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Spooks – The End of the End

October 25, 2011

A few weeks ago I heralded the final series of the British spy drama series Spooks. Six nail-biting and emotionally draining episodes, ending ten years of just-in-time disaster avoidance, littered on the way by the deaths of countless characters in a variety of ingenious ways.

The final episode went out last Sunday. All was revealed in the tortured relationships that linked the one ever-present over the ten-year life of the show – Harry Pearce, the MI5 Section Head who masterminded all the mayhem.  With Ruth Evershed, his long-term unconsummated squeeze, with Elena Gavrik, his KGB mole from the 70s, with her son Sacha by her relationship with Harry (we are led to believe) and with her husband Ilya, who was Harry’s great KGB adversary.

As always, we had an intricate plot – love and loss interwoven with a (seeming) conspiracy to crash a Russian plane over London. As in all the interventions by the heroic team, disaster was averted with seconds to spare. Of course we also had the inevitable dead body waiting to be discovered when they made it to the scene too late. And no series of Spooks could possibly end without the death of one more much-loved (or lusted after) character.

So that was it. The furrows on Harry’s brow grew into fissures as the episode went on. The cellos – the instrument of choice for music accompanying spy fests ever since Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy appeared on the BBC back in the 70s – became darker and ever more soulful. And you knew that we were at the very end when Tom Quinn (played by Matthew McFadyen) – last seen in 2002 – made a fleeting return to deal the death blow to the Russian Mr Big behind all the fuss. Remember how ER exhumed its former stars for the last episode?

I have to say that I found it all a bit of a let-down. I’m a sucker for happy endings, and happy it was not. Although the plot went in some surprising directions, the emotional journey went only one way – towards  a predictably mawkish end.

As Harry disintegrated into a gibbering mess of grief and self-recrimination in his role as Spooks’ very own biblical Job, my final thought was for God’s sake give the guy a break. No such luck – things don’t work out that way when you’re serving the greater good.  As many of our retired politicians have discovered, it always ends in tears.

I’m not a hankie man myself, but for all my reservations, I’m pretty sure that the Kleenex consumption around the UK was unnaturally high as the series finally slipped into the grave.

So farewell to Spooks, and bye bye to poor Harry Pearce, who deserved a better send-off.

From → Media, UK

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