Spooks: In one particularly dark moment, I actually considered gardening

(Series 10, Ep.1) In the post Lucas North era, it’s clear that this final series of Spooks is going to focus on Harry Pearce. This is only right and proper – having made it through nine whole seasons, watching his colleagues dropping like flies in varied and nasty ways, he deserves to take centre stage.

He’s currently on probation. Having sailed rather close to the wind with the whole Albany/Lucas North business, he’s not entirely trusted by the Powers That Be. They might not trust him, but they do need him, so he’s sent back to the Grid on the strict understanding that an eye is being kept on him, he is not to put a foot wrong, and other body-part metaphors.

While he’s been away, his seat has been kept warm by one Erin Watts (Lara Pulver). I say “warm,” but Lara is one of the ice cold type of females that Section D routinely employs, all cheekbones and stiff upper lip. Dmitri thinks he knows the type. She’ll be going home to a solo dinner of steamed fish and an evening of ab crunches, he predicts. He’s wrong, though – when she goes home we find she’s the single parent of an adorable little daughter. Clearly Lara isn’t as ice cold as we thought, and presumably her mummyhood will be upsettingly exploited later in the series.

She’s been keeping Harry’s seat warm, but has also adjusted it (“It took ten years to get that right,” he grumbles). Gardening leave has not suited Harry – indeed, gardening only came into it as an idea of last resort, never actually attempted. Now he’s back in the saddle, and the first thing to ask is – who is Enemy of the Week? It’s not the Russians, as the Home Secretary makes clear. “Get your head out of the Cold War,” he tells Harry. The Russians are apparently our new bezzie mates.

It’s hard to get your head out of the Cold War when Cold War pals keep being murdered. An old contact of Harry’s is killed, and it appears there’s a plot against the life of the Russian Ambassador, Ilya Gavrik. There’s history between the Gavrik family and Harry. Gavrik’s wife, Elena, has been one of MI5’s agents for years, and Harry recruited her. And when Harry starts having moody, black and white flashbacks about her and then we meet her son, Sasha – well, it’s not altogether a shock when Harry tells Ruth that he and Elena were lovers and Sasha is his son. It’s a shock for Ruth, obviously, but not for us.

The big shock, for me, was that I didn’t miss Richard Armitage at all. I only started watching Spooks when he joined, so he’s been ever-present in my Spooks-watching, but rogue Lucas North wasn’t as much fun as heroic Lucas North anyway. Dmitri is an acceptable substitute for the guns-and-running-about stuff, we’ve still got Tariq being all brilliant with computers and he’s also been joined by someone called Calum, who is supposed to be brilliant but messed up a few times in this episode (could he be this season’s Enemy Within?). Lara seemed a tad formulaic to begin with, but the scenes of her domestic life have given her a more interesting dimension. And then there’s solid, dependable and utterly splendid Harry and Ruth, the core and backbone of the whole thing.

Add some covert work at an ambassadorial do and a bit of running around muttering into hidden microphones, and it was all very pleasing indeed.

Next time: Calum’s laptop is stolen, and it’s not only his credit card details at risk.

Posted by PLA (more Spooks here)


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3 responses to “Spooks: In one particularly dark moment, I actually considered gardening

  1. I can’t tell you how lovely is it to have Harry back on our screens (he might find himself in the PLA lustbox before this series ends) – not to mention Ruth, who is wonderful in a way that the technically prettier, seat-adjusting Erin is not. (Also, did you catch that little aside between Calum and Erin – is her ex? There’s some history there to be dug out in the next five weeks…)
    Loved the exchange between Harry and the Home Sec: “I’m aware I haven’t always played nicely with the other children.” HS: “Would it have killed you pick up a golf club now and then?” HP: “I think it might have actually…” Not to mention the back and forth with Ruth as he makes her his plus one for the party. “We’ve had worse nights out…”
    Kudos better give them a happy ending (not necessarily a Mills & Boon ending, of course) or I am going to get seriously Ros Myers on their arses.

    • pauseliveaction

      And Peter Firth used to be so cute when he was young, as well.

      • inkface

        I fancied him as Angel Clare in Roman Polanski’s Tess. But I only just discovered he was also Scooper in the Double Deckers! “Get on board, get on board, come and join in the Double Deckers..”