Spooks: An Honourable Man

“SOMETIMES you have to give a man a chance, Ruth.

“To show you who he really is.”

Spooks series nine episode three, with Peter Firth on scorching form as Sir Harry Pearce.

Next Monday’s visit to Thames House begins with Spooks in space.

Or rather a spy satellite beaming back live coverage of the Azakstan Freedom Front (AFF) trying to get their hands on a nerve agent (yes, another one) called Paroxocybin.

Which we later learn would wipe out the entire population of London in less than a week.

A weapon of mass destruction with no antidote.

Much like the dearly departed Ros.

It’s a tense time for Harry and Ruth (Nicola Walker) as they are involved in another late night call.

This time it’s to Home Secretary William Towers, who is resplendent in dressing gown and pyjamas.

A look he sadly exchanges for suit and tie when interviewed by Kirsty Wark in the Newsnight studio.

The cuddly coalition Home Sec (Simon Russell Beale) is decidedly frosty towards Harry right from the off.

With Harry, in turn, taking it out on Ruth. “Doubting my judgement?” he snaps.

But has Harry made a mistake?

Yes, I've got you on my screen. Tariq Masood played by Shazad Latif

He runs out of patience with the Russian ambassador during one of those classic Thames Embankment walks, including mandatory black leather gloves.

Harry’s demeanour goes further downhill when Russian FSB officer Viktor Barenshik (Julian Lewis Jones) is seconded to The Grid.

AFF member Azis Aibek (Jonathan Aris) is in the capital, determined to get his hands on the nerve agent.

Of course Tariq (Shazad Latif) is on hand to track him down, armed with phrases like: “I’m resectioning a live facial recog.”

As Harry orders: “Enact Level 8 protocol.”

A phrase we must all somehow strive to introduce into our daily conversation.

Viktor and Lucas (Richard Armitage) have one of my all-time favourite Spooks’ exchanges.

(Mild spoiler – click here if you want to be armed with the background)

In a clever hour of television, keeping this series right on the money.

Including the latest outing of The Beth Bailey Stare.

It’s a joy to see Spooks treated with such loving care by everyone from script writer to final tweaks of post-production.

With a special mention for the background mood music.

Of course, as ever, if you examine the story in finite detail, you’ll find things to pick at.

But what would be the point of that?

Spooks is dramatic entertainment where you should check in your disbelief at the door and enjoy the ride.

And quite a ride it is.

As Viktor says to Lucas: “MI5 never ceases to impress.”

Spooks continues on BBC1 at 9pm next Monday.

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