Spooks: The Greater Good

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Spooks: The Greater Good
Spooks The Greater Good film poster.png
Film poster
Directed byBharat Nalluri[1]
Produced by
  • Jane Featherstone[1]
Written by
  • Jonathan Brackley[1]
  • Sam Vincent[1]
Music byDominic Lewis
CinematographyHubert Taczanowski
Edited byJamie Pearson
Distributed byEntertainment One (UK)
Release date
  • 8 May 2015 (2015-05-08)
Running time
104 minutes[2]
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget$1.1 million [3]
Box office$5.3 million[4]

Spooks: The Greater Good is a 2015 British spy film, continuing from the British spy series Spooks (known as MI-5 in some countries), which aired on BBC One from 2002 to 2011. Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent wrote the script, with Bharat Nalluri directing. Peter Firth reprises his role as Harry Pearce, who appeared in all ten series of the programme. Also returning from the TV series are Tim McInnerny as Oliver Mace, Lara Pulver as Erin Watts, Hugh Simon as Malcolm Wynn-Jones, and Geoffrey Streatfeild as Calum Reed. Kit Harington and Jennifer Ehle star as new characters in leading roles.

The film was released on 8 May 2015.[5] Upon its release, it received generally mixed reviews from critics.


Harry Pearce is head of the counter-terrorism department (Section D) at MI5. Harry's team is transporting apprehended terrorist Adem Qasim through London when the convoy is attacked, allowing Qasim to escape and a CIA operative to be killed. MI5 is humiliated in the press, and relations between British and American intelligence agencies are frayed. Realising that the CIA will demand a scapegoat and that he is soon to be decommissioned from MI5, Harry seemingly commits suicide by jumping off Lambeth Bridge into the Thames, but actually tracks down the fugitive Qasim, but does not call in MI5 and instead meets with Qasim to offer him a deal: he will get Qasim "what he wants" if he gives him the MI5 contact who helped him escape. Qasim forces Harry to take part in the killing of one of Hary's former operatives before he agrees to Harry's deal.

Meanwhile, Will Holloway is picked up in Moscow by MI5 operative Hannah Santo and taken back to meet MI5 Director General Oliver Mace, JIC Chairman Francis Warrender, MI5 Head of Counter-Intelligence Emerson and MI5 Deputy Director General Geraldine Maltby. Will's father worked with Harry until he was killed in action during a mission in Berlin. Will worked closely with Harry for several years as his father did, until Harry decommissioned him citing poor performance, leaving Will with a serious grudge. The intelligence officials were not fooled by Harry's death and want Will to find him and bring him in. Will is reluctant at first but is convinced when Mace suggests Harry has information about his father's death he has not revealed.

Harry contacts Will and organises a meet with him. Will is accompanied by an MI5 surveillance team, but Harry utilises an elaborate series of misdirections and location changes to talk to Will alone. Harry reveals his suspicions about a traitor inside MI5 and asks for Will's help. Will refuses to trust Harry, but does start investigating the theory without notifying MI5. He meets with June, a section D officer who was involved in the botched prisoner transport, and they investigate flat of the operation lead, Robert Vass, where they find incriminating evidence; when he arrives home, there is a fight and June kills Vass.

British intelligence chiefs are attending an opera with NATO officials where a suicide bomber kills Warrender and five other intelligence and military figures. Qasim takes credit on the news afterwards, citing it as a targeted attack on the elite rather than the public, but he is privately dissatisfied with the government response so starts to plan an attack on Oxford Circus that will kill hundreds of civilians. Qasim wants, in exchange for the contact who helped him, his wife, whom MI5 traded to the FSB. Harry travels to Berlin to organise a trade with the FSB, but Will and June intervene and attempt to take Harry back to England. Harry quickly realises June is working against them and convinces Will she intends to kill them. They capture June who out of loyalty to the service has been doing the traitor's work unknowingly. They leave her in Berlin, and meet with the FSB as Harry planned—unfortunately they discover Qasim's wife has died in FSB custody. They take her body and organise a meet with Qasim, claiming she is alive.

Back in the UK, Harry and Will are able to recruit Hannah to their cause, and she pretends to be Qasim's wife. However, Qasim's agent is not fooled by Hannah's disguise and the operation is botched. Realising their original plan will not work, Harry goes off comms and, after confirming for Qasim that his wife is dead, makes a new deal with him. Fearing what deal Harry might have made, Will demands Hannah call in SCO19—they arrive, arresting Harry and Will and taking them back to MI5 HQ.

