mon 22/07/2024

Spooks, Series 10 Finale, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

Spooks, Series 10 Finale, BBC One

Spooks, Series 10 Finale, BBC One

Thrilling climax for long-running spy saga, but a triumph for the quietest performance of all

If you don't know me by now... Ruth (Nicola Walker) and Harry (Peter Firth) sign off

And now we faced the final curtain. Spooks responded with an inspired burst of hyperactivity and plots-within-plots, and even a micro-cameo from Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Quinn, the original head of Section D. Up to now this hadn't been the finest of seasons, partly because the death of Richard Armitage's Lucas North at the end of Series 9 left a void which was never successfully filled.

Lara Pulver never seemed comfortable as Erin Watts, Section D's new head, because she looked as if she'd been seconded from a modelling agency, while promoting Dimitri (Max Brown) up the batting order merely allowed him to become more faceless by the hour.

Apparently the plan was to put the will-they-won't-they relationship of Harry Pearce and Ruth Evershed at the centre of these final episodes, but since it was a clandestine kind of liaison at the best of times ("You and I are made of secrets," Ruth confided in the dying minutes of the final episode) there were never going to be any grandiose Doctor Zhivago moments. However, Simon Russell Beale as Home Secretary William Towers (pictured below) rose masterfully to the occasion, being acerbic, opaque, avuncular, devious or ruthless as required, and his fraught interactions with Peter Firth's Harry have supplied many of the most memorable scenes.

Towers was at his wits' end again for most of these last laps, with good reason. The Americans were demanding Pearce's head on a plate for his role in the death of CIA man Jim Coaver, and when his MI5 team sprung him from American custody it looked like we'd heard the last of the Special Relationship (though it must be said that the Americans guarding Harry made Johnny English look moderately competent). The last straw for Towers was when Harry insisted he get the RAF to shoot down a Russian passenger jet heading for Heathrow because it had a suicide bomber on board, then changed his mind with nine seconds to go. (Lara Pulver as Erin, pictured below).

This whole series has been about a proposed political partnership between Russia and the UK, a canny bit of plotting which is not quite ridiculous enough to be completely implausible, and also a deft inversion of the Cold War spy-drama convention where Russia means Bad. Always will for Harry, of course.

The downside was, we had far too much of the Gavrik family, who all spoke preposterous KGB English like the Compare the Market meerkats doing a vodka commercial. On the other hand, it did offer plenty of scope for a climactic unravelling of all the lies, counter-lies and betrayals that lay coiled up in Harry and Elena Gavrik's past (Alice Krige as Elena and Peter Firth as Harry, pictured below).

Behind Elena's smooth and icy exterior, it transpired, lay a bleak Siberian winter, which enabled her to plot airborne mass murder as calmly as the rest of us might butter a piece of toast. Harry had been torturing himself for the way he'd manipulated Elena into becoming a double agent decades earlier, only to discover that she'd been super-treble-manipulating him all along. He was the quarry, not the hunter. "You're 10 times the spy I ever was," Harry grudgingly conceded. Still, he must have been relieved that the morbid and petulant Sasha wasn't his son after all, as the flint-hearted Elena had led him to believe.

You couldn't say that Ruth (Nicola Walker) had the last laugh, but her dogged professionalism and instinct for a wrong'un left her miles ahead of Harry when the chips were down. Had it not been for her inspired one-minute-to-midnight intervention, everybody including the Home Secretary would have ended up in jail or at the very least on the dole. Walker's performance has been a sustained study in antisocial dowdiness, and in its quiet way a small masterpiece of TV acting.

Ruth's dogged professionalism and instinct for a wrong'un left her miles ahead of Harry when the chips were down

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The biggest mistake the producers made was getting ride of Lucas North, their best actor, in the last series, through a totally implausible plotline. Spooks never recovered, and was too predictable.

I agree. Lucas North deserved a much better end than the shoddy one he received at the hands of the Spooks writers.

The way most of the agents are killed in the line of duty does nothing to inspire anyone to join MI5, even with there current recruitment overdrive...

I share the critique about Lucas North's too sudden and not really brilliant end of career in Spooks 9. Although I must say that Richard Armitage was sometimes overplaying his character beyond a limit of sustainability. Far below the fine acting of Peter Firth and, especially, Nicola Walker. However, SPOOKS was a unique piece of television that other countries envy you Brits. In Germany where television has more funds and therefore theoretically more possibilities than in Britain, but also in other countries, a series like SPOOKS would not be possible today. The craftsmanship and the intelligence behind the overall construction of the series is, to me, unreached. So what I will do is to go back in time and give myself and some friends a SPOOKS marathon, one of these days, and watch all of them again. Kudos to Kudos and all who contributed. You rocked fiction television with SPOOKS for the past 10 years.

Hated what happened with Lucas in Series 9, but I can NOT wait to see Series 10 here in the US. Can't wait to see Tom Quinn. He was the reason I watched in the first place!!!

The best television series ever made. Consistently strong performances from Peter Firth and Nicola Walker, consummate actors who carved out their own roles, and consistently fine writing except for Season 9. I was a fan from the first show through to the last, though the first five or six series remain my favorites. Overall, a really unusual and extremely likable show that made feel smart for watching, instead of hating myself as I usually do after watching other network TV shows. ...Will the complete boxed set come out in time for Christmas?? lol

Writing for the show was inconsistent throughout the seasons. However, I got hooked by good acting. I loved Tom, Adam, and Lucas. Lucas' ending was not very believable. Harry and Ruth were my favorite characters. I was really mad at the end when Ruth died. Why did they kill off everybody in the show. What would it have hurt to let Harry and Ruth have some kind of peaceful ending. It made me mad I watched it. I felt betrayed or tricked.

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