Season 5 Episode 5

Episode 5

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 09, 2006 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
48 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The government publishes its report on the investigation into death of seven terrorist suspects in a fire at a prison. Harry suspects a cover up, then discovers that one of his team has been implicated.

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  • A thoroughly enjoyable episode that while full of implausabilities, still was satisfying for character development and a key departure. Spoilers below.

    I'm a big fan of Spooks - if you haven't got that message so far, read my other reviews for season 5! I have, in the more recent series, been able to put aside the glaring implausabilities that stretch belief week in and week out, for the escapism rendered instead. This week nearly pushed me to the limit. But for the redeeming quality of acting, and closure on the Ruth story.

    For me, the odd thing was why was Ruth picked? The dry answer is because the writers were looking for a hook for her departure. If only it hadn't been only a few weeks since the fire. A longer time would have made the whole report and the targeting of Ruth more likely. I suspect, though it was only implied, that Maudsley (sp!!) knew more than a regular Prison Guard would. He was fairly senior after all.

    I liked Tim McInnery's turn. He's good. He does slimey well, and was a good counterpoint to Harry's steadfast sense of right. It'll be a shame if his character is gone for good. They played well against one another.

    Shame about Adam and the nanny. Bit too cliched. And as for Roz. She's so desperate to one of the team but at the same she asserts her independence, just for the chance at a dig at Harry. What can I say about Harry? I thought he came across quite vulnerable in this episode. He was not only doing the right thing because he believed torture is wrong, but because he was defending someone he cared deeply about. An interesting turn, as when Ruth first joined, there was some question over her loyalty. Harry did good by Ruth.

    As for Ruth. She was strong, scary, impressive. Willing to make a huge sacrifice for the same reasons as Harry, but she didn't seem at all vulnerable. She showed what she was made off. And I don't just mean the gun stunt, but the whole plan, the willingness to make that sacrifice. To disappear.

    What a great twist - Harry being vulnerable, Ruth being strong. If only more shows had the balls to turn the traditional male/female roles on their head more often.

    And for me, the most touching moment wasn't the ending (which was very well done), but Ruth's conversation with Zaf. My heart broke.

    I hope she has her happy ending. Just as I did for Tom, and Zoe.moreless
  • As always a clever story, with a surprising and moving end.

    Ruth takes the metro to work. There is man who asks her for change and then hands her a 10 pound note back, she tries to give him his change back, but moments later he “jumps” in front of the metro. She goes home and phones Harry who comes and makes her sweat tea ( by the way, they do that so that you are too distracted by the foul taste of ‘way too much sugar’ to be upset…don’t say I didn’t warn you.) Harry reassures her and says she’s probably imagining it being a drop-off, then rushes on to the metro station to confirm his suspicion of the man’s identity.

    Adam wakes up from a nightmare and stumbles in on Wes’s nanny. Who happens to have a crush on him. Oops.

    Harry then walks in late on a Joint Intelligence Committee meeting where he speaks up about the fire in the Cotterdam Prison ( IRL there was a fire in a prison in the Netherlands where 11 people died, but not in Rotterdam..) which he thinks is being whitewashed. 7 terrorist suspects died in that fire, and all the intelligence was lost with them. Harry thinks they were murdered and someone is protecting the killers. Ruth has given the 10 pound note to Malcolm, but he can’t find anything on it. Ros and Zaf go into the prison, pretending they need to check their backup system, where Ros fakes an asthma attack and they send all files of the day of the fire over to Malcolm. Of course Oliver asks Harry why his people were sniffing around a few minutes after, but at least they got the data. They find 1 person walking through the prison hallways that did not belong there, Sakir Abdul. They pay him a visit but he was killed. They suspect Acts of Truth are behind it all, and that Maudsley was the man on the inside. Ruth is not so sure at all. Luckily Jo puts the tracked in her pocket “for fun, to see if Harry and Ruth will go on a date” ( yeah…right).

    Well, Harry drops her off at her house all right, but then Ruth decided to do some spy stuff on her own and goes check out Mick Maudsley’s house. Ros and Zaf follow her.

    She finds a note with ‘10 pounds’ mentioned on it and gets a newspaper at a fruit stand.

