Spooks (series 2)
|Spooks series 2|
DVD cover art of Spooks series two
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Original network||BBC One
|Original release||2 June– 11 August 2003|
The second series of the British spy drama television series Spooks (known as MI-5 in the United States) began broadcasting on 2 June 2003 on BBC One, before ending on 11 August 2003. It consists of ten episodes. Spooks centres on the actions of Section D, a counter-terrorism division of the British Security Services (MI5). Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo, Peter Firth, Hugh Simon, Shauna Macdonald, Rory MacGregor, Natasha Little, Nicola Walker, Megan Dodds, Jenny Agutter and Enzo Cilenti are listed as the main cast.
The second series was seen by an average of 7.19 million, and received generally favourable reviews from critics. The second episode attracted controversy for depicting a plot where a mosque is used to recruit suicide bombers; the controversy attracted near a thousand complaints and negative responses from key figures of Muslim groups across the United Kingdom. It was nominated for a British Academy Television Award (BAFTA) and a Royal Television Society Award, winning the latter. The second series was released on DVD on 20 September 2004 in Region 2, 11 January 2005 in Region 1, and 21 March 2005 in Region 4.
- Matthew Macfadyen as Tom Quinn
- Keeley Hawes as Zoe Reynolds
- David Oyelowo as Danny Hunter
- Shauna Macdonald as Sam Buxton
- Hugh Simon as Malcolm Wynn-Jones
- Rory MacGregor as Colin Wells
- with Nicola Walker as Ruth Evershed
- and Peter Firth as Harry Pearce
- Megan Dodds as Christine Dale
- Natasha Little as Vicki Westbrook
- Enzo Cilenti as Carlo Franceschini
- Jenny Agutter as Tessa Phillips
- Esther Hall as Ellie Simm
- Lorcan Cranitch as Patrick McCann
- Heather Cave as Maisie Simm
- Tomas Arana as Herman Joyce
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Jim North
- Sophie Okonedo as Amanda Roke
|Title ||Directed by ||Written by ||Original air date||UK viewers
|7||1||"Legitimate Targets"||Bharat Nalluri||David Wolstencroft||2 June 2003BBC One)(||8.16|
|Following "Lesser of Two Evils", the bomb in Tom Quinn's (Matthew Macfadyen) house fails to detonate, but another device goes off elsewhere, killing the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Patrick McCann (Lorcan Cranitch) is killed by his group for collaborating with Tom. Section D are then focused on a bombing at a secret military base in Longcross, when it has emerged that wanted Serbian war criminal Miroslav Gradic (Karel Roden) has entered Britain. Gradic's group has stolen munitions from Longcross and a military convoy to attack the British. Zoe Reynolds (Keeley Hawes) goes undercover to befriend Radovan Petcovic (Dragan Mićanović), a Serbian embassy employee and Gradic's nephew. Following the uncovering of a mole, Jim North (Benedict Cumberbatch), Section D learn that Rado is communicating with Gradic via newspaper classifieds. Malcolm Wynn-Jones (Hugh Simon) decodes the next target; the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBRA) meeting Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) is attending; the team prevent the attack and arrest Gradic. Ellie Simm (Esther Hall) breaks up with Tom, realising that he will always take work over her.|
|8||2||"Nest of Angels"||Bharat Nalluri||Howard Brenton||2 June 2003BBC Three)[n 1](||7.87|
|Section D investigate the activities of radicalised mullah Mohammed Rachid (Qarie Marshall), and learn he is using a Birmingham mosque to recruit young suicide bombers. After the section's last asset is discovered and tortured, recent transfer from Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker) finds another potential asset, Algerian agent Muhammed Ibhn Khaldun (Alexander Siddig) who faked his death to his agency and smuggled himself to the UK to defect. His defection soon attracts the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who also wish to use him. Khaldun infiltrates the cell and gains Rachid's trust, ultimately resulting in the mullah's arrest after the team find hidden bomb vests in his prayer room. Khaldun attempts to stop a 16-year-old boy from blowing himself up, but he fails and sacrifices himself to prevent any nearby casualties. Meanwhile, in an effort to get over Ellie, Tom starts a relationship with a doctor, Vicky Westbrook (Natasha Little), who was introduced in the previous episode.|
|Rob Bailey||Matthew Graham||9 June 2003(BBC Three)||7.18|
