel (heavily funded by the Stein family), a computer science professor uncovers a corrupt admissions policy whereby Arab students are being denied places on courses in favour of Israelis.


Episode 6: ‘The Mother Line’

Thursday 7 August 2014, 9pm

> Read our review.

Nessa discovers that it was Ephra who ordered the wiretap; Kasim’s life hangs in the balance as a new Palestinian businessman, Jalal El-Amin, demands a partnership in Nessa’s data cabling business in return for the boy’s safety.

The rejected Israeli Shlomo Zahary, having proved his innocence, starts to investigate exactly how the wiretap was initiated – in tandem with Hayden-Hoyle.

Saleh Al-Zahid (Nessa’s abuser) arrives in London with a deadly purpose.


Episode 7: ‘The Hollow Wall’

Thursday 14 August 2014, 9pm

> Read our review.

Realising Israeli powers had only ever wanted to use the Stein name, company and connections for their own political and intelligence affairs, Nessa angrily forges ahead with the data cabling initiative in partnership with Palestinian Jalal El-Amin.

Separately, Shlomo and Hayden-Hoyle discover the CIA was also aware of the Israeli wiretap and, aided by Monica Chatwin, has managed to covertly piggyback on top of it for their own listening purposes.

Events take a dark course during a visit to the West Bank to launch the latest phase of data cabling.


Episode 8: ‘The Pairing Knife’

Thursday 21 August 2014, 9pm

> Read our review.

Hayden-Hoyle realises that Nessa has been manipulated into becoming a martyr – both by Monica Chatwin on behalf of the Americans, and by Jalal El-Amin.


Watch the trailer…

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