This review contains spoilers.
We are nearly halfway through the final series of Spooks now, and things have really hit their stride, with just the right mix of conspiracy, action and character development. Last series’ clunky climax is already being forgotten.
Thankfully Lucas is now a distant memory and the new team is working well. Erin, it seems, is the new Roz; a combination of Supernanny and Sarah Connor from The Terminator. Dimitri is doing his best Bond impression, and Callum, whilst being irritating, seems to be proving his worth as an analyst by pulling double duty on the case at hand, as well as trying to track down Tariq’s killer.
But of course the new team are just the tip of the emotive iceberg at The Grid, as the simmering tension between Harry and Ruth continues.
Actually I think I may well be finding that Ruth is now by far my favourite character. Committed, loyal and secretively passionate, she is the character that has held the team together; a mother figure devoted to her job and besotted by Harry. And while the wily head of The Grid has shown that he too shares more than a passing interest emotionally with Ruth, it’s obvious that the relationship is very one-sided. Whether this passion for Harry will override Ruth’s commitment for the job and lead her down the path of a woman scorned, or being pulled into doing something with her heart rather than her head, remains to be seen. However, her meeting with the Home Secretary may well lead to something that could cause a lot of problems down the line.
While the long-game simmers in the background and the influence of the Russians still holds Harry in sway, this week really was about Dimitri stepping up to the plate. For the first time he actually gets a near-enough solo mission, and a much needed boost in the character development stakes.
When a well-known anarchist, Johnny Grier, appears on the scene, and trace elements of a radioactive substance are found, it seems that the team are in a race against time before a dirty bomb is set off in central London. Going undercover, Dimitri (as cool estate agent Ryan) infiltrates the anarchist’s workings by going the whole James Bond, and using his wiles and charm to emotionally honeytrap Johnny’s sister Natalie. And over the course of the episode, he gains the trust of the hyper-paranoid Johnny.
With trap, counter-trap, double-crossing, bugging, surveillance and counter-surveillance, and Dimitri really pulling out all the stops to convince both Johnny and Natalie that he has no secrets, and really is a legitimate mild mannered estate agent, the episode moves along at an explosive pace. It’s a textbook piece of superb television writing, especially when Johnny convinces Dimitri that what he smuggled through customs was something completely different to what the team and we viewers were expecting.
While the whole episode could well have been the usual cat and mouse affair, with Dimitri having to sneak around and spy on Johnny while using his sister as a pawn, things played out so much better than expected, with more than one twist and betrayal. It’s ample demonstration that the writers have a firm grip on what makes tense and thrilling television, taking what could have been a standard ‘filler’ episode into something so much more.
Even when things eventually draw to a conclusion, the writing makes you think that at the end, maybe, just maybe, Johnny is right in his righteous justice. That what he is fighting for is actually worth the sacrifice he is going to make, especially when his target is really a caricature of a certain well known media mogul who has recently got into a little hot water with phone tapping allegations.
With the team being positioned and assigned to take down the bomb threat, and the potential biohazard now being a top priority, everyone on the entire team is in a very difficult situation. As having just been told about Tariq’s funeral, the team are ready to investigate the death of one of their own, but are pulled away.
As we saw last week Tariq was onto something, recognising the face of the secret cell that has been causing the team headaches since the beginning of the series. And while the passing of another superb character in another grizzly way was tragic, what we are left with is so much more, with this tantalising spoiler and unresolved plot point dangling, ready to be solved.
With the plots and threads all intertwining so well, and roads leading to both very small family matters with Harry, Elena and Sasha and potential huge global problems with the US, Russia and the UK, it looks like things are really going to hot up. Especially when Harry all but accuses his former best friend, the head of the CIA no less, as being the leak and the leader of the secret terrorist cell.
All gripping stuff, and once again I cannot wait until next week…
You can read our review of Spooks series 10 episode 2 here.