“ Genre: Television - Spooks / Theatrical Release: 2003 / Director: Sam Miller, Rob Bailey, Cilla Ware, Ciaran Donnelly (II), Andy Wilson (IV), Julian Simpson, Omar Madha, Bharat Nalluri, Alrick Riley, Jonny Campbell / DVD released 16 June, 2003 at Contender Entertainment Group / Features of the DVD: PAL „
* Prices may differ from that shown
I was given this as a birthday present and as soon as I opened it I wanted to take the day off work so I could watch all of the whole series. It is one of those programmes that just has you absorbed right form the start, makes you wait in anticipation as to what is going to happen next. The great thing about series one in particular is that it sets the bar and standard for what goes on throughout the series.
You are cleverly introduced to the characters, what they are like and also into their real names and lives. Following MI5 and MI6 through the battles they have with terrorism and other factions who are looking to destroy and bring down the UK government you really get a feel for how intense things are. It does really well to add suspense to the drama and give you the unexpected.
Without spoiling it one of the a couple of the main characters get killed in this series. Therefore it does not follow the pattern of everything turning out ok in the end. This ensures it moves itself away from scripts that have fairytale endings which loses some of the thrill.
This series portrays itself as hard hitting real life at the coal face of national security. Yes I am sure that some of the stuff is far fetched but it is close enough to reality and makes you believe so much that it will almost certainly have you hooked. It follows story lines such as corruption in the security forces, love interests, the troubles in Ireland and even extremists who do not believe in abortion and use bombs to make their point.
The acting is superb, the use of music at the correct times to add to that drama is efficient and overall it is a fantastic show.
On the downside I do not know why the only made 6 episodes in series 1 surely they must have known it was going to be a success and why put these shows across 3 CDs. Also when you are loading the DVD up you have to wait for this guy to break into a building before you get the the menu screen. Its kind of annoying when you just want to delve straight into the action.
If you have not seen Spooks before this is a must to add to your DVD collection.
Spooks is a tv series that started in 2002. It is about the United Kingdom's government intelligence organisation known as MI5.
Series one was a series of 6 hour long episodes. The main actors in the original series were Peter Firth as Harry Pearce, Jenny Agutter as Tessa Phillips, Lisa Faulkner as Helen Flynn, Keeley Hawes as Zoe Reynolds, Matthew MacFaden as Tom Quinn, David Oyelowo as Danny Hunter and Hugh Simon as Malcolm Wynn-Jones.
The first episode was when some highly explosive devices were found to be smuggled into the UK. One of them explodes on a car. The driver, a doctor who deals with family planning, was killed and her daughter was badly injured. The team have to work out who is responsible for the explosion and find out where the rest of the explosives are.
The second episode was quite a shocker and caused a lot of outrage when it was first aired. It involves racial tension which is growing decidely heated and two of the team are sent in undercover to try to find out what they are planning. One of them is violently killed by the gang and it is quite horrifying to watch.
The third episode features Zoe who goes undercover to the Turkish embassy and ends up being taken hostage along with everyone else who was with her at the time. the team have to try to get her out and contain the hostage takers.
The fourth episode was about a visit to the UK by US President Bush. There were riots on the streets before he came and Zoe and Danny are keeping a watch on things when they spot an MI5 agent amongst the crowd.
The fifth episode is about an old MP who was involved in an arms scandal. he was put in prison for it but now he is released he says he has written his story and is going to publish it in the press. The team are sent to try to find the book and see whether it is incriminating at all.
The final episode is about an Irish terrorist who comes to England and says he has information to trade about some middle eastern terrorists. He says he wants his team to be allowed to go unwatched for 30 hours in exchange for the information.
Also on the dvd are deleted scenes, a guide to Spooks terminlogy, photos of the cast plus biographies of the characters and interviews with the cast and crew.
I found this series really exciting to watch and liked the way the stories were all separate but also had things which carried over from week to week.
You can buy this series for £10.89 on Amazon and I think it would make a good Christmas present for someone who likes the series.
Everyone keeps going on about Spooks and just how intense and good it is. To be honest, it's one of those shows I've never gotten around to watching. Egged on, though, I borrowed series 1 from a friend, and watched all episodes pretty much back to back!
