12:07 24 October 2011
It began a few months after 9/11 and gripped the nation with its portrayal of the security services and the work they do. Spooks was the perfect example of television for its time.
Helen Flynn (Lisa Faulkner), an administrator within Section D was - for all intents and purposes - a main character with the future ahead of her. Until the second episode where she had her head pushed into a vat of hot oil to be deep fried and was shot dead at point blank range.
The episode prompted record complaints but the BBC defended the show. It was gritty and real they said, and it showed the real dangers that the security services are in. There were no spies jumping from buildings without even a scratch to show for it or them being tied to a bench and having a laser slowly cut up to you, before being saved in the nick of time. This was real. People died, and they died horribly.
Spooks to end
This series will be
With Spooks youd never know if your favourite character would survive, and even boss Harry Pearce, played by Peter Firth, didnt always seem safe. That was what made it such a fantastic drama.
It took several series for Harry to become the focus of the show, and that was reallydown to the introduction of Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker), who Harry eventually fell in love with. It was this love story that kept the heart of Spooks beating, even when all seemed lost and Ruth had to flee the country.
One of Spooks strengths was that it had an uncanny knack of predicting future threats and dramatising them to within an inch of their lives.
But its strength also became its weakness. During the recent Blackberry service outage, there was hardly a person out there that hadnt considered the possibility that behind the scenes, something out of Spooks was going on. Which is why it was the right time to end the show.
A disastrous foray into the future with the BBC3 spinoff Spooks: Code 9 gave the perfect excuse to wrap it up in 2011. Tempting as though it might be to ignore the existence of the spinoff, it would be hard to explain the lack of a nuclear bomb wiping out half of the country at the Olympic Games, and hold onto any remaining realism.
Spooks made its name by being brutally realistic but as it went on, lost the realism and truth that defined it and very nearly became just another spy show. Thankfully, in the final series of just six episodes, it went back to basics.
A simpler storyline involving Harrys past during the Cold War, Britains need for fuel security, and the country who could provide it, Russia. But under all that it was really the final chapter of a long love story between Harry and Ruth. The two characters who deserved a happy ending more than any others, but this was Spooks, and that couldnt happen.
Ruth died because of the game she was in. She and Harry were creatures of secrets and guilt, and she died because of it, and Harry survived because thats what needed to happen. They were never going to have their happy ending, but Spooks got its.
There was a little surprise with a hark back to the beginning with former Section Chief Tom (Matthew McFadden) on behalf of Harry, turning up to assassinate the man behind the plot which led to Ruths death. But at least she didnt find herself being deep fried, and thats the main thing.
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