Deliciously more- ish, it’s criminal to miss
Spooks 9.25pm, ABC1
FRIDAY has long been crime night, especially on the ABC. But there’s television crime in the Jerry Bruckheimer sense ( Cold Case and the Law & Order and CSI franchises), where everything, no matter how desperately in need of clarificiation or further exploration, is surgically edited into four neat acts. You’re left with no satisfying aftertaste because there has been no time for anything like character development.
This is fast food TV, suitable for midweek crime pangs, when most of us stagger in from work, organise the kids, fix dinner and have little energy left over for anything too challenging on the box.
Then there’s TV crime of a different order, crime that does not demand perfect closure in 42 minutes flat. Spooks is clearly in this second tier. It is crime that challenges the brain by revealing its mysteries gradually. It is like a three- course meal in a decent restaurant: crime a la carte, if you will.
But the real classifier of Spooks as something in a different league is the story arcs that resolve themselves during the course of an entire series.
This is not to say you need to have sat glued to the screen from episode one to have a clue what’s going on. It’s just that the luxury of not having to hit a plot point every 10 minutes or so is evident in almost every frame.
Spooks is slick and it flirts with modern post- production techniques such as split screens, fast motion and action repeated from various angles.
The other thing that defines it is conflict among the team, with much haughty British impertinence in the face of authority.
Tonight MI5 secret service agent Adam Carter ( Rupert Penry- Jones) is in a right English snit, bawling out co- workers and overdoing his interrogation technique in the team’s longrunning pursuit of terrorist suspects.
The poor fellow is having dreadful trouble at home with the girlfriend, who until this episode has been kept in the dark and is needlessly piqued by his ridiculous hours, frequent bloody noses and general stress- head unpleasantness.
And look out for long- suffering regular Juliet Shaw ( Anna Chancellor) who tonight out- Bonds Bond. She has a gadget implanted in her neck with no anaesthetic via an exceedingly thick needle, right on the table in the boss’s office.
Later, she dazzles with a quickthinking display of feminine wiles when a victim whose drink she spikes has a bad reaction to the drug and starts to have a fit. Bared breasts are just the thing to make the goons who rush in believe his noises are more pleasurable than medical.
Dishy: Rupert Penry- Jones as MI5 officer Adam Carter in Spooks