The trick is that it doesn't gently ease you into things: it launches you in and doesn't hold back. It's a series about MI5 teams and their various missions, focusing mainly on three central characters: Tom (Matthew MacFadyen), Danny (David Oyewolo) and Zoe (Keeley Hawes), a specialist team who constantly have national disasters to deal with.
This doesn't really set it apart from other similar dramas, but where other dramas hold back, Spooks gets dirty. One review is very graphic, and received a record number of complaints for a rather nasty scene involving a deep fat fryer. Then there are the paranoid and potentially disastrous private lives they all lead, and the main focus of this side of things is definitely on Tom and his relationship with a single mum and her daughter. Naturally, they are incorporated into the proceedings, and with various dangers emerging all the time, the tension just builds and builds.
It's riveting viewing. The acting from the three main characters is brilliant, and you really do think that they'd be completely unnoticeable if they just walked past you on the street. Macfadyen's deadpan delivery of most lines fits perfectly with the style of character he plays, combatted by the cool and casual style Oyewolo gives Danny. Hawes has perhaps the most charisma out of the three of them, and her character often shows that little more emotion than the others.
Outside of these three, there are some other characters who do fuel the plot lines to a certain extent, with Jenny Agutter a welcome and recognisable face among a sea of those I haven't really seen before. Either way, the acting is very good all round, and it matches the brilliance of the scriptwriting. Every scene has a twist and a turn, and the plot goes along at a fast pace. Scenes in meeting rooms often go quickly, while location scenes and plot development through action is a bit more drawn out, so the directors and producers must also take a slight bow here.
I really enjoyed watching this first series. It's very short, with only 6 episodes, although the main point of it is to hit you hard and without warning. There's no nonsense, and ultimately it throws the whole thing at you without relent. Fast paced and action packed, with plot twists, paranoia, violence and death all over the place. I seem to have painted a picture of a graphic and violent series, though this is not the case at all. There are the occasional moments, sure, but ultimately it's more about not knowing when the next sudden twist will come.
The first series is available on DVD for around the £10 mark. It's well worth using it as a starting point, and I'm now well into series 2, which I could not wait to get after an immense cliffhanger at the end of this 1st series. Great series, well worth getting, and the sort of thing you can watch over and over again without getting bored - you may even be shocked more than once. Recommended.
The BBC's television series is now in its ninth season, and the fact that it has lasted so long clearly states its quality.
The first season introduces the characters: Tom Quinn (Matthew MacFadyen), Danny Hunter (David Oyelowo) and Zoe Reynolds (Keeley Hawes), all of whom work for MI5 under the supervision of grumpy old man type Harry Pearce (Peter Firth).
The premise for the series involves the team of spies having to thwart various plots of importance to national security, with storylines sometimes going on for more than one episode, and with the writers not at all shy of writing characters out by plotting their untimely deaths.
The acting is good, the storylines are (just about) plausible, and the show is overall very tense and absorbing, and keeps me on the edge of my seat all the way through. My favourite thing about the series is that solving the mystery is never too easy, as well as the fact that no character's life is ever safe. This makes it much more realistic and thrilling, because there's never a guarantee it's all going to turn out alright.
Season one consists of six hour-long episodes. The single disadvantage to the DVD is the lengthy process to get to the actual episode you want to watch, as the menu sequence takes an annoyingly long time.
Overall, highly recommended.
Originally debuting in 2002, Spooks was the BBC's attempt at livening up it's schedule with a taut, fast paced thriller to rival those imported from America. And to that end they undoubtedly succeeded as 9 years on it's still going strong. Personally I think this ranks as on of the top three alongside Three and Two but is maybe a little light at just six episodes.
Spooks focuses on the lives of the operatives working in Section D of Britains domestic secret service or MI5. The first season stories took there lead from stories which were not so much focused on global terrorism, rather the actions of domestic terrorism dealing with Anti-Abortionists, Irish nationalists, disgraced MPs, British Nationalaists and rogue operatives. It is this level of realism and grounding that makes the stories more believable than say 24 which relies on much more fantastical scenarios. Later seasons of Spooks would go down this route.
