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CITADEL  |  Prime  |  April 28, 2023

Starring:  Richard Madden, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Stanley Tucci, Lesley Manville, Ashleigh Cummings, Roland Møller, Osy Ikhile, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Caoilinn Springall

Executive Producers:  Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Mike Larocca, Angela Russo-Otstot, Scott Nemes, David Weil, Josh Applebaum, André Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Newton Thomas Sigel and Patrick Moran

Eight years ago, Citadel fell. The independent global spy agency—tasked to uphold the safety and security of all people—was destroyed by operatives of Manticore, a powerful syndicate manipulating the world from the shadows. With Citadel’s fall, elite agents Mason Kane (Richard Madden) and Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) had their memories wiped as they narrowly escaped with their lives. They’ve remained hidden ever since, building new lives under new identities, unaware of their pasts. Until one night, when Mason is tracked down by his former Citadel colleague, Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci), who desperately needs his help to prevent Manticore from establishing a new world order. Mason seeks out his former partner, Nadia, and the two spies embark on a mission that takes them around the world in an effort to stop Manticore, all while contending with a relationship built on secrets, lies, and a dangerous-yet-undying love. 


Citadel has everything fans of the spy thriller genre could want, from showstopping action sequences, an intricate story full of danger and mystery, and the star power of Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas to bring to life the new exciting series from Amazon Prime Video.


Spy thrillers are one of the most exciting subgenres of the action genre due to the exotic locations, exciting action sequences, exhilarating stories, and unforgettable characters. Over the decades, the likes of James Bond, Ethan Hunt and Jason Bourne have thrilled audiences with dazzling adventures while capturing the culture at the time of each film. Hoping to find the next big series, Amazon Prime Video and the Russo Brothers introduce audiences to a new world of secret agents and espionage with Citadel, evoking memories of some of the greatest spy thrillers that audiences have seen in the past. And while it’s too early to tell if the season will stick the landing, the first three episodes of Citadel begin an exciting adventure full of mystery, twists and turns, and great action sequences that are certain to entertain.


Mason Kane and Nadia Sinh are two of Citadel’s best agents, a top secret, global spy agency. However, after the agency is betrayed by one of their own, Citadel is whipped off the map with both Kane and Sinh losing their memories of their lives. Years later, Kane is discovered by one of the few surviving members of Citadel and pulled back into the field to stop the powerful criminal syndicate, Manticore, from obtaining Citadel’s lost secrets. But with no memory of his past, Kane must follow his instincts to protect his family as he fights for his survival and to discover who betrayed Citadel all those years ago.


There is a massive scope to Citadel with high intensity action sequences, various international locations, and an intricate story of espionage, double agents and betrayal. The story itself is interesting, being a mix of the mystery of the Jason Bourne films, the technology and intensity of the Mission: Impossible films, and the style of the James Bond series. In creating a spy thriller, drawing inspiration from these films is a good start, but creator David Weil brings a new story to the genre. There are lots of surprises and shocking reveals in the first three episodes alone, leaving the audience question where each character’s allegiance truly lies as Kane searches for the truth about who betrayed Citadel years before, while trying to prevent Manticore from getting its hands on Citadel’s top secret information. The first episodes shows that fateful day for Citadel with an exciting set piece set on a high speed train through the Italian alps, with the remaining two episodes jumping back and forth between the present, showing Manticore’s quest to uncover Citdael’s secrets and Kane’s reintegration back into the espionage game; and the past, exploring the relationship between Kane and Sinh and the events leading up to the fall of Citadel. With a run time of approximately forty minutes per episode, the writers waste no time getting to the point, keeping a quick pace throughout the episodes and deliver a great combination of action, character development and pieces of the mystery as to who betrayed Citadel. And with still half a season to go, and an already renewed second season, the creative team clearly has a lot more story still to tell before all their cards are on the table.


Leading the show is Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, and they are two charming and capable leads for this high concept spy thriller. Madden himself is the epitome of a leading man, making an excellent Mason Kane. Bringing a brute force to the role during the action sequences, Madden also brings a vulnerability to Kane as his character struggles to piece together his past while finding himself in the middle of a world that he forgot exists. It is a strong performance that creates the emotional core of the show, while acting as a great audition piece for Madden to become the next James Bond. On the other hand, Chopra-Jonas is good as Nadia Sinh. She does not have the acting caliber of Madden, but she captures the intrigue and strength of her character easily. The strength of her performance is the air of mystery surrounding her character, as it is clear that Sinh is withholding vital information from Kane about why Citadel fell during their final mission. As a pairing, Madden and Chopra-Jones have an undeniable romantic chemistry that underpins their characters’ individual stories, helping to fuel the mystery as to who betrayed Citadel, as it could have easily been one of them. Rounding out the main cast is Stanley Tucci and Lesley Manville, both of whom are great. Tucci brings some levity to the series as one of the surviving Citadel agents, while Manville chews up each scene and brings to life a dangerous and unnerving villain that such a story demands.


Visually, the show looks great. While some moments of the CGI are noticeable, the majority of the CGI blends naturally with the physical elements of the world. The set design brings to life the various locations around the world, while the costume design captures the glamor and the hightec world of espionage. The action sequences themselves are great, with a high intensity choreography and deliberate camera work to showcase the brutality of these sequences. As a series, Citadel has everything you could want from a spy thriller, setting up the building blocks of what could be Amazon Prime Video’s next hit series.

In a matter of only three episodes, Citadel begins setting in play various plot elements to create an exciting and captivating spy thriller that takes audiences on a globe-trotting adventure. With a story full of twists and turns that will keep audiences on their toes as they are drawn into this world of global espionage and deceit, grounded by the always great Richard Madden who once again proves himself a formidable leading man, Citadel starts off with a bang and the promise of being one of the next must watch series.

RATING  4 out of 5

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