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This series chronicled the lives of Bodie and Doyle, top agents for Britain's CI5 (Criminal Intelligence 5), and their controller, George Cowley. The mandate of CI5 was to fight terrorism and similar high-profile crimes. Cowley, a hard ex-MI5 operative, hand-picked each of his men. Bodie was a cynical ex-SAS paratrooper and mercenary whose nature ran to controlled violence, while his partner, Doyle, came to CI5 from the regular police force, and was more of an open minded liberal. Their relationship was often contentious, but they were the top men in their field, and the ones to whom Cowley always assigned to the toughest cases. Written by
Marg Baskin <email@example.com>
[scene-setting voiceover from Season 1 opening titles]
Anarchy, acts of terror, crimes against the public. To combat it I've got special men - experts from the army, the police, from every service - these are The Professionals.
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Arguably one of the best British action series ever made. The Professionals has a gritty, streetwise style, strong plots and scripts and excellent acting. Out of the episodes made between 1977 and 1981, there is hardly a bad one: the quality spoke for itself.
Many episodes see what feels like two hours' worth of storyline packed tightly and competently into the single hour. The editing, photography, direction, stunts and score stand comparison today. The ingredients endeared the series to its many fans, probably attracting viewers from outside its target market. It was an example of how we could have it all - and its longevity was not down to luck alone.
It is even credited for the long production life of the Ford Capri sports car, driven by the two main agents in the series, Bodie (Lewis Collins) and Doyle (Martin Shaw). The rapport between the two actors is superb and at no times are their performances unrealistic.
The series sees a fictional unit, CI5, which is not answerable to any one ministry. Its controller, Maj George Cowley (Gordon Jackson), commands loyalty and respect amongst his men, and would fight to the ends on their behalf. His access to the highest levels within Westminster is without doubt. Bodie, ex-SIS, and Doyle, formerly with the police, are faced with perilous situations against terrorists, spies, and traitors. Thanks to their specialist skills and attitude, they cope well in any situation.
The Professionals is still a demonstration of British television at its best.
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