Lockdown TV Review: Spooks Series 5

Full of shocks that actually mean something, Series 5 of Spooks is one of its absolute best

“The British people will accept anything if you serve it up with a picture of Will Young in the shower”

A cracking series of Spooks that starts off with a series of bangs, robbing Colin of his life and Juliet Shaw of her ability to walk, the introduction of Ros Myers to the team is an invigorating success, particularly as she inspires Jo to become more badass too. This incarnation of the team really does click well, responding smoothly to the enforced changes in personnel, though newly single father Adam’s mental health crisis too often feels like a plot device rather than a genuine exploration of PTSD.

Subject-wise, the relevance level remains high, particularly pertinent when it comes to national crises with panic buying and over-stuffed hospitals feeling all too real. The role of fundamentalist zealots is shared equally between Christian and Islamic believers over the series and even if the finale underwhelms somewhat, the eco-terrorism theme hasn’t become any less significant.

Nicola Walker-ometer
I’m still not over it, the defenestration of Ruth Evershed. Having finally made it to a date with Harry, which went about as well as could be expected, she runs up against a murderous Oliver Mace conspiracy and ends up having to fake her own death to protect Harry and ends up fleeing the country. An ignominious end for the heart of the team. 

Top 5 guest spots
1 Roger Allam’s Murdoch-a-like sowing the seeds of discontent as part of an elite conspiracy.
2 Gugu Mbatha-Raw deserves better than nanny Jenny, who suffers the same underwritten fate of any of the characters introduced to give our spooks a home life. Still, she gets to shag Adam…
3 Episode 4 ‘World Trade’ is blessed with a stellar supporting cast, with Alex Jennings, Lucian Msamati and Nikki Amuka-Bird all getting juicy roles to sink their teeth into.
4 Two-parter ‘The Hostage Takers’ welcomes Saskia Reeves’ Sally, set up as a possible new Ruth for the team. Sadly, it doesn’t quite work out that way.
5 Phoebe Nicholls’ pursed-lipped Chief Scientist adds some real class to the finale, even as high tide approaches.

Saddest death
Episode 1 does a good job of subverting the relative ease of Adam’s quick recovery from being hit with high-velocity rounds but at a terrible cost. There’s a delicate pathos to Colin‘s demise that sets it apart from many other of the Spooks team, Rory MacGregor’s delivery of “I’m not meant to be out in the field” finding a quiet tragedy that feels infinitely more brutal that than your all-action deaths.

Most WTF moment
I can’t quite figure out the HR manoeuvres that allow Adam to remain in active service while meeting with a psychologist who knows he is thoroughly unfit for duty.

Hermione Norris’ Ros is a cracking addition to the team, with the driest of wits and the willingness to get truly down and dirty on any op makes her one of the most – if not the most – thrilling Spooks of all time.

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