If there’s one thing most Marvel fans can agree on, it’s the impeccable casting of Charlie Cox as Daredevil/Matt Murdock. Like Robert Downey Jr. and Hugh Jackman before him, few actors have better inhabited the tormented skin of their superhero counterpart. But Cox was already establishing himself as an acting force to be reckoned with prior to 2015's Daredevil, leaving a trail of memorable performances that culminated in his ongoing MCU role. Five years after Daredevil's cancelation, Cox returned as a Netflix leading man for the service's new original series, Treason. The role of Adam Lawrence, an MI6 agent devoted to protecting his country and family yet harboring the weight of past indiscretions, proves an ideal vehicle for Cox's defining traits as an actor and cements him as more than just a guy in a red devil suit.

What Is 'Treason' About?

Charlie Cox as Adam Lawrence in Netflix limited series 'Treason'
Image via Netflix

Treason is a non-stop espionage thrill ride reminiscent of the BBC classic Spooks, The Night Manager, and Daniel Craig's era of James Bond. After Russian spy Kara (Olga Kurylenko) poisons the head of MI6 (Ciarán Hinds), second-in-command Lawrence is thrust into the intelligence agency's leadership vacuum. And it comes with no shortage of expectations, as Lawrence must balance being Britain's first line of defense with juggling the politics of jealous colleagues, managing a CIA investigation into his loyalties, keeping his wife and children safe, and stopping Kara from using their old love affair to blackmail him.

As Treason's Lawrence, Cox funnels the individual qualities that make him a compelling figure into one role, particularly his earnestness, ferocity, delicacy, and ability to walk the fine line between a good man with noble intentions and a flawed human with ongoing failures. When Treason opens, Lawrence's life is idyllic: a devoted wife, two children, a cushy job, even a fancy house. Cox's performance, naturally, reflects this; Lawrence is relaxed and assured whether he's visiting with his son's classmates or issuing severe orders to his staff. His relationship with his wife Maddy (Oona Chaplin) is tender, and he's playful with his kids. That security quickly falls apart as his past indiscretions catch up with him. The revelation that Kara has secretly engineered his lucrative career, which raises the CIA's suspicions about his allegiances and invites personal betrayal, leaves Lawrence fearful and flailing in the wind. He has no choice except to clear his name, expose the true traitor, and protect those he loves.

Cox Brings Emotional Maturity to His Roles

Image via Netflix

No matter the character or the size of his part, Cox brings emotional maturity to the material. An inherent commitment simmers beneath his body language and expressions, a sense that the actor is reaching deep to find his character's truth and performing with all he has. There's no half-assing it with Cox, at least on the surface. In Daredevil, his resolute and angry tension allows for no doubt concerning Matt's passion for protecting the helpless and redeeming his home, nor the depths of his barely restrained rage. And despite Lawrence's questionable actions in Treason, if the audience is meant to question his devotion to king and country, Cox's natural sincerity makes Lawrence's ultimate integrity a foregone conclusion. He's too good of a person when and where it counts.

This is best exemplified in relation to Lawrence's family. Adam isn't the type to sacrifice his loved ones for the greater good. Rather, he prioritizes them so highly that he commits treason to rescue his kidnapped daughter Ella (Beau Gadsdon). With her life at risk, he can't focus on the larger threat even though he's leading MI6. He keeps secrets from his wife out of shame, fidgeting and staring agitatedly into the middle distance. When he begs Maddy to understand that his love for her has never wavered and his secrets stem from guilt, all of that earlier intensity transforms into something quieter if no less vehement. It's an earnestness rooted in a gentle and steadfast love like Matt Murdock's encounters with Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) or Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson).

The same energy applies when Lawrence reunites with his daughter or reassures his frightened son Callum (Samuel Leakey). Cox rarely raises his voice in Treason and doesn't need to. The thrumming energy in his physicality says enough. As a character, Lawrence feels lived-in despite Treason's fast-paced plot, and Cox demonstrating those consistent characteristics sets him apart as a believable and adept actor.

Taken in the context of his past roles, that easy truthfulness isn't a surprise. Daredevil could be a ludicrous series in different hands, but Cox contributes to its grounded style by never overacting while still rising to the emotional level a scene requires. Whether it's questioning his lifelong faith or fighting an array of evil ninjas, Murdock's pain is visceral in every punch and broken rib, as is his repeated heartbreak. Hatred, remorse, and love echo off the screen and transfer naturally into applicable instances in Treason.

'Boardwalk Empire' Was a Breakout Role For Cox

Charlie Cox as Owen Sleater in 'Boardwalk Empire'
Image via HBO

Take HBO's Boardwalk Empire, where Cox portrays IRA member Owen Sleater, the right-hand man to main character and criminal Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi). Sleater is armed with a sharp intelligence and ruthless willingness to assassinate enemies as much as he's armed with guns. He's a man made rough around the edges by poverty, but in true Cox form there's an unexpected sensitivity to his romance with Nucky's wife Margaret (Kelly Macdonald). His demeanor softens at their first meeting, and as their affair progresses, it's clear that he adores her enough to move heaven and earth if she asked. He doesn't conceal his infatuation, and his ensuing Victorian-levels of yearning is disarming.

If only Owen's optimism weren't at the mercy of an HBO series. After a mission, he returns to Margaret and Nucky as a corpse in a box, but his goofy smiles and belief in love remain unique to Boardwalk Empire's world and help distinguish Cox's strengths. Owen, Matt, and Treason's Lawrence are each victims of their romantic and familial fidelities, and the sheer commitment from Cox guarantees that audiences engage with him.

RELATED: Charlie Cox's 'Boardwalk Empire' Performance Prepared Him to Play Daredevil

A Star Is Born In 'Stardust'

Tristan, played by Charlie Cox, walking in 'Stardust'
Image via Paramount Pictures

That holds true in a different (and surprisingly happy) way in the fantasy adventure Stardust, which was Cox's breakout role and now a cult classic. A besotted young man who promises to retrieve a fallen star for his lady love, Cox's Tristan instead falls in genuine love with the star herself, Yvaine (Claire Danes), over a series of adventures together. Their chemistry sparkles with classic enemies-to-lovers banter and Tristan's romanticism is bright and charming. He's the ideal floppy-haired hero for the genre: a swashbuckling swordfighter, a smooth dancer, and delicately devoted to Yvaine. Even in 2007, Cox's innate presence and emotional substance distinguished him from the many young men of the early 2000s who starred in fantasy films.

Give Charlie Cox All the Roles, Please

Naturally, Cox has more to offer the world than Daredevil even as the buzz around his return (and his own excitement) soars high. Seeing him recognized by Netflix again with Treason is a deserved delight. He makes each role unique, yet the consistency across his career is how each character feels natural. He combines fervor with honest fragility, and Treason undoubtedly proves that Cox possesses the necessary caliber to lead any series.