The scene in episode 1 ("Thou Shalt Not Kill") where the cat escapes from the house was based on a real MI5 training exercise, as was the scene in series 2 episode 1 ("Legitimate Targets") where an old school friend almost identified Zoe whilst she was on an op. See more »
At numerous times throughout series 1 notably in "One Last Dance" and "Traitor's Gate" close-ups of intelligence files show that all the information is the same and all relates to Mary Kane's terminated pregnancy from episode 1 "Thou Shalt Not Kill". See more »
Having only just registered, this review is rather late for the U.K viewers.
"Spooks" or `MI-5' in U.S listings is one of the best British drama series produced in a long time.
Whilst the plots may seem a little far fetched (sometimes!), I feel that the series puts a new spin onto the role of spies within today's society whilst maintaining a sense of the unbelievable demonstrated throughout James Bonds illustrious career, at the end of the day these characters are normal, flawed people who go home at night drink themselves into a stupor, and rarely get the warm satisfaction that goes hand in hand with 007 and his many girls.
So we have established that the portrayal of the characters is true to life.
The plots however are very Bond esque without most of the worldly travelling or white-cat stroking arch villains. These are gritty, real world narratives that could all feasibly be in the process of happening, pro-life activists, racism, the I.R.A, political slander and all this sprinkled with the inter/intra departmental politics that must surely exist within these offices and are blatantly obvious between MI-5 and MI-6, as well as a healthy dose of CIA - MI-5 competition.
Back to the characters or rather the actors.
Matthew MacFadyen's portrayal of Tom and his acting in general is top draw; he is a highly under-rated actor who would appear to have a bright future and deserves it much more than some of the current Hollywood 'thespians' who are nothing more than pretty faces.
Keeley Hawes is outstanding as the tough yet fragile (keenly highlighted in the episode 1.2) dominant femme Zoe. An outstanding character played with depth by an equally outstanding actress.
David Oyelowo puts in consistently solid performances as Danny the newer member of Tom's '5' team. Played with guile and grit, I feel series 3 will really give Danny more time and space to flourish into the high profile character that series 2 shows he has the potential to be.
Jenny Agutter and Peter Firth are both established actors having appear in films such as 'American Werewolf in London, and 'The Hunt for Red October/Pearl Harbour' respectively. They deliver everything we expect from the true thespian pedigree that they both have.
There is also a refreshing appearance of Anthony Stewart Head playing a dissident MI-5 agent. His performance shows that he is not just Giles in Buffy.
In short this series is a well worth watching, it has thrills, twists and a more natural approach to spying whilst maintaining the myth and romance surrounding the secret services.
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