Sex, murder, intrigue, moves and countermoves, all the stuff that really juicy mini-series are made of...and its a true story. The original introduction that ran with the PBS showing stated that Ian Fleming used Sidney Reilly as the basis of James Bond. Sidney, as played by the great Sam Neill certainly embodies all the trademark qualities of that later spy...a way with a gun and the ladies, a wry sense of humor and a cold, calculating methodolgy. The series covers the time period of the Great Game, when Europe, Russia and England tried to out move each other in access to the newly emerging oil fields of the Middle East. Echoes of that period - approximately (forgive my fading memory) 1895 to 1922 - are still bouncing around the world. Sam Neill is extraordinary as the first great professional spy who set the standard for those who came after, changing it from a gentleman's game to a deadly serious career path. I remember watching some news footage at the time of the fall of the Soviet Union. The reporter said that people were tearing down a statue of the founder of the KGB in front of its Headquarters. "Felix Derzhinsky in front of the Lubianka Prison!" I called out to the TV... I knew because of having watched its birth in Sidney Reilly... eventually, the news got it right. If you love history and great drama...this is for you.