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The year is 1814. Thought to have died in wreck of a slave ship, James Keziah Delaney (Tom Hardy) returns from over a decade in Africa to attend his father’s funeral. Delaney’s half-sister, Zilpha (Oona Chaplin) and her husband Thorne (Jefferson Hall) are perturbed to learn that James will be the sole inheritor of the family assets including Nootka Sound, a parcel of land in America with significant strategic value, the latter which piques the interest of Sir Stuart Strange (Jonathan Pryce) and the East India Company.
Convinced his father was murdered and with no desire or need to sell Nootka Sound, Delaney understands the target he has made of himself. Displaying signs of his Native American mother’s madness (one such symptom an apparent ability to speak to the dead) and with a significant interest in the occult gained from his travels, Delaney, with the aid of the long-time family servant, Brace (David Hayman), hatches a plan of his own to subvert the powers that be, risking his wealth, treason and his complicated relationship with Zilpha.
With Steven Graham, Mark Gatiss, Jason Watkins, Michael Kelly, Tom Hollander and even musician Scroobius Pip making their appearances in ‘Taboo’, the cast is as engaging as the writing. Created alongside Tom Hardy and his father Chips, with Ridley Scott on board as an executive producer, ‘Taboo’ in reminiscent of ‘Penny Dreadful’ but with a far more reserved inclusion of the supernatural, instead weaving a tapestry of complex characters and plot. Resoundingly satisfying and with only minor historical inaccuracies, Taboo looks set to be another Steven Knight gem.