Citadel TV Review

The bold new international spy series from The Russos aims to be the next Mission: Impossible and gets pretty damn close.

Last Updated on April 28, 2023

Plot: 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 and Nadia Sinh 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, who desperately needs his help to prevent Manticore from establishing a new world order.

Review: If you watched the trailer for Citadel, you have a good idea of what you are getting into. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be impressed when you watch the series. Espionage is hot these days, and on the heels of AppleTV+ hit film Ghosted, Prime Video is launching its most ambitious series since The Lord of the Rings. In many ways, Citadel is more ambitious than The Rings of Power. Produced by Joe and Anthony Russo, Citadel is the first in a franchise of interconnected spin-offs filming around the globe with localized casts in Italy and India, and that is only the beginning. Harnessing the narrative talents of showrunner David Weil and the MCU experience of the Russo Brothers, Citadel feels like a lived-in and familiar story that is still chock full of solid action, sexy spies, and some major surprises.

Citadel,Prime Video,Richard Madden,Stanley Tucci,Priyanka Chopra Jonas

The first fifteen minutes of Citadel’s premiere episode sets the tone for what will come. Like James Bond and Mission: Impossible films, Citadel opens with a limited explanation as to who the characters are, how they ended up where they are, and even which factions are which. It can be somewhat jarring when you first begin watching. Still, if you give yourself to the story, you will be immediately taken with Nadia Sinh (Priyanka Chopra Jonas), the sultry agent aboard a train. The pair immediately clicks when she runs into Mason Kane (Richard Madden). It also helps that the great Stanley Tucci plays their Citadel “man in the chair,” Bernard Orlick, who drops jokes equally with tactical knowledge to help them on their mission. Within minutes, we know Citadel are the good guys, and they are working against the villainous Manticore, a blend of 007 foe SPECTRE and Marvel’s HYDRA. When the first mission ends with shocking violence, that is where the story really begins.

Citadel is inspired by 007 and IMF factions from the big and small screen, but there is also a heavy dose of Renny Harlin’s fantastic film The Long Kiss Goodnight. By the end of the first episode, we know that Mason Kane has no memory of his time as a top-notch secret agent, and Bernard Orlick must pull him back to stop Manticore and save the world. As I said before, the story is not something we have never seen before, but it is done in a unique and well-executed way. Madden and Chopra Jonas look damn good in tailored suits and evening gowns, but they also play well in hand-to-hand combat and violent action setpieces. It also helps that Citadel benefits from an impressive cast when it shifts to more dialogue and exposition-heavy scenes.

As Manticore politician Dahlia Archer, Lesley Manville, a great dramatic actress, gets to chew the scenery. Archer echoes many real-life politicians, but she is also a solid successor to the Blofeld and Doctor No caliber bad guys from cinematic history. She also has a great henchman in Anders Silje and Davik Silje, played by Roland Møller. The Silje twins are brutal and capable and serve as impressive opponents in this series which sets itself up to introduce unique villains and missions as the series progresses in future seasons. There are so many great actors in this ensemble that I wish I could talk about, but there are countless twists in Citadel that would be ruined if I said anything at all. But, I will say that Ashleigh Cummings, who starred opposite Zachary Quinto in the AMC series NOS4A2, gets a great character here as Abby Conroy.

This series, originally developed by Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec (From, Cowboy Bebop), has a solid core writing team led by showrunner David Weil (Hunters). Weil anchors the story in the characters as much as the action, as the foundation is clearly being laid for an epic global franchise. This story works as well as it does because it does not spend time trying to make us understand how these groups came to be but elevates the threats and those who can stop them to a familiarity we feel for superheroes and spies from franchises that have been around for decades. I really love that I never once questioned the expertise of these agents or their adversaries. Citadel feels like the second or third season of an existing franchise, which is a compliment of the highest order.

Citadel,Prime Video,Richard Madden,Stanley Tucci,Priyanka Chopra Jonas

From the excellent special effects to the intense fight choreography, there is almost nothing I did not love about Citadel. The marketing push behind this series is well deserved, as Amazon is about to have another marquee hit on its hands. Richard Madden never needs to be James Bond on the big screen as he has found an original character that sets himself apart from the 007 legacy. I loved this series across all three fantastic episodes made available for this review and cannot wait to see where this story goes and how the international spin-offs connect to it. In this modern era of adapting comic books and novels, it is refreshing to see a completely original idea that quickly proves how good it is. Citadel is action-packed, thrilling, and poised to eclipse everything else on the airwaves.

Citadel premieres on April 28th on Prime Video.





About the Author

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Alex Maidy has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. A Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic and a member of Chicago Indie Critics, Alex has been's primary TV critic and ran columns including Top Ten and The UnPopular Opinion. When not riling up fans with his hot takes, Alex is an avid reader and aspiring novelist.