TV Review: Spooks – Code 9

Spooks – Code 9 is a spin-off that spins off too far, nowhere near deserving of the Spooks name

“Don’t make me look like a dickhead”

An absolutely baffling one this. Spooks – Code 9 was commissioned by the Beeb as a spin-off of the Spooks franchise that was aimed at the 16-24 demographic. Conventional wisdom dictates that a spin-off has at least some connection to its parent but for some reason, the decision was made to completely sever this new show, with no crossover with Spooks whatsoever.

Not only that, it is also set in an entirely different universe as this series is set in a UK that is reeling from a nuclear attack during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics Games. With London irradiated and most of its staff killed, MI5 has had to evacuate Thames House and set up regional field offices. Because the only way to justify setting a show in Leeds is to make London radioactive…(and even then they can’t keep away for the finale).

Crucially, you could forgive them borrowing the name of a franchise if the show were any good but over its mercifully short run of six episodes, Spooks: Code 9 is quite frankly embarrassing. Because everyone else is apparently dead, the best people to become the new MI5 are all fresh-faced early 20s types with no experience. Worse still, there’s not an interesting character trait between them.

Over the course of dealing with environmental terrorists, a lawless society, even more lawless authorities and an MI5 conspiracy (given how many MI5 characters there are, just who could the traitor be…?!), the writing team – each episode is written by a different person – have completely failed to provide any attempt at characterisation, at a thematic house style, indeed any kind of consistency. Best avoided.  

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