Spooks Series 8 Review: High MI5
SPOOKS SERIES 8: Wednesday 4th November, BBC1, 9pm ALERT ME
Critics of Spooks will tell you that the show bears no comparison to 24, its American counterpart.
But the trouble is that not many TV shows do, and of those that don’t quite measure up, this is one of the finest.
It’s always been an intelligent (if slightly action-lite) drama and fans of the programme will be pleased to hear that the eighth series plunges the MI5 employees straight back into the spy-mire we left them in last time out.
With Ros (Hermione Norris) as a sardonic poster-girl, the show seems to have lost none of the highly-charged espionage schtick that established this high-end show at the cutting edge of British TV.
Anyway, so where were we?
That’s right, Harry was kidnapped by those pesky Russians and Connie confessed to selling everyone down the river before getting herself conveniently blown-up.
As you would expect, the new series picks up the story no more than a couple of minutes down the line and a cut-and-thrust opening sets a frenetic pace for the episode.
While we agonise over whether Harry is dead or alive, the team find out that he thwarted a clandestine operation to smuggle weapons-grade uranium into Iraq to justify the war. Now, the rogue officers who masterminded the operation want their uranium back.
Like most of the characters in it, Spooks is a slick operator and the BBC have done tremendously well to create a show which can be mentioned in the same bracket as its American equivalent – and on a budget greatly reduced from that enjoyed by Fox producers.
The various twists are spun with a satisfying guile and the blur between protagonists and antagonists also keeps the audience on its toes, but we are still left with the feeling that the programme is missing a catalytic ingredient.
Despite the presence of a personable group of characters, we are left feeling that the show could be taken to the final level with the addition of a charismatic lead, about whom the plot seems to revolve.
Maybe Jack something…
Yet the simple fact that these kind of comparisons are possible tells us just how good Spooks is and the lack of adverts probably redeems such meagre shortcomings.