All 6 episodes of the first series of the BBC series documenting the missions of MI5 agents, aka 'the Spooks'. In 'Relationships', Zoe (Keeley Hawes) is sent to investigate when a car bomb explodes in Liverpool, killing a family planning doctor and her daughter. Tom (Matthew MacFadyen) then discovers that a well-known pro-lifer has managed to get back into the country despite being sentenced to death in Florida. 'Risk' sees Helen (Lisa Faulkner), a recent recruit, posing as Tom's wife as the pair go deep undercover to get close to a racist ringleader after the team uncover connections between senior politicians, far-right activists and the mass killing of immigrants. In 'Office Politics', Zoe is undercover attending a function at the State Consulate of Turkey when the building is stormed by Kurdish freedom fighters. When Tessa (Jenny Agutter) watches the CCTV footage from the embassy taken immediately before the siege, she is shocked to see her former secret lover, who she thought had been killed in a car crash 15 years earlier, at the scene of the crime. 'Trust' sees Tom's girlfriend Ellie (Esther Hall) running out of patience with Tom's lies, and him finally confessing his true role to her. Meanwhile, trust is wearing thin between Zoe and Tessa as the security build-up prior to a Presidential visit reveals a tangled and corrupt web of connections. In 'Friends', the media are whipped into a frenzy when an ex-MP is released from prison after serving a sentence for embezzlement. In the midst of the madness, the plot thickens when a double agent is murdered. In 'Do or Die', Tom meets up with a renowned Irish terrorist and strikes a deal to elicit crucial information. But the terrorist gang insist that they go unwatched for 30 hours in return for the information, and Pearce (Peter Firth) thinks this is a very bad idea. Meanwhile, Ellie and her daughter move in with Tom just as he unwittingly brings home a booby-trapped laptop. Will he be able to enter his maximum security home in time to defuse the bomb and save their lives?
John Le Carre for the internet generation, Spooks
is a smart combination of TV cop show and George Smiley-esque espionage shenanigans that pulls no punches in its depiction of an MI5 team fighting a covert war on the streets of London. This is adult, post-watershed drama clearly inspired by the hard-hitting reality style of US shows such as 24
and The Sopranos
. The strong ensemble cast is led by charismatic Matthew MacFadyen as Tom Quinn, star spy of "Section B", the counter-terrorism branch headed by Harry Pearce (Peter Firth). Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo and tough-cookie Jenny Agutter make up the team. And as with its British predecessors, Cracker
and Prime Suspect
also delves fearlessly into the characters' turbulent personal lives, here given an added twist by their constant need to deceive even those they love.
The six episodes of the BAFTA Award-winning Series 1 tackle a variety of tough issues, including religious fanaticism, racism, governmental cover-ups and, naturally enough, the lingering shadow of Irish terrorism. Throughout, the show strikes a fine balance between a James Bondian techno-obsession with spy gadgets and more character-based action, with crisp writing and pacey direction that ratchets up the tension a notch further with every episode. The final cliffhanger is an unforgettable TV moment, and one that leaves viewers agog for Series 2.
On the DVD: Spooks, Series 1 is cleverly presented in a three-disc set with specially filmed "cut scenes" instead of a standard menu: interact with the mysterious office intruder to select the different options: interviews, behind-the-scenes documentaries, deleted scenes, character profiles, audio commentaries and more. It's a neat idea, though one that may outstay its welcome after repeated viewings; fortunately it's possible to skip the opening sequence using the chapter forward button and move directly to the main "desk menu". --Mark Walker
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.