The cast at the time was largely unknown, however a brief glance at the first episode reveals at least two familiar faces. Matthew McFadyen star of such Hollywood hits as Frost/ Nixon and Robin Hood played Senior Case Officer Tom Quinn. Then there is Keeley Hawes who recently starred in the BBC smash Ashes to Ashes takes on the role of Zoe Reynolds, a junior case officer. It is in the first two years of this show they cut their teeth. In addition to them David Oyelowo made up the triumvirate playing the part of Danny Hunter the second junior case officer in the team. However it is the performance of Peter Firth as Sir Harry Pierce, their boss and the only memeber of the cast to have featured in every episode that really lights up the show and for that reason remains many fans, including myself, favourite. Stoic, wisened and unflapple. On too many occasions he has been the last line of defense from enemies both foreign and domestic.
Week by week the storylines are continually strong and have needed quality actors to deliver the roles. And in that respect Spooks again delivers with turns from actors such as Hugh Laurie, Anthony Stewart Head and Jenny Agutter appearing in the six episodes of the firast season.
High production values, excellent scripts and a relentless pace have ensured it's success both with the general public and the critics. It has also ensured it has enjoyed a lot of success, with multiple BAFTA awards but also notoriety after the shows second episode in which one of their number meets an untimely and very brutal end. The amount of complaints recieved at the BBC set a record for 2002.
The DVD contains all six episodes in a rather slinky case. Extra features contain all the usual items such as deleted scenes, a guide to the terminology, biographies, commentaries and interviews.
The first season sets the tone for the series and allows us to get to know the characters through the strains they face both professionally and personally. And while the following seasons develop this, it's probably best not to get too attached to some of them. You've been warned.
I saw the very first episode of Spooks by sheer chance, as nothing else was on. Usually in these types of programme the "good guys" will usually investigate the plot, solve it by the end of the show. However, Spooks is very different with stories often continuing through each episode.
The themes in each episode vary greatly. Episode 1 is about an anti-abortion terrorist who targets doctors and medical staff. Episode 2 is about a man who is trying to cause racial tension in the country. One of the most shocking moments of the entire Spooks series occurs in this when one of the M15 team meets their demise in a deep fat fryer in horrifying circumstances.
Episode 3 focuses on Zoe who is caught up in the middle of a hostage siege. Episode 4 has Tom come face-to-face with his former mentor who turns out to have fallen in love with the enemy and become a traitor.
The last two episodes continue the varied theme, Episode 5 sees the Spooks team try to track down the memoirs of a former MP who they need to stop getting into the wrong hands. The last episode features Tom working out if he can trust an Irish terrorist. He unwittingly brings a laptop back home which contains a bomb and locks himself out of the house. The series ends with a cliffhanger with the bomb exploding, but have Tom and his family survived?
Spooks is a tv series produced and aired by BBC. As the title suggests this series is about spies, in this instance it concerns MI6. The show is very well constructed, written and acting resulting a very good programme which received high reviews and is definitely worth buying if you never saw it on tv.
Storylines generally span one or two episodes with some form of underlying storyline that spans the whole series. This is good because it means you can miss an episode without too much trouble understanding what is going on. Though this might not seem to be a problem if you have the dvds, it does mean that you don't necessarily have make sure everyone is in the room when you watch each episode.
The storylines are very constructive and though speculative in some parts (bomb in London) they are not ridiculous at any point and overall realism is not what this show sets out to provide.
As mentioned acting is slick and this all results in a programme that is well worth buying on dvd.
I got into Spooks a bit late, it is now had seven series and I really came across it part way through series three so I was keen to catch up a bit and decided to get the first season on DVD.
It is a BBC show and is all about a group of MI5 agents who work in the counter terrorsit department tasked with ensuring that there are no domestic attacks on the country.
It is a high tension fast paced show and the tension builds over each episode especially as I found myself getting more involved in the main characters lives. The characters come and go in this programme due to a rather high death rate and other events so going back was interesting as many of the characters in that first series are not involved now.
Matthew MacFayden is my favourite actor from the first series, his character is Tom and he ius well supported by Lisa Faulkner, Keeey Hawes and Peter Firth. The cast are excellent in the show and there are some strong performances.
