In 2018, the English city of Salisbury and its roughly 40,000 residents were faced with an unprecedented crisis: an assassination attempt using a chemical agent that has the potential of killing hundreds or even thousands if left uncontained.
After two people are found convulsing on a park bench, police investigators link them to a Russian spy ring and learn the source of their illness: a lethal nerve agent called Novichok. Hundreds of traces of the toxin are found all over the city, and authorities swing into action to stop a potential mass-casualty event.
The Salisbury Poisonings, a four-part miniseries event on AMC Mondays at 10pm ET/PT beginning Jan. 25, uses firsthand accounts from officials and first responders to dramatically re-create efforts to protect the community from the unthinkable.
“Whilst all of our action in this series takes part in the shadow of espionage and attempted assassination, really what we’re doing is trying to tell the stories of real people and ordinary heroes,” says writer and executive producer Declan Lawn. “We actually felt, if anything, that was more interesting and more exciting and in this day and age more important than telling a spy story. This series is about community vs. chaos.”
It’s also unnervingly topical, considering the effectiveness in leadership and coordination of emergency services that saved Salisbury weren’t replicated globally during the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.