Lockdown TV Review: Spooks Series 4

With the loss of its original core cast and the destabilising presence of Martine McCutcheon, Series 4 of Spooks struggles to find its feet

“You’re up against the British state…who do you think is going to win that particular battle?”

This season of Spooks struggles quite badly amidst all the upheaval of Series 3 in which in the entire original team departed Thames House. Tom’s identikit replacement Adam does well enough but somehow, something goes terribly wrong with the introduction of his wife and fellow spy Fiona (Olga Sosnovska). They sadly lack chemistry and their domestic drama just doesn’t translate well into the business of saving the country on a weekly basis.

The tone is set by the randomly chaotic energy of Martine McCutcheon’s guest spot in the opener two-parter and from then on, as we cover people smuggling, the rise of far right political movements, cultists and the ethics of releasing terrorist suspects, the series jerks along rather, Raza Jaffrey’s Danny-a-like isn’t given anywhere near enough to do and the snaffling of Miranda Raison’s Jo off the street is as bizarre an advert for recruitment as any.

Nicola Walker-ometer
It’s a pretty low-key series for Ruth – hints of her passion for Harry come through whether in romantic feeling or rebelling against him a bit. She comes into her own in the final episode with the revelation of a step-brother who killed himself but has never been mentioned before putting her in the line of fire but all in all she deserves better.

Top 5 guest spots
1 To be honest, Anna Chancellor probably counts as more of a series regular as her Juliet Shaw rises to the rank of National Security Co-ordinator and has her finger in many a case. 
2 Rupert Graves‘ Farage-a-like is horrifyingly plausible.
3 Nathalie Armin plays a small but vital role in Fiona’s backstory, right to the bitter end.
4 Ben Daniels‘ Russian tech millionaire is certainly a vivid presence, comedy Russki accent aside.
5 And wrapping up the series, Lindsay Duncan is terrific as the unhinged Angela Wells in the ingeniously plotted ‘Diana’.

Saddest death
I didn’t care enough about Fiona sorry, so the brutal drowning of Margot Leicester’s Auntie May wins this award, the Isis safe house will never be the same

Most WTF moment
Adam choosing Martine McCutcheon over his family is up there but recruiting wannabe journalist Jo off the streets takes the biscuit, especially as she’s managed to become a fully trained spy by the next episode 

BIggest betrayal
Perpetrated on Shauna MacDonald’s Sam by the writers as she was shunted off to GCHQ off-screen because she was just so upset by Danny’s death

MVP
Hugh Simon’s Malcolm is a steady presence but he does have some strong moments as the new regulars take their time to bed in.

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