Each episode is an hour long and there were six episodes in the first series, the extras on this DVD are pretty good, I enjoyed the deleted scenes and the interviews with the main cast members are wells tructured and punchy.
I paid £10.99 for my copy from Play.
'Spooks', which has just finished its seventh series, is BBC's answer to '24'. It is a fast paced and well produced programme which follows MI5 agents as they do their best to protect the UK from terrorists, conspiracies and other threats.
'Spooks' is an unusually glossy programme for BBC, and it obviously has a lot of money spent on it. If it wasn't for the English accents and constant use of well known London and other English locations, you could easily mistake it for an American programme similar to 'Without a Trace' or other FBI style shows. It is exciting and even quite scary at times.
From its beginning, Spooks has been very popular, and has won two BAFTA and an array of other awards. However, it has also caused controversy. An event that occurs in the first series (which I will not spoilt for you by revealing it here!) upset a lot of people, despite the fact that Spooks is a spy programme and is broadcast after 9 o'clock, and so should be expected to contain scenes that are not suitable for the more gentle viewer!
Anyway, series one is where it all started, and although you don't need to watch it in order to understand the later ones, it is a good place to begin. There is a high turnover of characters in 'Spooks' due to the nature of MI5 agents' jobs, so if you have only watched the latest series then you may not recognise many of the actors here, but you will soon get into it.
Starring in this series are the excellent Matthew MacFayden (Tom), Keeley Hawes (Zoe), David Oyelowo (Danny), Peter Firth (Harry) and Lisa Faulkner (Helen). The acting standard is top notch and the cast is truly high quality. The chemistry between them onscreen is excellent too.
Series one contains only 6 episodes, although they last an hour each. You can buy the set for £11.98 from Amazon.co.uk, which sounds expensive for just 6 episodes, but there is a huge amount of bonus material. Features include interviews with all the cast, directors, writers and producers, some deleted scenes, commentaries for every single episode, galleries and more, so you are definitely getting your money's worth.
I'm sad to say that I didn't cop on to just how good this superb BBC/Kudos Productions spy/ drama series actually is until last year. (2007) Browsing the channels one evening I came across an old episode on one of the satellite stations. Instant addiction, and my next stop was eBay and Amazon in order to purchase all six series for my DVD collection. (I now have them all)
Spooks is about the agents of MI5, that branch of the British security services who are tasked with keeping us all safe from terrorist and domestic threats to our national security on our own shores. (As distinct from MI6 who look after threats to the UK on foreign soil) It first aired on UK television in the Spring of 2002, and has been a perennial favourite with viewers throughout all six series which have followed. (The 7th series is currently airing on BBC1 and BBC3)
Spooks has been described by many critics as the British "24", basing itself on the highly successful formula that saw the US series about the C.T.U. (Counter Terrorist Unit) and its main star Kiefer Sutherland win multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards. It would be true to say that in Spooks the British MI5 agents seem to have taken a leaf from the book of their US counterparts, not being slow to use torture or any other means at their disposal in order to combat threats to national security. Indeed, in only the second ever episode of the first series Spooks caused an uproar in the media and with television watchdogs when it showed an MI5 agent being killed by being immersed in an industrial size deep fat fryer.
Certainly Spooks is very similar to "24" in style and production, with very similar plot lines, but where it differs is that it is produced in a very British style by production company Kudos in conjunction with the BBC. Spooks went on to emulate "24" by winning a BAFTA award for the best TV drama series of 2002.
The actors in Spooks all seem to slot seamlessly into their respective roles, with the head of MI5, Harry Pearce, played by the excellent UK actor Peter Firth, particularly outstanding. Other actors include Matthew Macfadyen as the team leader of Section "D", Tom Quinn. Macfadyen is a graduate of RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and his class shows through in his performances.
Veteran English actress Jenny Agutter is Tessa Phillips (a senior MI5 officer), and Keeley Hawes is the sexy Zoe Reynolds. (She recently starred as D.I. Alex Drake in the Kudos production "Ashes To Ashes", a spin off from the highly successful "Life On Mars")
For me what makes Spooks essential viewing are the excellently crafted and highly topical storylines. They are bang up to date, and all highly plausible given the volatile world we all live in post 9/11. The first series runs for 460 nail biting minutes, and includes six episodes. To give you a wee taster the basic plot lines of the episodes is as follows.