|A computer hacker threatens to breach MI5's firewalls, putting the lives of two cornered agents in Pakistan at risk. When Section D suspect Gordon Blaney (Chris Fairbank), a member of the Socialist Freedom Movement, an anti-government group, Zoe is tasked to go undercover as a teacher in the same comprehensive school Blaney teaches. Meanwhile, Danny Hunter (David Oyelowo) works to infiltrate a left-wing newspaper where the socialists operate. It is later revealed that Blaney and the socialists were elaborately framed by the hacker, pupil Noah Gleeson (Augustus Prew). Noah is the son of Victor Gleeson, a former MI5 officer stationed in Greece; the boy underwent a psychotic break after witnessing Victor's murder. Now guided by the hallucinations of his dead father, Noah occupies Section D with a threat against the school as a diversion to gather Malcolm's access codes for MI5's "inner sanctum" (its mainframe). Tom and Zoe are able to stop him from succeeding however, and Noah is apprehended and sent to a psychiatric hospital.|
|10||4||"Blood and Money"||Rob Bailey||Howard Brenton||16 June 2003(BBC Three)||7.38|
|Banker Sir Richard Bowman (Oliver Ford Davies) and treasurer Amanda Roke (Sophie Okonedo) request Harry's help when stock trader John Lightwood stole $1 billion from Bowman's bank and is missing. When Lightwood is found literally crucified, Danny goes undercover as his replacement and learns Lightwood was laundering money for the Russian mafia, who stole $20 billion of aid money from the Americans, to a highly secure Swiss bank, and was killed for stealing from them. When Zoe is found to be having an unauthorised fling with a banker from the Swiss bank, Carlo Franceschini (Enzo Cilenti), Tom blackmails him to reveal the name of the mafia account holder; Victor Shvitkoy (Rade Šerbedžija). Bowman and Roke admit they are in league with Shvitkoy, but planned to subvert him and steal the money back to the Americans. When Bowman tells Section D the account number of the remaining $19 billion, Danny manages to recover it. Danny is later kidnapped by fellow trader Maxim Baxter (Julie Cox), revealed to be Shvitkoy's daughter. MI5 track and rescue him, and arrest Shvitkoy. Meanwhile, Tom discovers that Ruth is leaking information to GCHQ in exchange for her transfer to MI5, which jeapordised the operation. Tom decides to put her on probation.|
|11||5||"I Spy Apocalypse"||Justin Chadwick||Howard Brenton||23 June 2003[n 2](BBC Three)||6.30|
|The Grid (the team's offices) is in lockdown for an EERIE (Extreme Emergency Response Initiative Exercise) drill of a hypothetical terrorist attack in London. With Tom as the emergency executive officer, the team discovers that VX nerve gas has been released and spreading across the city, and that the attack is real. The Grid loses power, and the trapped team try to make contact with the outside world. They soon exhibit signs of cabin fever, especially after they find out that Harry is infected. Some of the team believe the gas has leaked itself into the Grid, and two Home Office executives, Bridget Macy (Annabelle Apsion) and Mark Woolley (Mark Lewis Jones), attempt to escape. After Tom is forced to shoot them, it is revealed that the threat was a drill all along, and Tom receives top marks for his leadership skills (the guns were loaded with dummy rounds). Tom decides to break up with troublesome Vicky.|
|Justin Chadwick||David Wolstencroft||7 July 2003(BBC Three)||6.00[n 3]|
|When United States President George W. Bush is making a brief unannounced visit to the UK, CIA liaison Christine Dale (Megan Dodds) works with MI5 to ensure the visit goes smoothly. Vicky, bitter over the break up, releases Tom's address and phone numbers on personal advertisements, falsely promoting him as a call boy, on telephone boxes and nightclubs throughout Soho, garnering him some unwanted attention. He has Sam Buxton (Shauna Macdonald) find and destroy all copies of the ads, while Christine confronts Vicky to make her stop the harassment when the latter is jeapordising the operation. The team find a suspicious microlight flying towards Chequers, the Prime Minister's country retreat, as a credible threat is made, but it is revealed to be a false alarm. At the end of the episode, Tom and Christine begin seeing each other.|
|13||7||"Clean Skin"||Ciaran Donnelly||Simon Mirren||14 July 2003(BBC Three)||6.90|
|Harry's house is burgled by small time thieves, with a briefcase among the items stolen. The briefcase contains files relating to "Firestorm", a specialist electromagnetic pulse weapon developed by rogue French scientist Henri Durand (Geoff Cotton), who is selling the weapon to Chinese buyers. Harry and Tom find the thieves, among them 14-year-old Jason James "JJ" Franks (Heshima Thompson), and discover that they burned the files, including the codes needed to steal Firestorm. When it is revealed that JJ knows the codes thanks to his eidetic memory, Tom decides to use him as a clean skin, a deniable asset to steal Firestorm from Durand's labs before Jean-Luc Goyon (Philippe Caroit) of the Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) can steal it first. JJ reluctantly agrees to the mission despite reservations that MI5 would deny his existence should he be caught. The boy succeeds and steals the laptop with the Firestorm files while Jean-Luc has Durand assassinated. JJ hands over the laptop to Tom, who offers him a future with MI5. However, JJ turns down the offer.|
