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"Spooks"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"MI-5" More at IMDbPro »"Spooks" (original title)

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72 out of 79 people found the following review useful:

Intelligent work on intelligence work

Author: Shelby Spires (sgspires@bellsouth.net) from Huntsville, Ala
31 December 2003

I've seen these on A&E in America and from the first I was hooked. The pressure cooker atmosphere and the modern day dot-com look puts this show about "counter intelligence" on another level than today's so called spy shows.

It's not the eye-candy of Alias and frankly its better than the flat delivery of the now canned Agency or Threat Matrix (both of which strive to be too PC in their "diverseness").

The writing is very well layered. It pulls the viewer in, and there's enough original material that many times you can't "skip ahead" to the fourth act in your mind. Meaning, you haven't figured out the end by the second break.

MI-5, or Spooks, puts enough plot twists in for any true fan of the genre. Well worth the time and effort to watch. Too bad American network television can't produce a show of this caliber.

(11/17/05 comment) Also, I was so intrigued by the UK version of Spooks, that I got into downloading the shows via the Internet, and I have to say it's an even better experience. I wish A&E would run the entire episode and not a chopped up version. The editing has to do with advert breaks more than content. If you only see this on A&E then I would suggest downloading it or renting/buying the DVD sets.

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55 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

`Spooks' delivers....

Author: prose from Adelaide, Australia
15 August 2003

I read all the hype in advance of this program being shown on ABC-TV in Australia, and thought: yeah, yeah, show me something different. Maybe it's not too different, but it does deliver. I was a bit bored inititally by the straight delivery of MI-5 characters, and how terribly seriously they take their jobs. Matthew MacFadyen is a fine choice for Tom Quinn - he's big and tall, straight-faced, and very, very serious. Keeley Hawes is also very well cast, and eminently believable.

However the last two episodes shown here - the one about the mock terrorist attack, and last night's episode about the visit of the American presidential `circus' were rivetting stuff. I found myself holding my breath for a lot longer than was healthy for me! I was fascinated by how the US presidential entourage insisted they take over MI-5 files for `security purposes'. A metaphor for the world at the moment?? The suspicion that George Bush Jnr was visiting London specifically for a secret meeting with Colonel Gadaffi to negotiate compensation for Locharbie losses was very pertinent, given that Libya came forth with compensation - in the `real' world - just this week.

I look forward to more episodes of this straighter-than-straight, larger-than-life, but very entertaining series. I don't think it's very realistic, but then, who watches TV to indulge in more reality?

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62 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely Brilliant

Author: ccjameshenry from United Kingdom
1 January 2005

Spooks is, without doubt, the tensest and most dramatic (for better or for worse) drama on TV at the moment, season III is especially brilliant and with season IV scheduled to start next year i am itching with anticipation. However, there is something for everything as the story line also focuses on the relationships within spooks meaning that there is an ongoing story as well as a story per episode. SHEER BRILLIANCE The actors are brilliant and i am sure spooks will go down in history as one of the best dramas, kiss BOND goodbye a more realistic, better story is here. Enjoy one of the most memorable security-service dramas ever!

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46 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

More detailed review of Spooks

Author: ninety9_lives
13 September 2003

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.

99 Lives.

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34 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Wow!

Author: matildamother from Chicago, Illinois
1 September 2003

I absolutely LOVE this series. I got hooked with the episode involving the deep fryer and I've been hopelessly addicted ever since. This series is incredibly suspenseful and involving and I cannot wait to see what they come up with every week. The acting and writing is superb. I love this genre and I'm glad to see someone is doing something worthwhile with it. Highly recommended!!

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31 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

One of the best things on British TV

Author: The Horseman from London, England
20 May 2002

Spooks, is quite frankly, bloody excellent. It seems to have learnt all the tricks that the best of American thrillers (e.g. '24') have picked up, and uses them to the best of their abilities. The acting, especially from McFadden, is likewise excellent (unlike many other similar programs, Spooks doesn't attempt to make the characters whiter-than-white. They're likeable, just not perfect). It also has the bravery to use storylines that are shocking, but are what make it the best.

My only criticism is that the characters from 'the government' are a bit too stereotypically slimey.

Otherwise 10 out of 10

Mondays, 9:00pm, BBC 1

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24 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Best show on television

10/10
Author: Daniel James (djames42) from Seattle
25 June 2006

Just finished the last episode of series three, and was reminded why this is my favourite show of all time. I think the comparisons to 24 are quite unfair--they both deal with terrorism, but the similarities end there. Spooks is far more cerebral, and spends more effort on character and plot development.

Unlike other reviewers, I felt series three was every bit as good (and in many ways even better) than the previous two. The departure of several main characters was handled exceedingly well, and while they'll be missed, I think their replacements are quite strong and as such, the transition has been quite smooth. Kudos! (Er, no pun intended)

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24 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Commissioned by MI5?

Author: Terrence Smith from Oxford, United Kingdom
24 February 2005

Spooks has been waiting to be made ever since Fleming's Bond started the wild-fantasy spy genre. This is an attempt at a realistic depiction of the activities and lives of MI5 agents, in the way that The Bill or Casualty depict those professions. Sometimes this gives an eerie feeling of the series having been commissioned by MI5 in order to get an influx of new, preferably ethnic-minority, recruits.. but the plots are always riveting, dangerous and violent so it makes for great TV.

Most of the main characters from the first series have now left in various ways... except the boss and of course Colin.. who has to be my favourite character who no-one ever mentions. He's the most realistic spook to me.

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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

a nice addition to american television, and a great alternative to the mind numbing onslaught of reality television

Author: alc1973 from Chicopee, Massachusetts, USA
23 July 2003

This show (titled MI-5) just landed on Tuesday nights at 10 pm, with many encores throughout the week on the A&E channel. For those of you who are not familiar with the american channels, A&E runs various biography shows, a few other british shows, among others. To put it another way, when I watched it, there were no commercials for beer or fast food. It is a smart interesting show without all the flash of "24" or "alias", which are among my favorite shows. In the first episode there was little background on the characters, which is very different for american television audiences. I felt like I had missed a few episodes. The show did not spend as much time on the tech stuff either, but somehow that didn't seem so important as a great story unfolded during the hour. Very little publicity about this show has made it out there, and I only hope that enough people will stick it out and give the show enough of an audience to continue, lest we be stuck with only more of the summer dreck from the big networks.

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21 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Very, very enjoyable

Author: brotherfallout from London, England
19 June 2002

This is one of the better British TV thrillers to emerge in a few good years. What initially attracted me was another varied acting choice by Matthew MacFayden, but on watching I found myself compelled. It does suffer from some unrealism, but the characters are so interesting, the plots so varied, it makes up for it. And yes, yes, it does rip off from 24, but it hasn't tried to hide it, so in my opinion that's a good thing, seeing as 24 used some of the most innovative effects. Also, some of the secondary casting, such as Hugh Laurie's nasty Jools and Peter Firth's big boss Harry. Also, guest appearances by Anthony Head and Tim Piggot-Smith just add to the strength of this show. I eagerly await the second series, after the excellent end of the first. If you are interested in MacFayden's performance (he is one of the strongest new English talents) then check out the worthy The Way We Live Now (where he plays a cad) and the absolutely wonderful Perfect Strangers.

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