Friday night A & E network premiered the latest season of MI-5 which is known in England, where the show originates, as Spooks.
The show focuses on, as the American titles states, MI-5, the England’s domestic intelligence service (the equivalent of the U.S.’s CIA), or more rightly, single team at Five. Think 24 without the superhero character Jack Bauer has become since that show’s inception. Additionally, MI-5 tends to have more reality-based plots than 24’s outlandish world destruction ones. As such, MI-5 has a far more gritty, far more realistic sensibility to it. The characters here are far more fallible.
Over the course of its existence the cast of MI-5 has changed significantly, with the main three characters dropping out and being replaced by new individuals (as well as other additions and subtractions to the supporting cast along the way). The episode this Friday actually begins at the funeral of one of the original characters, Danny Hunter (played by David Oyelowo, though he doesn’t appear in the episode, only a picture of him does). The mourning is quickly interrupted when a bomb explodes in London killing over 30 people. Danny’s colleagues file out of the church and the new season begins in earnest.
In true MI-5 fashion, not only do they spend a lot of time in front of the computer trying to sort out video and other hints as to the goings-on, they take shots at the “special relationship” England has with the United States, and find themselves in grave personal danger when in the field. It all works extremely well.
Except for maybe this last point. The new characters in the show have not yet been as completely fleshed-out as the old ones. Not only do we know far less about them, but I personally am far less disposed to develop the same affinity for them as I did with the first cast.