    Ros ratted her out and she is met by a couple of highly ranked officers at Themes House… where she has to defend herself but as Mace shows the (tampered with) CCTV footage from the metro showing she pushed Maudsley she is put under surveillance. Mace does give Harry 1 day to try get Ruth out of this mess. The rest of the team meat outside, trying to figure out why Ruth is being framed. Adam tells Harry to keep a level head while Ros switches places with Ruth. They try to reach Harry but he is having a not so pleasant lunch meeting with Oliver. Adam gets satellite pictures showing 7 inmates were taken from the prison not long before the fire happened. Special Branch took them and is now torturing them. They really have to find the real drop. Back to the lunch. Oliver Mace calls the torture “discomfort”. Harry replies with “50.000 V through-your-body – discomfort?” Ruth finally notices a picture in the window leading to the real drop – a microfiche of a highly classified eyes only document. It mentions Cotterdam, the extradition order for those 7 people as well as “special interrogation methods”. It has code names of the people attending … there was Maudsley, MI6, Special Branch, Military intelligence … and someone from Section D, MI5 with the code name FOX… who is that ?? Since they couldn’t reach Harry Zaf messages Ros to “escape” and she gets arrested. Oliver tells Harry Ruth is charged with murder and tells him to join him, or watch Ruth be thrown to the lions. Harry asks him what would happen is he said he ordered Ruth. Oliver is very unpleasant. So Harry ends up not burning him, but throwing his drink at him before slicing his arm with his now conveniently empty glass. Of course he gets arrested. Not a smart move ! Adam and Ruth watch him being led into a police car. Adam visits Harry, and Harry orders to out him, Adam refuses. Then Ruth has it all figured out. If she admits to the murder. Harry will be released and they can catch the killers, and MI5 remains intact. “We need to Photoshop a meeting”.

    Ruth pays the woman from the platform a visit, she is the only one who can contradict their fabricated story, pulls a plastic bag over her head and holds a gun to her head. She shouldn’t talk. Ellie is still flirting with Adam, thank God nothing happens ( yet ? ). Harry gets released : “Please tell me you’ve got all this worked out.” “Ruth is well hidden.” They pick up the Cotterdam 7 from Egypt and ship them back to the UK for proper questioning. Oliver is not at all amused. And then they found Ruth … !! On the bottom of the Thames. I was shocked ! But I should have seen it coming, part of the cover up, that was not Ruth. Harry says goodbye to her. “Take care of my cats. Leave it something beautiful that was never said” And they fi-na-ll-y kiss. Good ending, sad she’s going ( but it wouldn’t be the first time Spooks started/continued with 80% of the cast being new. So far it’s stayed the best spy series on TV. As good as Alias, but more “realistic” ).moreless
  • No! Not Ruth. Why can't there be a happy ending sometimes

    Well we all knew it was coming cos it hit the press that Nicola Walker was leaving to have a baby but still, could they not have had some way for her to come back at a later date. An ok episode. I still feel that the writers are pushing the boundaries too far beyond reality. Some people like the whole alternate reality thing which seems to be going on but I much prefer Spooks when I look at it and think, wow that could really happen.

    How on earth could someone working in a prison identify that Ruth even worked for MI5, much less with Harry. And how would he know which tube station she would be at.

    Also, the fire happened two weeks prior to the time of the episode which is not even close to enough time for there to be a Special Branch Report. That would takes months. Also, how on earth would the prison guy have identified Ruth in so short a space of time. Was he supposed to have hung around the front of Thames House to see who comes out at night? I work near the real MI5 office in London and there is no way you could work out things like that. People come in and out all day long and there are armed police on guard most days. Anyone skulking would be moved along. End of story.

    However, good acting. Especially from good old Ruth - how terrifying is she with a gun! But this obvious thing with Adam's nanny needs to be dumped on the editing room floor. Per-lease.

    Adam, you should know better. Shag Ros, she's much more your league.moreless
Tim McInnerny

Tim McInnerny

Oliver Mace

Guest Star

Jonathan Barlow

Jonathan Barlow

Mik Maudsley

Guest Star

James Vaughan

James Vaughan

Head of MET

Guest Star

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw


Recurring Role

James Dicker

James Dicker

Wesley Carter

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


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