Lots of up-to-the-minute topical stuff of the sort that Spooks justifiably prides itself on this week.
The story is that the UK is temporarily, secretly bankrupt and needs money pronto before anyone finds out. Harry’s pal the Home Secretary wants to seize the readies from a crooked bank used by mobsters, terrorists and this season’s big conspiracy group, the legendary “people who were at the meeting in Basel.” To do that, they need to show the cash comes from illegal sources and to do that, they need account numbers. What? Account numbers?
No, me neither. But like the best episodes of Spooks, it works best if you don’t think about it too hard. Once you just accept that, ok, they need account numbers and ok, Baisley, the guy who’s supposed to supply them is not actually playing it for laughs, he’s meant to be serious, the episode is pretty great; almost entirely thanks to Ros.
Her desperate quest to find the slippery Baisley, stop the Terminator-like assassins trying to kill him, and keep hold of him long enough to persuade him to give up the account numbers is fantastically played out, with Hermione Norris again proving her worth. Despite Harry and Ruth’s worries that she’s not over Jo’s death (of course she’s not – it’s been three weeks, guys, not three years), any psychological trauma Ros may be suffering only seems to sharpen both her skills and her lines. She’s on fantastic form firing out magnificently dismissive put-downs to anyone and everyone, friend or foe; eg Harry’s “Saving Baisley won’t bring Jo back” is met with “No. But it’ll be nice for Baisley though.” (Ha!) while CIA Blondie’s protest that the new US Administration don’t do torture any more elicits a sardonic “Oh yeah, got hybrid cars and everything now.” (Ha! again.)
There are a few things that take the shine off the episode slightly, though. For one, despite all the work put in by Richard Armitage and Genevieve O’Reilly, I’m still not at all convinced by Lucas’ romance with Blondie – she’s so smug and self-satisfied that I struggle to see why anyone would like her, let alone love her – which is unfortunate given the big emotional scenes revolving around it this week. And Ruth is a bit of a spare part in the story as well, aside from cropping up every few minutes in an Elena Delgado-type fashion to tell Harry “There’s something (of massive import to the plot) I need to tell you.” Can they not get her out in the field a bit for a change? They are a bit short-staffed…
However, I don’t want to be too harsh on what was a super piece of tv. With both a high body count and a high emotional one, this was often chilling, sometimes moving, but always compelling. Good work.