Spooks, BBC1

by | Aug 11, 2003 | All, Reviews

Spooks went out with a plop this week, as dashing hero-spy Tom jumped into the sea after shooting his boss, pompous wally-spy Harry. It was a fitting end to a series which had become steadily more comicbook as the weeks rolled on, vying with ITV’s Ultimate Force for the title of Drama That Worked Its Way Through The Most Threats To National Security With The Fewest Actors And Least Believable Scripts. They ended up with a draw, which is a good enough excuse for a rematch next year.

Spooks’ season finale episode had been withheld from BBC3’s week-in-advance slot, presumably in case digital viewers revealed the gripping climax to the analogue masses. The Beeb needn’t have bothered, since the plot was completely incomprehensible anyway, and it’s doubtful if anyone (including the writers) could have explained it. Was Tom planning to defect? Or were the CIA framing him because of his affair with their operative? Or was that nasty American bloke framing the CIA? Or was Harry actually the villain, framing the American bloke to look as if he was framing the CIA to make them look as if they were framing Tom?

The answer is – who cares? What mattered was that the ladies got to see Tom (Matthew MacFayden) batting those Kohl-black eyelashes, while Zoe (Keeley Hawes) strutted purposefully round in those deliciously dykey outfits that get men’s (and presumably a few women’s) hearts pounding, and Danny (David Oyelowo) looked as if he’d eclipse both of them if only they could find an excuse to get his shirt off. Oh, and there were some gadgets too, for those who still mourn the passing of Spooks’ battery-powered forerunner, Bugs.

Spooks is nonsense, but compulsive viewing nonsense, saved by a bit of depth in its characterisation (we like the desperate-to-stay woman from GCHQ), and either able to laugh at itself, or taking itself so seriously that it’s laughable – it doesn’t really matter which, since you get a giggle either way. Rumour has it that both Tom and Harry will be there, large as life, in series three. That’ll require some fairly massive, credibility-straining plot twists, which should take care of the first five minutes of episode one. From then on it’ll be plain sailing.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

11/08/2003

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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