|Ciaran Donnelly||Steve Bailie||21 July 2003(BBC Three)||6.68|
|Running on a tip from Corporal Eric Woods (Leo Bill) that Samuel Curtis (Reece Dinsdale), a decorated British Army Major, is plotting a mutiny to get the government to make improvements to the military, Tom goes undercover as a soldier to uncover the plot. After two weeks, an increasingly frustrated Tom finds no evidence that Curtis is planning such an action, only that he is starting a petition instead. However, during an interrogation exercise, Woods unintentionally reveals the MI5 operation to Curtis, who is indeed plotting a mutiny. Curtis captures Tom and Danny and has his platoon hijack a shipment of radioactive waste. The major gives the government an ultimatum; start improving the military within one hour, or he would blow the waste. As Tom gets Curtis to stand down, Harry orders a sniper to kill him. This action angers Tom, who begins to be disillusioned by his work. Harry orders Tom to end his relationship with Christine. Meanwhile, Ruth fears she will be transferred back to GCHQ as they put her under review. Harry gets Ruth a secondment in order for her to stay.|
|15||9||"The Seventh Division"
"A Very Corporate Coup"
|Sam Miller||Ben Richards||28 July 2003(BBC Three)||6.92|
|Eight Customs & Excise officers are killed by the Chala, a ruthless Colombian cartel led by Rafa Morrientes (Daniel Cerqueira), who is in England to meet with powerful businessman Ross Vaughan (Michael Cochrane). Tom and Zoe go undercover to befriend Mariela Hernandez (Sophie Lombard), Rafa's girlfriend, while Danny spies on Rafa's meetings. There, Section D learn that Rafa is trading cocaine for surface-to-air missiles with Vaughan's help. Meanwhile, Sam unknowingly spies on the team for former officer Tessa Phillips (Jenny Agutter), who was fired for running phantom agents for monetary gain, under the guise that she is Harry's superior. Tessa offers to supply the team with information needed to stop Rafa from her Spanish contacts. However, Harry decides to suspend her contacts. After Tom and Zoe turn Mariela to seduce Vaughan for information, Tessa exposes Mariela's treachery to Rafa, who murders her. After the deal for the missiles is intercepted, an unidentified party kills Rafa, while Tessa flees the country to escape Harry's reprisal. Tom is disgusted to hear from Harry that they will not pursue Vaughan any further, placing the two at further odds. Tom continues to see Christine behind Harry's back.|
|16||10||"Smoke and Mirrors"
"Pit of Secrets"
|Sam Miller||Howard Brenton||11 August 2003(BBC One)||7.32|
|Christine hands Tom a CIA document indicating that a terrorist cell is hiring Michael Karharias, an American assassin, to kill a member of the British Cabinet. Tom enlists the help of Danny and Zoe to catch Karharias. Danny follows Tom and finds he is creating a legend, something Tom denies. When they follow CIA agent Zeigler (Tomas Arana), the three are captured, where it appears their captors are working with Tom. Danny and Zoe are left to escape and inform Harry of what they believe; that Tom has become a traitor. Tom, meanwhile, learns that Zeigler is in fact Herman Joyce, a legendary CIA agent who holds Tom responsible for ruining his daughter's life—Tom recruited the daughter for an operation that went wrong, she is now at a psychiactric hospital—and is framing him for a planned assassination; Karharias was in fact killed by Joyce. Joyce's team tricks Tom into handling a Gepard M1 sniper rifle, which is later used to kill Chief of the Defence Staff Sir John Stone. Harry, Danny and Zoe confront Tom, and inform him that Joyce has been dead for five years. No longer believing his innocence, Harry is about to call for back-up, but Tom shoots him and disappears into the North Sea.|
Broadcast and reception
Broadcast and ratings
The second series began broadcasting on 2 June 2003 on BBC One during the 9 to 10 pm timeslot, and continued on every Monday night until 11 August 2003, although there was a week break in the schedule midway through the series due to an overrun of a Wimbledon tennis match on 30 June. The second through ninth episode were pre-empted to BBC Three a week before they are repeated on BBC One. In the US, the second series aired on A&E, though each episode had approximately fifteen minutes edited out to accommodate for advert breaks. The DVD release of the series in America contained the uncut episodes. It was later repeated on BBC America, alongside the first series from July 2007.
