Saskia Reeves is awfully good in Slow Horses. As with more or less everything in both the original novels and the TV show, it’s a slow reveal. They show us the failures that the Slough House denizens have become, and you have to be patient to see the talents — however rusty — that balance out the failings.
So up front, Catherine Standish is an aging grey haired alcoholic. I’ve just finished episode 5 of the first season, which is where she lifts her head and sees a chance and takes it. The really good bit is when Reeves makes it clear that her character is incredibly pleased to have gotten this one right, with the slightest shy smile.
I won’t spoil the books but I did say that the talents “balance out” the failings, didn’t I? Not “overcome.” Such a good series. I’ve read them and can promise that reading them won’t mar your enjoyment of the TV show.
Episode 5 shows that transition for a few characters, actually, protagonists and antagonists alike. People get serious. It’s a nice inflection point before the season finale, in which much of that seriousness will be at cross purposes.