Max Denbigh: SPECTRE’s Inside Man
Max Denbigh is the Director-General of the Joint Security Service, a position colloquially known as C. His role is a new position formed after the merger between MI5 and MI6, but he’s far from an ally.
Played by Irish actor Andrew Scott, Denbigh secretly aligns himself with SPECTRE, acting as a hidden foe for James Bond and M in the 2015 Bond movie, Spectre.
After this, a power struggle unfolds between M and Max Denbigh, the leader of the recently formed Joint Intelligence Service. Denbigh also aspires to establish the “Nine Eyes” intelligence collaboration among nine nations, aiming to dismantle the ’00’ branch in the process.
In pursuit of information concerning the criminal syndicate, SPECTRE, Bond stumbles upon Max Denbigh’s presentation of his “Nine Eyes” initiative. The proposition fails to receive unanimous approval, owing to South Africa’s dissent, and consequently fails to pass.
Following the meeting, M taunts Denbigh, telling him the world safer without the “Nine Eyes”, and that a licence to kill is also a licence not to kill. Unfazed, Denbigh retorts that his team is observing everyone’s activities.
Soon after, a sudden explosion in Cape Town coerces South Africa into joining the “Nine Eyes” initiative. As the proceedings unfold, M arrives late due to lack of notification from C. The tension escalates as Denbigh announces the official closure of the ’00’ section, prompting M to retaliate with a sharp insult.
M insists the fight is far from over, leaving an overly confident Denbigh behind.
While held captive in Ernst Stavro Blofeld‘s African stronghold, Bond discovers that Denbigh is an operative of SPECTRE with plans to grant the organization unparalleled surveillance capabilities.
After his escape and return to London, Bond, along with Madeleine Swann, M, Bill Tanner, Q, and Miss Moneypenny, devise a plan to apprehend C and avert the launch of “Nine Eyes”. Despite an unexpected ambush and subsequent kidnapping of Bond, M and the rest escape and lay in wait for C in his office.
When Denbigh arrives, he’s unable to activate the program, much to his surprise. Confronted by M and Q, Denbigh tries to accuse them of trespassing, only to be informed that he’ll be detained.
The realization that his SPECTRE affiliation is known visibly shakes Denbigh. And despite a desperate attempt to shoot M, he finds his weapon unloaded, further reinforcing M’s assertion that C stands for “careless.”
Now, it’s Mallory who corners Denbigh with a loaded gun and intends to take him into custody. However, a distracting helicopter arrival gives Denbigh the opportunity to reach for M’s gun. In the ensuing tussle, Denbigh loses his footing and falls to his death from several stories high.
Born in Dublin on October 21, 1976, Andrew Scott is a well-regarded Irish actor, who scored a leading role in his first film, Korea, at the tender age of 17. Scott played minor roles, notably in Saving Private Ryan (1998), before gaining prominence in Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers and HBO’s John Adams.
He won a Laurence Olivier Award for A Girl in a Car with a Man, and the Theatregoers’ Choice Award for his role in Aristocrats. His performance in Hamlet garnered critical acclaim, earning him a Laurence Olivier Award nomination.
On TV, delivered praised performances in The Duel (2010) and BBC’s Sherlock as Jim Moriarty. Scott also starred in the second series of BBC Three’s Fleabag and appeared in Netflix’s Black Mirror. In 2019, he portrayed Garry Essendine in Matthew Warchus’s revival of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter.
In 2015, he starred in Bond 24, Spectre, playing corrupt MI5/MI6 agent Max Denbigh, and in recent times he starred a Lieutenant Leslie in British War film 1917 (2019).
Scott also appeared in HBO/BBC’s adaptation of His Dark Materials and was cast as Tom Ripley in the television series Ripley. Additionally, he has done voice work for radio plays and audiobooks.