TV Review: Spooks, BBC One, Monday 3 November, 9pm


A tense week for Section D as Harry goes off to spend some time in a bookshop (that is not as bookish as it seems), the team monitor a dry run of an Al Qaeda bomb plot (that is not as dry as it seems), and everyone wonders whether the lovely Jo has been blown up or not, and if she hasn’t been entirely blown up, will she be horrifically scarred for life by bits of flying policeman, or have lost a limb. Or her mind.

If I was a spook, I’d treat everything I was told as if it was at least a double-bluff and more likely a triple- or quadruple-bluff. So those nice people on the Grid have only themselves to blame, taking it at face value that the bomb plot would be a dry run the first time round, before the real thing went down with real explosives.

The real Mr Big is never the real Mr Big. You can tell that because Mr Bigs don’t talk with low-level minions and they don’t – ever – get taken out. Can you imagine a world with the Mr Big taken out? There wouldn’t be any more plots to solve, and bluffs would fall back to the level of just being bluffs. How boring would that be?

Still, our guys did a pretty good job of reacting to the news that the dry run was actually a wet run (look up “wet work” if you think I’m being needlessly flippant), and Ros did an even better job of sticking up for herself at the subsequent drains-up with the minister. He reference to being able to cope with “supercilious smirks from the officer class” was perfectly crafted and exquisitely delivered. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say I’m “warming” to such an ice queen as Ros, but I will admit to a growing admiration. Nothing fluffy about it at all, you understand.

Ben did well on his first undercover mission too, didn’t you think? Apart from verging on sympathy for the young brainwashed bombers. Still, he’s young. He’ll get over it. Before we know it he’ll be a clinical automaton like the rest of Section D and then he won’t ever have to worry about getting too close to anyone ever again.

Harry was getting close to someone though. The mysterious “Spycatcher” – aka Qualtrough. One of the oldest of the old boys. All this was sparked off by Lucas’s revelation that he was interrogated about Operation Sugar Horse, the most secret ongoing spy operation MI5 ever had. The fact that the Russians even knew the codename means MI5 have a high level mole. Spycatcher’s help is needed to… err… catch the spy. This will clearly be a theme for the rest of the series, with no-one safe from suspicion.

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