Review: Spooks (Episode 4 – Series 7 – BBC)

A decent episode with a lot of twists and turns.

A senior member of Al-Qaeda, Muhammed Khordad, comes to London, asking to negotiate with MI5. He reveals that an extremist wing of al-Qaeda will be setting off a bomb that afternoon in London. He will tell MI5 where it is in exchange for the public pardoning of two al-Qaeda prisoners. The Home Secretary reluctantly agrees, and a statement is broadcast. But Khordad is not happy with it and refuses to reveal the whereabouts of the bomb, leaving Harry’s team to find it before it explodes. Meanwhile the Russians, in a test of loyalty, have ordered Lucas to ensure that the bomb explodes. Source: BBC

The episode opens with Lucas intercepting a ‘Level 1 asset’ (extensive Al-Queda connections) at a London mainline station. Ros is communicating with Lucas via phone. He intercepts the asset but is in turn intercepted by an FSB officer who stabs the Middle Eastern contact who then dies. In his dying breath he says the name Muhammed Khordad and reveals a sim card. It transpires that Khordad is the 3rd ‘most wanted’ by the CIA. We learn that he tortured 3 Mi6 officers in Pakistan.

Connie asks Jo how it’s gone with the councillor but Jo implies she hasn’t used their services yet, though she’s obviously still traumatised.

They make contact with Khordad via the sim card who says he will be in touch by text message. He gets back in touch, saying he wants to meet them.

Harry meets the Home Secretary who won’t sanction a meeting with Khordad publicly but grudgingly agrees via a system of total deniability that Mi5 can meet Al-Queda’s number 3.

Khordad won’t meet without a human rights lawyer present so Mi5 brings one in and the lawyer, Harry and Ros head to a secret meeting with Khordad.

At the meeting, they’re using high tech gadgets including a radioactive ring that emits nano radiation that can be transferred when you shake hands – so they can keep tabs on Khordad.

Jo is jostled by someone in the street who she glimpses briefly. She has flashbacks to her experience at the hands of torturers and thinks it may be one of them.

The meeting with Khordad takes place. Khordad reveals that Al-Queda will let off a bomb in central London at 3pm. He will only give more information about the bomb if the Home Secretary delivers a statement condemning the incarceration by the Americans of two recently released suspects from Guantanamo Bay.

Harry and Ros meet with the Home Secretary. He refuses to allow the release as it will damage relations with the Americans who had incarcerated the British Muslims.

Qualtrough (from last episode, he’s an ex-Mi5 officer who is now retired) calls Harry, saying he thinks he knows where the leak about Sugar Horse is coming from.

Khordad is now on the move again and the imprint of the radioactive ring means Mi5 can track his movements. Jo traces him but he double-bluffs as he knew he was being followed.

Harry meets with Qualtrough and tells him that Dalby wasn’t the leak on Sugar Horse. He also says that Hugo Prince (the other suspected leak) was not the leak, and that Connie and Hugo were having an affair. The implication is that Connie may be the weakest link.

The Home Secretary is seen on television pardoning the ‘Guantanamo two’ who had been imprisoned by the Americans. Khordad calls Harry to say that the ‘pardon’ was not enough and therefore the bomb will go off.

They decide to use CO19 to pick Khordad up as he leaves the British Museum.

Khordad is bundled into the back of a blacked out car. They assume it’s CO19 but they’re still 90 seconds away so it can’t be them.

Lucas goes to his ex-wife Elisabeta who now works for FSB, to get more information on the bomb in case the Russians are involved. She reveals that the Russians have contacted the bombers and will bring it forward by 10 minutes to test Lucas. If he is seen to feed this information back to Mi5, the FSB (what was the KGB) will know he is a traitor to their cause (i.e. a double-double-agent) and they will likely kill both him and Elisabeta, his former wife who is now a London-based FSB spy.

Mi5 finally ascertain where Khordad is and who has taken him. It’s the CIA. Harry calls Laurie, the CIA bureau chief, who denies knowledge. Harry and Ros make there way to the unmarked CIA ‘substation’. Laurie refuses to release him as the Americans have wanted him for a long time. Harry threatens to go to the press and unveil American duplicity in the bombing. She caves in, Harry meets with Khordad and takes him out of the CIA building – to the fury of the Americans.

Khordad finally gives up the location of the bomb.

The decision is made to let the bomb go off at the venue but they will fake it – detonating the bomb and evacuating the guests via a back door so it looks like the explosion is genuine. Ros and Lucas rush to the venue (a wine bar on Victoria Street, popular with MPs) to defuse the bomb. “What are you best at – the real thing or faking it??” Lucas says to Ros. James Bond style, they detonate the bomb with moments to spare by putting it in the microwave.

The fake bomb goes off but nobody is hurt. The Russians are fooled into thinking Lucas is still loyal.

Laurie threatens Harry saying the Americans are not pleased and that there will be repercussions. Harry implies that London no longer plays to Washington’s tune.

Harry and Khordad meet in sectret, agreeing they can ‘do business’. Khordad passes him top secret Iranian missile information. There are Iranian missiles capable of reaching UK targets. Khordad does this because he wants justice in Palestine and the Americans out of the Middle East. So the number 3 in Al-Queda is working with Mi5 to eliminate the more dangerous and volatile lower levels within Al-Queda.

The final scene is Harry drinking whiskey with Connie (he’s trying to work out if she’s the mole), they’re then interrupted by Ros asking them to come and look at the television. Khordad is in a plane crash in the Ural mountains (where the Americans have an airbase) – the implication being they have shot him down.

A complex episode, my understanding not being helped by an ex-colleague who called me whilst I was watching! But it was a good and interesting storyline (incredibly current in light of recent events, as the new president at the Whitehouse was alluded to).

UK residents can watch again on iPlayer.

More about CO19.

More about Mi5.

Pictures of Richard Armitage taken from Spooks series 7.

Reviews of Spooks Series 7

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