FEATURE: Spying According To Spooks

For ten series, Spooks (or MI5 in the States) has brought us some of the most amazing drama the BBC has had to offer. From the sublime to ridiculous, we saw spies being all heroic, spies going rogue and the officers of the fictional Section D get dispatched in increasingly interesting ways (although they did have to work hard to top Series One's chip fat fryer...). 

With the new movie, Spooks: The Greater Good looming on the horizon, we decided to take a look at how luminaries such as Harry Pearce or Tom Quinn stop as many secret terrorist organisations, Americans and generally anyone else who threatened our national security as well as they did over those ten years. So we at Assorted Buffery have decided to bring you our comprehensive(ish) guide to How to Spy according to the characters of Spooks.

Please be warned; major spoilers for the Spooks TV series ahead.

Sir Harry Pearce (Peter Firth)

How to Spy: Drink whisky, and lots of it. If you've had a particularly bad day, simply drink more whisky and listen to some stirring classical music, just to add to the pensive mood. As capable of falling in love with colleague Ruth as you are ordering the assassination of a confirmed terrorist, you keep Section D running and let's face it, you're just impossible to kill.

Defining moment: Poisoning the Home Secretary to avenge the (actual) death of Ros Myers 

Secret weapon: Whisky. And the best phone voice ever. 

Current Status: Indestructible. Like Captain Scarlet.


Tom Quinn (Matthew Macfadyen)

How to Spy: Always turn on your morals at the least appropriate moment, then run into the sea in a blind panic and turn up on a street corner somewhere a week later disguised as a tramp.

Defining moment: Returning to kill off a loose end at the very last moment of the series, stealing the finale with his dashing good looks. 

Secret Weapon: A voice that could melt chocolate.

Current Status: God knows...


Danny Hunter (David Oyelowo)

How to Spy: Look cool. Then look a bit confused. Flirt with Sam. Look longingly after Zoe. Look a bit cool again and then die a heroic death.  

Defining moment: "Fuck you, you death-worshiping fascist!"

Secret Weapon: Winnie the Pooh (no, seriously)

Current Status: Triumphantly dead.



Zoe Reynolds (Keeley Hawes)

How to Spy: Secret identities never really worry you. I mean, who wouldn't want to tell a fit Welsh photographer your real name, whilst working an undercover mission on which people's lives depend? Besides, you can always escape "off-the-books" to South America should you completely balls it all up.

Defining Moment: Proving kicking ass and taking names wasn't just a boys' playing field.

Secret weapon: "The tight blue sweatshirt"

Current Status: Somewhere on the Inca Trail.





Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker)

How to Spy: Panic. Then look longingly at Harry. Refer to GCHQ for no real reason other than exposition. Tell Harry what to do whilst looking longingly at him. Then look worried. Save the day with your wicked research skills.

Defining Moment: Saving Section D's arse so many times that she should be a national treasure. 

Secret weapon: Painstaking attention to detail.

Current Status: *Sob* We're still grieving this one.


Malcolm Wynn-Jones (Hugh Simon)

How to Spy: Without you, the MI5 technical department looked like a member of a boyband (Exposition-Tariq, I'm looking at you). Whether coming up with a convenient technical device to save the day or just hammering away at a keyboard looking like an expert movie hacker, Section D crumbles without you. So much so, they bring you out of retirement.

Defining Moment: Losing it at the death *sob* of Colin, his tech-wizard partner in crime.

Secret Weapon: Mad typing skills and the kind of computer graphics only seen on TV.

Current Status: Being awesome. 



Ros Myers (Hermione Norris)

How to Spy: You are always right. A universe in which you are ever not right simply does not exist. Be tough, kick arse, get your own way and if all else fails simply fake your own death. 

Defining Moment: Oh you know, casually coming back from the dead.

Secret Weapon: Withering sarcasm.

Current Status: Dead. Again.



Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones)

How to Spy: Remember, your wardrobe is your most important asset. That, and a damn good designer stubble chin. Always charm, smile and persuade your way out of trouble. When in doubt, forget your designer labels and get naked.

Defining Moment: Cementing his position in the team by making it to a secret meeting using only a series of costume changes and sandwich board messages.

Secret Weapon: That piercing stare.

Current Status: Exploded.


Zafar Younis (Raza Jaffrey)

How to Spy: You are so damn badass you bring a baseball bat to a gunfight. Literally. So badass that getting rid of you in a suitably outrageous way was just impossible because you beat a guy into submission with a baseball bat. One convenient kidnapping plot later and you fade away into Section D memorial obscurity. But it's OK. Because you are awesome. 

Defining Moment: Dealing with a racist who'd already locked him in a cupboard and accused our Zaf of attempting to down an airplane.

Secret Weapon: A freaking baseball bat.

Current Status: We refuse to believe those photos.




Lucas North (Richard Armitage)

How to Spy: Being a spy is far easier than it looks. In fact it's often best not to use your brain at all. Rely on your superiors whenever you can, run into the odd moving vehicle and not to worry if you lose your target along the way. Oh and your name is JOHN by the way, that's JOHN. 

Defining Moment: Attempting to kill everyone in Section D. Including Harry. Seriously, who does that?

Secret Weapon: Going batshit crazy at inappropriate moments.

Current Status: Very dead. Which to be honest, is probably for the best.




Sarah Caulfield (Genevieve O'Reilly)

How to Spy: Perfect accents are a sign of a spy with too much time on her hands. Just go in there wavering Bostonian vowels a blazing and shag the nearest dimwit who's a few handguns short of an arsenal. Let's face it, we all knew she was a bad egg even before she somehow managed to throw a man twice her size down a fancy stair well. 

Defining Moment: Travelling from Boston to New York via Georgia in the space of about 30 seconds. Her vocal coach needs sacking.

Secret Weapon: Hulk-like strength without the unflattering green complexion. 

Current Status: Assassinated (Cor, they don't last very long do they?)


Dimitri Levendis (Max Brown)

How to Spy: It's a tough life being a sidekick, especially one who has all the character development of a wooden spoon. So give it your best frown, remind everyone you haven't yet turned into a cardboard cutout and only show emotion when defusing a bomb... again.

Defining Moment: We only actually remember him defusing a bomb and possibly shagging a target.

Secret Weapon: A well-practiced frown.

Current Status: Desperately seeking a personality.




Erin Watts (Lara Pulver)

How to Spy: Eyeliner. Heels and eyeliner. That's the secret. Oh and a damn good blow dry. 

Defining moment: Who are you again?

Secret Weapon: Erm, unhelpful killer heels?

Current Status: Getting her hair done and then sashaying into Spooks: The Greater Good.


Disclaimer: We hold no responsibility for anyone who actually attempts to spy according to the above techniques. Leave it to the sharp-suited professionals and catch Spooks: The Greater Good in cinemas on May 13th, with Kit Harington and the indomitable Peter Firth returning as Harry Pearce.

- Jen and Becky

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