The second series began with overnight viewing figures of 7.8 million. The second episode lowered slightly to 7.6 million viewers, which was about a third of the television audience, while the third episode dropped to 6.9 million viewers, and the fourth rose slightly to 7.2 million, often winning its timeslot against repeats of ITV1's The Darling Buds of May. Following the week interruption from Wimbledon, the fifth episode slipped to 6.1 million, and Spooks lowered still to six million for the sixth episode, before the seventh episode rose to 6.6 million. Overnight ratings rose to seven million for the second series finale. With consolidated figures factored in, the second series was seen by a per-episode average of 7.19 million viewers.[n 4]
The second series received generally favourable reviews. Gord Lacey of TVShowsOnDVD called the second series "such a fun series", a "plausible spy show" and "a great show, [...] another solid BBC release." Dennis Landmann of MovieFreak stated that the season "rules" as it "tells complex, dangerous, and relevant stories that creates high octane, powerful drama", and the producers "create top notch work, from the excellent cinematography to the great-looking sets and locations, and from well researched and sweet scripts to solid acting by the principal actors." Landmann noticed the main focus towards Tom throughout the series that builds until he "becomes somewhat of a haunted soul" with the final minutes being "so powerful they affected how I felt for the next couple of days; I kept thinking about the character and the tragic events that happened to him". The reviewer summed up by stating "the second season improves on the first" and rated it nine out of ten.
Anyone who has seen the first season of [Spooks] figured out very fast that the show has absolutely no problem doing the unexpected, or doing terrible, terrible, oh-god-so-terrible things to its main characters. If you have seen it, you know exactly what I mean. There is nothing worse than the cynical disbelief of an action/drama show where you know the main characters are going to escape without any harm, because hey, they're the good guys, and they have to come back and make a new season. Absolutely nothing in [Spooks] is so clear-cut. It keeps you on your toes.
Michael Mackenzie of The Digital Fix commented that "the chain events leading up to the chaotic final episode" was "extremely set up", even though he opined that Macfadyen had "always been the weakest actor in the ensemble". He also felt that there were instances where stories "go nowhere", including the Zoe and Carlo storyline. However, Mackenzie felt it was the strongest series out of the first three, saying it "remains some of the best television to be produced on this blighted isle in years" and rated it an eight out of ten. Adam Arseneau of DVD Verdict compared the series to 24 and The Wire. Arseneau stated that it clicks "on nearly every level required: great acting performances, fantastic story lines, well-written dialogue, gritty authenticity, and most importantly, unpredictability," summing the series as "sleek, stylish, tense, and compelling—some of the best television I have had the pleasure to watch".
Not all reviews were positive. Holly E Ordway of DVD Talk disliked the series, stating "I'd heard that it was a gripping, intelligent series that told great spy-thriller stories with gritty realism [...] Well, it seems [Spooks] and I are not meant to be together; I bounced off the show on the very first episode and never succeeded afterwards in bringing myself to like it any better." Ordway further felt it was "poorly acted", the rapid cuts and frantic editing "doesn't work" to make it more entertaining, and that the attempts for complexity were "painful".
The second series attracted controversy for its second episode, which depicted Islamic extremism at a mosque as a base of operations. The episode attracted around 800 complaints following its original BBC Three broadcast, with many appealing not to repeat it on BBC One. It was repeated, and attracted a further 150 complaints. The Broadcasting Standards Commission dismissed some of the complaints as the episode was presented as a drama and not a factual account. After the episode aired, a Muslim student in Birmingham was assaulted, and the Birmingham Central Mosque was vandalised, allegedly as a result of the show. The BBC denied that the episode had any influence on the incidents however, and the West Midlands Police ruled that there was no evidence linking the attacks to the programme.
