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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 was only born a year after this series started production, so I only know it by re-runs, thanks largely to my mother who loves the series.
There are a great many TV series with the premise that you've got good guys running around trying to catch bad guys, and there are guns, cars and explosives thrown in for good measure. Some are good, some are not. The Professionals is a cut above the rest, not because of any trick or gimmick but simply because of superb writing, casting, directing and acting.
Shaw (Doyle), Collins (Bodie) and Jackson (Cowley) excel in their roles and are really the glue of the whole series. The constant jibing between Doyle and Bodie is an absolute delight to watch, as is Bodie's unashamed love for fast-driving and shooting stuff.
The action is very satisfying, with many shoot-outs, explosions and car chases. The plots are actually more varied and sophisticated than most people seem to remember, some of them require a very sharp mind to keep track of the wheeling and dealing. There's espionage, grand-theft, madmen with nerve-gas and more than a few personal vendettas. The characters, too, are deeper than most people seem to remember.
My favourite episodes are: "Discovered in a Graveyard" - Doyle is shot and seriously wounded by an unknown assasin. While Bodie and Cowley hunt down the shooter, we are given an insight into the thoughts going through Doyle's comatose mind.
"Blind Run" - what starts as a simple escort run for Doyle and Bodie turns into an urban war as their charge turns out to be much more significant than they thought. This is one of the most action-packed episodes, featuring multiple shootouts and car-chases.
"Mixed Doubles" - Bodie and Doyle are assigned to organise protection for a very high-level foreign diplomat who is almost certain to be an assasination target. As we see our two heroes making preparations, we also see the two hired assasins making theirs and we get an incredible insight into just how similar the two doubles are, and how sad it is that only one pair of them can survive the day.
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