“Spooks” returns next weekend, on BBC ONE, to begin its fifth season with the now traditional opening two-part story. Currently enjoying reruns of last year’s season on BBC THREE, now halfway through, and with the box set of the same season available from last Monday, September is definitely a good time to be a fan of this high octane spy drama. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a grown up version of the much underestimated 90s’ action adventure series “Bugs”. And neither that show nor this one would have existed without seminal 60s’ series “The Avengers”. That’s the lineage sorted!
“Spooks” went through a bit of a dull patch during its third season when it lost its three leading characters, Tom Quinn (Matthew Macfadyen), Zoe Reynolds (Keeley Hawes) and Danny Hunter (David Oyelowo). But the production team seemed to start over with season four, despite opening with Danny’s funeral, in an excellent two-parter, “The Special”, that timely dealt with a terrorist bombing campaign in central London and featured a spunky performance from guest star Martine McCutcheon as Tash. She demonstrated such balls that, at the end of the story, I was disappointed she didn’t become a series regular.
All was not lost though as by the end of episode five of season four, an equally adroit heroine, Jo Portman (Miranda Raison), was invited to join the “Spooks” team by new leading man Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones). I love her introductory story, “The Book”, despite the plot holes and having to suspend disbelief over the number of coincidences, simply because the whole thing is carried off with such panache. Curiosity having got the better of her in following Adam, Jo shows great presence of mind when setting off car alarms to alert our agents to the proximity of assassins about to enter an MI5 safe house and, again, in dumping her mobile phone in the assailants’ getaway car in order that they may be traced. Beauty and intelligence are a winning combination.