Lockdown TV Review: Spooks Series 7

In which the rollercoaster of quality rockets sky-high again, Series 7 of Spooks ranks as one of my favourites

“I want my team to know why I acted the way I did”

The introduction of series-long plots didn’t necessarily work first time round for Spooks but in Series 7, the magic certainly happens to produce one of the best seasons across its decade-long life. Perhaps the reduced episode order from 10 to 8 helped to refine the effectiveness of the storytelling, recognising that it was Adam’s time to go definitely worked and finally made the right kind of room for Ros to rise, and giving Gemma Jones this material was an absolute masterstroke. 

Undoing the silly fakeouts of Ros and Jo’s ‘deaths’ right from the off, the introduction of Richard Armitage’s Lucas North also works well, his time in Russian captivity casting a nice shade of doubt over his presence in the team, a marked difference to the alpha males of Tom and Adam. And the ongoing Sugarhorse mystery is skillfully wound throughout the whole season, coiling ever-tighter until the hammer blows of a properly fierce finale. 

Nicola Walker-ometer
She’s just a distant memory at this point – Harry really is such a fuckboy.

Top 5 guest spots
1 Spooks often drags in ordinary people into the drama but rarely does it do it as affectingly as Wendy Nottingham and Jacob Anderson, the mother and son tragically caught up in an MI6 conspiracy in Episode 6 ‘Accidental Discovery’.
2 And speaking of, Richard Clothier does a terrific job as the sinister agent and assassin Michael Sands, briefly making St Pancras the most terrifying place to be. 
3 Paul Rhys‘ uber-rich banker trying to upturn the very system of capitalism itself is a vivid villain of the week in ‘On The Brink’. 
4 And in the same episode (5), Selina Cadell‘s Chancellor of the Exchequer makes for a worthy adversary.
5 And though she only gets a brief appearance, Kika Markham‘s Maria Korachevsky is integral to exposing the mole at the heart of MI5.

BIggest betrayal
Here it is, my favourite moment in all of Spooks, at least that isn’t Nicola Walker-related – Connie‘s a Russian double agent! I’d forgotten how much the story is threaded throughout the whole series, hints of her betrayal coming as early as Episode 4, with misdirection throwing us off the scent. With exposure eventually threatened though, Gemma Jones plays the switch with a marvellous air of callous cool – that iconic hiss at Harry! 

Saddest death
But that coolness comes at a cost, and it is Alex Lanipekun’s Ben who pays the brutal price with a garrotte to the neck. 

Most WTF moment
The series is very strong as a whole, so much so that I don’t think anything really stood out for me apart from the unexpectedness of Anastasia Hille’s US accent. The last twist is a good’un though, making you instantly hungry for the next series.

Hermione Norris’ Ros gets this again, her rise to Section Head entirely well-deserved and a pointed rebuke to the testosterone-heavy higher echelons that have dominated thus far.

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