The episode also received negative reactions from key members of many Muslim organisations across the country. Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain stated "the programme, which was of a very sensational nature, unfortunately only serves to reinforce many negative stereotypes of British Muslims. Instead of being a well-informed piece of film-making, this episode of Spooks pandered to grossly offensive and Islamophobic caricatures of imams, Muslim students and mosques." Ahtsham Ali of the Islamic Society of Britain claimed that the episode "adds fuel to the fire of already negative perceptions of Muslims and fans the flames of British National Party rhetoric." Muslim Parliament of Great Britain's Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui said "It is sad the BBC is doing this, [...] We are trying to condemn this kind of involvement in our community...to keep on making us look responsible for these crimes is just manipulation."
The producers and the BBC responded to the controversy by citing Muslim involvement towards the research and making of the episode, including Muslim sources, and depicting the Muslim characters who stood against the terrorists. The producers stated that the episode was not meant to offend anybody, and that it did not imply that all Muslims are terrorists, only that "some fanatics" can give "millions of good people a bad name."
Accolades and viewer polls
The second series was nominated for two awards, winning one of them. Paul Knight and Barney Pilling were nominated for a British Academy Television (BAFTA) Craft award for Editing in Fiction/Entertainment, but lost out to Mark Day for his work on the 2003 serial State of Play. However it won a Royal Television Society award for Best Drama Series, beating At Home with the Braithwaites and Teachers.
The second series was well received by viewers. The BBC released a "Best of" viewer polls at the end of 2003 on its website. Spooks was voted the best drama for the year. However, it was also voted tenth in the "Worst Drama" category. The series was also voted first for "Best Drama Website". Macfadyen was awarded fourth in the "Best Actor" category, while Hawes was voted the second best actress, beaten only by Julie Walters for her roles in The Canterbury Tales, in which Hawes also starred in, and The Return. Macfadyen and Hawes were also listed in the "Most Desirable Star" category, having voted seventh and third, respectively. Tessa Phillips was voted 13th for "Best Villain". The second series cliffhanger was the public's second favourite moment in television, beaten only by the surprise return of "Dirty Den" Watts from the soap opera EastEnders.
Home video release
The second series was first released on a DVD box set in the United Kingdom (Region 2) on 20 September 2004. It was later released in the United States (Region 1) on 11 January 2005, and in Australia (Region 4) on 21 March 2005. The box set consists of all 10 episodes of the second series over five discs in 16:9 widescreen format. The box set includes an array of special features. Five of the episodes contain audio commentary tracks, and all (with the exception of the second) include their own behind-the-scenes featurettes. In addition there are numerous other featurettes including many cast and crew members of the series, discussing various main characters and their cast members, resolving the cliffhanger from series one, and addressing the controversy the second episode attracted. An edited 50-minute showing of the first series finale that aired in the United States is also included. There were also deleted scenes, image galleries, trailers, series credits (Spooks is a programme that does not include credits in its episodes), and scripts of the episodes, the latter of which are found on DVD-ROM. In the United Kingdom, the box set was released with a "15" British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) certificate (meaning it is unsuitable for viewing by those under the age of 15 years).
- "Nest of Angels" was broadcast on 9 June 2003 on BBC One; the rest of the series (apart from the finale) would usually rebroadcast on BBC One seven days after the BBC Three broadcast.
- "I Spy Apocalypse" was rebroadcast on BBC One two weeks after its original BBC Three broadcast, on 7 July 2003.
- Official data for the consolidated viewing figures for that week was not made available on the BARB website, only overnight ratings data would be available
- See the ratings on the episode table above. Look up the top 30 weekly programmes from weeks ending 8 June to 17 August 2003 from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board website. Consolidated ratings for the sixth episode is unavailable however
- Secret Credits (Spooks DVD (Series 2)). 2004.
- "Weekly Top 30 Programmes (See weeks ending Jun 8 to 17 Aug 2003)". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
- Landmann, Dennis (9 March 2005). "MI-5 – Volume 2". MovieFreak. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
- Cozens, Claire (15 July 2003). "BBC2 pulls off quiz masterstroke". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
- Gorman, Marcus. "'Mi-5,' Episode Fifteen Recap: 'A Very Corporate Coup'". MovieFreak. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
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- "BBC Drama – Best of 2003 – Best Actress". BBC. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- "BBC Drama – Best of 2003 – Most Desirable Star". BBC. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- "BBC Drama – Best of 2003 – Best Villain". BBC. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- "BBC Drama – Best of 2003 – Favourite Moment". BBC. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
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