MI-5, Thames House, London
August 11, 2011
I love British mysteries and spy stories. Maybe, it's the lack of artifice or the directness and crispness of the language. Or, it could be the toughness and intelligence the characters show while still being civil and polite. I always feel like I'm watching real adults and how they behave when I watch these shows.
Mark Walker in his Amazon.com review calls the MI-5 BBC TV series, "John Le Carre for the Internet generation". MI-5 is a smart combination of TV cop show and George Smiley-esque espionage shenanigans that pulls no punches in its depiction of an MI-5 (the British CIA) team fighting a covert war on the streets of London. MI-5 (titled Spooks originally) also delves into the characters' turbulent personal lives, here given an added twist by their constant need to deceive even those they love. The interagency squabbling between MI-6 (called the big sister), MI-5 (the little sister), and the CIA (the cousins) is another twist, leading to unexpected results.
The six episodes of the BAFTA Award-winning first season tackle a variety of tough issues, including religious fanaticism, racism, governmental cover-ups, and the lingering shadow of Irish terrorism. Throughout, the show strikes a fine balance between a James Bond-ian techno-obsession with spy gadgets and more character-based action, with crisp writing and direction that ratchets up the tension a notch further with every episode. The final cliffhanger is an unforgettable TV moment and one that leaves viewers agog for next season. The program, which first aired in 2002, is now in its 10th season, and MCPL has all the shows available on DVD for checkout.