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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>
Episode The Professionals: Klansmen (1977), in which black people are harassed by a group that has modelled itself on the Ku Klux Klan, was banned and never shown in the UK because of its racial content. See more »
[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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I wasn't even born when this show was first shown on British TV in the late 70's. It was created by Brian Clemens, was a follow-up to a cop show called The Sweeney and starred Gordon Jackson as George Cowley, Lewis Collins as Bodie and Martin Shaw (who hated the show and his character) as Ray Doyle, working for a spy agency called CI5.
Violent, sexist and very politically incorrect, The Professionals was just good fun and it knew how daft it was. Basically an episode would go like this: Bad guy of episode shows up, usually foreign and he was a hitman, terrorist, spy or something like that. He would commit a crime and then the main titles which still impress would come on backed by the great theme tune. Bodie and Doyle would be given the case by Cowley, and then there would be 45 minutes of fights and car chases (in their Ford Capris) which ended with the bad guy dying in an explosion.
The plots were interesting and there were a lot of good ideas from the writers. After the show ended there were lots of pretty awful follow-up shows like Dempsey and Makepeace and Bergerac and have mostly been forgotten. Although The Professionals is not often seen on TV nowadays it's a cult classic, and way better than any of the stuff they put on nowadays.
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