Episode One: Pro-life extremists
Episode Two: Neo-Nazi plot
Episode Three: Turkish Embassy siege by Kurds
Episode Four: Anti-Bush demos and a plan to assassinate the President on British soil
Episode Five: The illegal arms trade
Episode Six: Irish terrorism linked to Muslim terrorist plot to attack a nuclear power station
There's a host of extra features included in the six disc DVD set, with the almost obligatory deleted scenes, commentaries and interviews with the cast and production crew, biographies of the various characters, a guide to the terminology used in the series, along with image galleries and trailers of future episodes. The extra features are better than the usual run of the mill fare, which generally speaking I become bored with very quickly. The extra features on this DVD set are interesting and hold your attention.
If you are interested in watching Spooks then my advice to you is to start at the very beginning with Series One, and watch it in sequence. I'm currently re-watching all the series through from Series One to Series Six, as well as waiting with baited breath for the new episodes from Series Seven which are currently on BBC3 every Monday evening.
As usual shop around the "usual suspects" such as eBay and Amazon for the best price. (I bought some of the series new at Amazon and some used at eBay) Series One is currently on offer at £11.98 at Amazon, and used from £8.00. (Nov 2008)
Currently one of my favourite TV shows, and highly recommended.
© KenJ November 2008
Spooks is one of those programmes that I just adore. Unfortunately however I can't say that I jumped on the Spooks bandwagon from the very start. To be perfectly honest though the reason for this was the fact that I was only 12 when the first series originally aired and therefore it just wasn't part of my viewing although my dad was watching it. I personally caught on during series 3 and then decided that the best thing for me to do would be to get the previous series' on DVD to ensure that I didn't miss out on anything.
Series 1 first aired on BBC in May 2002 and is all about a branch of the British Secret Service called MI5. It centres around not only the professional lives of the agents but also their personal lives too because as you can imagine when you throw yourself into a job as much as they do then it is often quite difficult to separate the two.
The first series DVD box set contains all 6 episodes from this initial series, with each episode focusing on a different issue or task but with long running storylines and threads running between them. This gives the audience the ability to grow accustomed to the shows main characters and to peer deeper into the lives that they live.
The characters themselves are all very different to one another yet each in their own way is dedicated to the job that they have to do. The team themselves all work in the counter-terrorism department, which is headed by the cool and collected Harry Pearce played by Peter Firth. Harry is not only a well-respected member of the team but also a well liked one who always has the welfare of his team at the forefront of his mind.
Head of the Spooks themselves is the dependable Tom Quinn played by Matthew McFayden. Tom is exceptionally dedicated to his job but currently struggling to balance his secretive work life with a new relationship.
Next is Danny Hunter who is played by David Ovelowo. Danny' life isn't currently going exactly the way he played, as after being caught fixing his credit rating on MI5 computers some of his credibility at work has been washed away.
The newcomer to the group is up and coming intelligence officer Zoë Reynolds played by Keeley Hawes. Zoë has everything going for her she is clever, charming and ultimately good at her job turning out to be more than a credible undercover agent.
The final member of the team is Tessa Phillips, played by Jenny Agutter, a well-established intelligence officer with over twenty-years experience. Despite her experience however Tessa isn't always the perfect person to trust as the time ultimately discovers.
The series gets off to a controversial start by tackling the issue of abortion. When twenty high-explosive bombs are smuggled into England and the first goes off killing a doctor and severely injuring her children the team must scramble to find and deport an American anti-abortion activist. With Zoë undercover to convince the suspect to give up the bombs location the actually locating and defusing of the bomb is left to Danny and Tom .
In Episode 2 links between politicians and racist ring-leaders are uncovered. Worse still both are found to have links to mass killings of immigrants . As racial hate rows across the country Tom and Helen must go undercover but as time begins to run short, personal loyalties will leave one team-member dead.
DEFINITELY NOT FOR YOUNGER VIEWERS
Episode 3 sees the Turkish Embassy stormed by Kurdish rebels making demands for their family to be released. As luck would have it Zoë is already inside the Embassy but she winds up as a hostage. Meanwhile a disgruntled ex-Spook has kidnapped the daughter of a banker who works for the ministry of defence payroll and his using her kidnapping and severe use of terror to gain access to a secret bank account that not only contains one million pounds but also the identities of every undercover officer.