Qasim has given Harry the location of his terrorist cell, allowing MI5 to completely neutralise the pending attack and apprehend almost all of Qasim's men. While Mace, Emerson and Maltby are interrogating Harry to discover the other side of the deal, Qasim bursts into the room with armed men, killing several personnel. To their horror, Harry had given Qasim the knowledge necessary to infiltrate MI5. Mace steps up and insists Qasim kill him and leave the others alone, but after Emerson takes credit for sabotaging the prisoner transport, Qasim kills him instead. While Qasim is distracted, Will works with June to get the upper hand with Qasim's men, and is able to kill them and Qasim, ending the siege. Now aware that Harry was right about there being a traitor, Mace lets him go before the authorities arrive. Will catches up to Harry and demands an explanation—Harry explains it was the only way to stop the attack and kill the traitor, and that although people still died, it was preferable to the hundreds who would have died in the attack.

A week later, Harry meets with Maltby at a seaside home where she is playing with her niece. While her niece is outside, Harry tells her that he knows she was the one who sabotaged the prisoner transport and let Qasim escape, Emerson just claimed credit in order to protect her. Maltby refuses to accept any consequences for her actions, so Harry reveals she does not have to because he poisoned her lunch and she has only two hours left to live. Harry later meets with Will and tells him that the real reason he decommissioned him was not because he was not good enough, but to protect him out of respect for his father. Harry then leaves.


Peter Firth (pictured, left) reprises his role as Harry Pearce from the television series.


Plans of the film were first revealed to be 'in the works' by Firth in March 2013, with a script in development. Firth stated that although "they should make it," he also thought it would cost a lot, "and there's not a lot of money to go 'round at the moment."[11] The film was officially announced on 1 November 2013. Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent, who took over as head writers for the last two years of the Spooks television series, wrote the script. It would be directed by Bharat Nalluri, who previously directed the first episodes of the programme. Jane Featherstone and Stephen Garrett of Kudos, and Ollie Madden of Shine Group would produce the film.[8][12]

Principal photography commenced in March 2014 at locations including Berlin, Moscow, Isle Of Man and London as well as Pinewood Studios.[13] A trailer for the film was released on 27 March 2015.[14]


The film received mixed reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 62% based on 39 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The website's critical consensus states: "MI-5 (Spooks: The Greater Good) is a stylish, albeit rather perfunctory, adaptation of a spy thriller perhaps best left on the small screen."[15] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 47 out of 100, based on 13 critics, signifying "mixed or average reviews."[16]


  1. ^ a b c d "Altitude to Offer Film Version of Cult TV Show 'Spooks'". The Hollywood Reporter. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  2. ^ "SPOOKS: THE GREATER GOOD (15)". www.bbfc.co.uk. British Board of Film Classification. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  3. ^ http://creativeengland.co.uk/story/spooks-the-greater-good-part-funded-by-creative-englands-west-midlands-production-fund
  4. ^ "Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Spooks: The Greater Good release date confirmed for 2015". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Spooks the movie is happening with Peter Firth returning as Harry Pearce". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  7. ^ a b Kemp, Stuart (7 November 2013). "AFM: Kit Harington, Jennifer Ehle Sign on for 'Spooks'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  8. ^ a b Wiseman, Andreas (1 November 2013). "Altitude spies Spooks film". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  9. ^ a b Walker-Arnott, Ellie (19 November 2014). "Spooks the film: what we know so far about the spy spin-off". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  10. ^ Martin, William (24 January 2015). "Returning character confirmed for 'Spooks' movie". CultBox. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  11. ^ Hilton, Beth (25 March 2013). "'Spooks' movie in the works, says Peter Firth". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  12. ^ Reynolds, Simon (1 November 2013). "'Spooks' movie 'The Greater Good' to shoot in 2014, plot details revealed". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  13. ^ de Semlyen, Phil (14 April 2014). "First Look At Spooks: The Greater Good". Empire. Bauer Consumer Media Ltd. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  14. ^ Brew, Simon (27 March 2015). "Spooks: The Greater Good - brand new trailer". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  15. ^ "MI-5 (Spooks: The Greater Good)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  16. ^ "MI-5". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 December 2015.

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