THE seeds were planted last year.
Long before series eight, episode four.
The one where Lucas North (Richard Armitage) and his past collide.
And he also visits Waterstone’s bookshop in London’s Piccadilly.
A store I know well.
This is raw, washed out and brutal Spooks at its very best.
My favourite episode so far this series.
Tortured Lucas is forced to confront his demons when he meets up again with his Russian prison interrogator Oleg Darshavin.
It’s a nightmare for him and a real dilemma for Harry and the rest of the team on The Grid.
Especially when Lucas goes off radar after his visit to the book shelves.
To seek out Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray.
A book about duplicity and selling your soul.
First we see him getting very close to CIA officer Sarah Caulfield.
She of “Hairy Pearce” fame.
Before a later glimpse of Lucas in what will forever be known as The Boiler Suit Scene.
Ros (Hermione Norris) is also tortured – by having to shoot and kill Jo (Miranda Raison) in last week’s episode.
Replayed in slow motion for those who thought we should have seen far more of Jo before she met her Spooks end.
Hairy…sorry, Harry (Peter Firth) is also struggling with his feelings, having sent Jo to her death in that bunker.
He sits beside Ruth (Nicola Walker) on a riverside bench and asks if Jo’s persuading was the only reason Ruth returned to MI5:
Ruth: “What do you mean?”
Harry: “You know what I mean.”
Harry: “I asked you here today because I needed to talk about Jo to someone.”
Ruth: “But there was something else too?”
Harry: “There’ll always be something else, Ruth.”
Bench chats aside, this is Richard Armitage’s episode.
As he puts in a damn fine performance which keeps us all guessing.
With a few twists – one of which I really didn’t see coming.
Proving that even in series eight, Spooks can still surprise its audience.
Or at least the vast majority who hadn’t already guessed.
We are also treated to a brief and indirect mention of the recently retired Malcolm.
So there’s still hope.
*Spooks episode four is screened on BBC3 at 9pm tomorrow (Friday) ahead of its BBC1 transmission at the same time next Wednesday.