In Episode 4 Tom's mentor Peter Salter flees after Tom order him off an operation run jointly by MI5 and MI6. Things get worse when Harry tries to regain control by commanding Tessa to contact one of her covert agents. This attempt fails due to the fact that the agent doesn't exist and when Zoë discovers this Tessa pays her £10,000 to stay silent. With Salter still on the run however Zoë must question her own motives.
Episode 5 sees an ex MP released from prison after serving his time for his part in an arms-dealing scandal. Upon his release he proposes to publish a memoir that contains within it damaging accusations about the MOD being his successor in the arms trade. MI5 must do all they can to try and retrieve the memoirs but ultimately their best efforts cannot stop the memoir leaking into the press and the accused resigning from government. Everything however isn't quite what it seems.
The final episode in this series is an outstanding cliffhanger, which sees Zoë and Danny go behind Harry's back on an operation under Tom's orders after he meets with an Irish terrorist who claims that he wants to help MI5. Together the team manage to stop one bomb exploding but this isn't the end of their troubles as after Tom takes home a laptop containing secrets that have been entrusted to him he gets a panicked phone call informing him that the laptop contains a timed bomb. Rushing home Tom finds himself locked out of his house but inside with the ticking bomb are his girlfriend Ellie and her daughter Maisie. In a flurry against time Danny must give Ellie instructions on how to disarm the bomb and just hope that she understands or Tom will loose them both.
All of the episodes within this series are of an exceptionally high quality. The acting is superb throughout and the general filming of the episodes sublime. Furthermore the scripting of the series is exceptionally clever as it manages to convey with ease the difficulties of working in such a secretive organisation as well as the pressure that is placed upon them. In doing so however the series could have quite easily become to heavy and tremendously dry but some fantastic nuggets of humour have also been allowed to filter in and therefore the show is a real gem to watch.
"Tom Quinn: Great. The government want a worse case scenario so if this thing does go down, they can shove the blame on poor old intelligence and halve the budget. "
Spooks is definitely something that I would recommend although it is exceptionally easy to become swept up in the whole atmosphere of the programme and I guarantee that once you have seen this series you'll want to see the rest.
I rented this series on DVD after seeing the latest series (Series 5) on BBC 1, and I thought it would be a good idea to go back to the beginning and see how Spooks began.
The show started in May 2002 on BBC 1, a new show which was about the British Secret Service MI5 and it's officers. I think it was about time that British television made a show about our Secret Service, America is always producing shows about the CIA such as 24, and Alias. The first series centred around 5 main characters, who I will go on to explain about in a minute. It is about not only their profesional lives as Spies, but their personal ones too, trying to lead a normal life doing what they do.
The term Spooks refers to the Spies themselves, it is what British Intelligence officers call each other.
The main characters are as follows:
Matthew MacFadyen plays the head of the Spooks, Tom Quinn. He is a man very dedicated to the job, but one who is struggling to balance his work life with his new relationship. He used an undercover name with his new partner Ellie, but eventually the truth came out, and Tom had to try to salvage the relationship. He is a very dependable character, proud of working for his country.
Keeley Hawes plays the very clever young character of Zoe Reynolds, an up and coming young intelligence officer with a lot of skills on the table. However, she had a tough time in Series 1 when she found out that the woman she admired in MI5 was actually corrupt, and she had to tell her superiors. She is a great undercover officer, and was a credit to MI5 when placed in danger when an undercover operation went wrong.
Danny Hunter is played by David Oyelowo. Danny got into trouble with his bosses at MI5 when he was caught fixing his credit rating on the MI5 computers. Danny lives with his colleague Zoe.
Jenny Agutter plays the formidable Tessa Philips, an Intelligence officer of over 20 years experience. However, her career comes to an abrupt end at the end of Series 1 when she is dismissed from the service for creating false Spooks, an action which made her a traitor in the eyes of MI5
Finally, the boss Harry Pearce is played by the talented Peter Firth. Harry is head of the Counter-terrorism department at MI5. He started out in the army, and then moved into the intelligence service. He is a wel respected member of the team, very calm cool and collected.
