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Picks and Pans Review: Codename: Kyril

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Showtime (starts Sun., April 17, 8 p.m. ET)

C+

There’s nothing better than a really good Brit spy story. Too bad this isn’t one of them. It is, instead, an unfortunate squandering of a great cast—Edward (The Equalizer) Woodward, Ian (Gandhi) Charleson, Denholm (A Room with a View) Elliott—and a fine germ of a plot (from John Trenhaile’s A Man Called Kyril). There’s a British mole in the KGB, so Soviet agent Kyril (Charleson) is dispatched to London to defect and ferret out the traitor. But there’s also a KGB mole in Britain’s MI6, and soon traitors and patriots on both sides are gunning for poor Kyril. What starts as a complex and clever plot, alas, becomes too clear too soon. There’s not enough story to command your attention for two nights—not even with the commanding performances of the show’s three stars.