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MI-5 (2015)

Spooks: The Greater Good (original title)
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When a terrorist escapes custody during a routine handover, Will Holloway must team with disgraced MI5 Intelligence Chief Harry Pearce to track him down before an imminent terrorist attack on London.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Vass
June Keaton
Geoffrey Streatfeild ...
Philip Emerson
Matthew Walker ...
Prison Van Officer
Adem Qasim
Francis Warrender
Geraldine Maltby
Ed Lansbury
Luke Harris ...
Hamza Ahmadi


MI5 personnel are caught up in a traffic jam in London while escorting the CIA's most wanted terrorist to an arranged CIA handover point, when he is suddenly rescued by armed men on motorbikes. Harry Pearce, the head of Counter-Terrorism at MI5 is blamed for the terrorist escaping. Especially as Harry disappeared shortly after the incident. An ex-agent, Will Holloway, and protégé of Harry's is recalled by MI5 to assist in finding and bringing Harry in. However Harry has disappeared for a reason. Certain that there is a traitor in a senior position in MI5, he enlists the somewhat reluctant Will to help him in uncovering the rat or rats concerned. Written by Woodland Outlaw

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Loyalty is treason


Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 December 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

MI-5  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Follows the British spy series MI-5 (2002), which aired on BBC One from 2002 to 2011. See more »


Passengers travel on the shuttle train after going airside through security at Heathrow Terminal 5 to get to the 5B terminal and not before clearing security as depicted in the chase between Holloway and the MI5 officers.

(This sequence was originally scripted to be at Gatwick Airport - which does have shuttle trains between terminals. The sequence of events was kept for dramatic effect when production opted to shoot at Heathrow instead.) See more »


[first lines]
Robert Vass: I spy with my little eye, something beginning with - R. If you can't get it, you do a forfeit.
June Keaton: Rain?
See more »


Featured in Projector: San Andreas/Spooks: The Greater Good (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

"MI-5" is no "Mission: Impossible 5", but it holds its own in 2015's crop of spy and espionage movies.
13 December 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I was buying my ticket to "MI-5" (R, 1:44), the cashier asked me if I knew that this movie was not "Mission: Impossible 5". I said that I did, and we briefly spoke about the confusion caused by the title of the movie that I was about to see. As if on cue, as I walked away, I heard the woman who had just come to the box office request a ticket for "Mission: Impossible 5". She decided to choose another movie.

Her confusion is understandable. Just a few months before the British spy thriller "MI-5" hit American theaters, "Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation" (sometimes referred to as "M:I-5") was playing widely in the U.S. Lest anyone think that "MI-5" is trying to ride the coat tails of "M:I-5", I should mention that the former is a cinematic continuation of the 2002-2011 British TV series of the same name. And, ironically enough, the jump that "MI-5" made to the big screen mirrors that of "Mission: Impossible" in which the first of the movies has the hero of the TV series going rogue. If all that is too confusing, maybe this will help: The British series is called "MI-5" in the U.S., but was titled "Spooks" in the U.K. (after the common nickname for spies around the world) and the film version is known overseas as "Spooks: The Greater Good". I hope that clears up any confusion, and I'll just talk about the British film from here on in.

"Spooks: The Greater Good" / "MI-5" takes its name from the legendary British Secret Service which is responsible for counter-terrorism and counter-espionage as it works to protect British governmental and economic interests. When Adem Qasim (Elyes Gabel), the CIA's most wanted terrorist, escapes British custody while being transported to American agents, Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), head of MI-5's counter-terrorism department (Section D), is blamed. With "MI-5" facing an existential crisis and trying to save face after Qasim's escape, the organization pressures Pearce to resign. Instead, he disappears.

Former MI-5 agent, Will Holloway (Kit Harrington), who was only with the agency for a year, is brought in to help find Pearce. Holloway's father used to work with Pearce. MI-5 agents Geraldine Maltby (Jennifer Ehle) and Mace (Tim McInnerny) – with their boss, Francis Warrender (David Harewood) backing them up – tell Halloway that Pearce has more information about Halloway's father's death in the field than the young man had previously known. Halloway is reluctant because Pearce was the one responsible for Halloway's dismissal from MI-5 years before, but he really wants to get the whole story behind his father's death, so he sets out to find Pearce.

Holloway uses some of his MI-5 skills to catch up to Pearce in Berlin, but gets much more than he bargained for. Before Pearce tells Holloway anything else about his father, Pearce enlists Holloway to help him in his self-assigned one-man mission to find a traitor within MI-5. Holloway doesn't like or trust Pearce, especially when he finds out Pearce has been in contact with Qasim, but his encounters with another agent (Tuppence Middleton) lead Holloway to believe that Pearce is right about the traitor within their organization. The rest of the film involves a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in which Pearce works Qasim to discover the traitor's identity and Holloway works desperately to prevent a terrorist attack on London.

"MI-5" / "Spooks: The Greater Good" effectively mixes influences from the "Mission: Impossible" movies and TV shows like "Homeland" and "24", but isn't quite as good. Some of the film's plot points feel contrived, but the main story is interesting and keeps the audience guessing. The script contains great lines ("You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose.") as it delves into the complicated world of counter-terrorism in the 21st century and explores the difficult decisions we must make to survive in that world. Gabel isn't quite menacing enough as the villain, but Firth brings forward his character from the TV show wonderfully, while Harrington is great in this modern "Game of Thrones". It's too bad that woman chose not to see "MI-5". She missed a very entertaining movie. "B+"

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