*Episodes in Series 1*
Episode 1 begins with a controversial subject, abortion. A car bomb is set off in London, and the Spooks are at a race against to stop more bombs exploding. They are being set off by an American woman who is targeting doctors who perform abortions. Zoe has to go undercover to convince the suspect to give up the location of the bomb...will Tom and Danny make it in time to stop her setting off the bomb??
The team uncover connections between racist ring-leaders, politicians and mass killings of immigrants. Tom and a fellow colleague Helen (played by Lisa Faulkener) who is keen to make her way up the MI5 ladder, go undercover and befriend Robert Osborne's wife, the man suspected on creating racial hate rows across the country. The ending to this episode was quite shocking, and the first time I have seen something like this on British television. It is worth seeing this series just to watch this episode! Viewer discretion is advised, NOT for younger viewers.
This is the episode in which Zoe is placed in danger by being in the Turkish Embassy when it is stormed by Kurdish rebels, making demands for their family to be released. Zoe has to tell the terrorists that she works for the Government after her surveillance equipment is uncovered. In another twist, Tessa finds out that an ex lover of hers, and a British spy Johnny Marks is still alive. He has captured a bankers daughter, who works for Ministry of Defence payroll, and he is threatening to get hold of information about MI5 and MI6's undercover agents. Harry thinks the siege is a diversion for something happening at the bank, Tom and Danny manage to end the siege but Tom is shot. Marks turns up at Tessa's flat, and leaves the information about the undercover agents behind, taking only the money. But will Tom survive??
Tom's girlfriend Ellie is finding it hard coping with life with a spy. Tom's mentor Peter Salter is undercover, an operation run by MI5 and MI6. Tom orders him off the case but Salter flees. Things become further muddied when Harry, keen to regain control, commands Tessa contact one of her covert agents who, its thought, is undercover with a related anarchist group. Zoe finds out that the agent does not exist, and Tessa pays her £10,000 to keep her silent. Salter is eventually caught, and Tom gets him to admit betrayal, but when questioned about his motives, he kills himself by hanging. Danny realises what he was up to and manages to save the day. This episodes guest stars Hugh Laurie as head of MI6.
An ex-MP is released from prison, proposing to publish his memoirs. Plenty of people are interested, and when a double agent is murdered, the plot thickens. Hampton Wilder has been in prison, and requests to see MI5 when he is released. It turns out he has made some damaging accusations in a book about someone in the MOD being his successor in the arms trade. The memoirs were stolen from their hiding place, and MI5 need to get them back. However, the accused is the star of the governments and the best friend of the Prime Minister. The manuscript is eventually leaked to the press, with the accused resigning from government...but is everything what it seems??
The final episode of the first series leaves us with an amazing cliffhanger. Tom meets with an Irish terrorist who claims to want to help MI5. Zoe and Danny are told to go behind Harry's back doing an operation under orders of Tom. They manage to stop a bomb exploding, but they dont know if it was enough to stop the terrorist McCann. Tom takes home a laptop containing secrets given him by McCann home to his maximum security house, but he gets telephoned by a distressed McCann to say that there is a huge bomb in the laptop on a timer. Tom is locked out of the house, with his girlfriend Ellie and her daughter Maisie inside with the ticking time bomb. Can Danny instruct Ellie to disarm the bomb before Tom loses them both?
Series 1 was a huge success for the BBC, and has gone on to make another 4 series of the hit show. Series 6 is due later in the year. It is easy to get swept up in the show, although you quickly realise that it is the not the kind of lifestyle that your average person would want to lead...too much and danger and lying to the people close to you!
The DVD of Series 1 contains the following:
RUnning time: 460 minutes
Live Action Menus
Commentary from the cast and crew
Cast And Crew Interviews
A Guide To Spooks Terminology
The boxset is made up of 3 DVDs, each with 2 one hour episodes on it. Please note, the episodes are NOT subtitled. The boxset retails at around 15 pounds in most stores.
I would definitely recommend watching this series...only problem is you'll be left wanting to buy the other 4 boxsets to find out what happens with the Spooks!
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, Spooks 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