13 October 2015

Spooks 4.6: The Innocent


Still a stylish, wonderful series. This one deals with the release of an Algerian terrorist, but things are far from simple...

Nazim Malik is the man, who was kept for two years without trial on terror grounds – and the episode initially focuses on his representation by a human rights group. He’s been released by the government as they have intelligence that he’s part of a new attack on London, somehow carrying on the plot that he was arrested for...

But in actual fact, there’s been a mix up. There were two people of the same name in that same area, and Special Branch arrested the wrong one. Which is why they found no evidence against him. The premise – and reveal – sound initially ludicrous, but it’s a coincidence that isn’t too implausible when you consider bungling paperwork and heightened terror situations. And it’s only the one coincidence.
So in actual fact he’s an innocent man, which turns the whole story on its head. But the danger’s not over yet – he’s been acting suspiciously because, in order to help his family and get passports, he has to assassinate a target, the president of the Algerian Bank (lovely line where Harry agrees to use him as bait).

It reaches a head with the man on the roof with a long distance rifle, and his family held hostage. Zaf tries to talk him down with empty promises of his family’s safety, when his son’s still in there. Adam saves the day just in time. Harry wants to shoot Malik dead to avoid any, well, assassination (about to say, rather than any casualties, but...)

Which leads me onto one of the main running themes of this series – morals. In the recaps at the start,  for the past few episodes, have all been centred on the methods used by the team. Adam’s dangerous, Juliet’s unscrupulous, Harry protects national security above all else, including his job. And all this in the year that the London Bombings happened – though not when they had filmed this, of course...

There’s also a shot that they always do – right before the opening credits, just as they cut to it, they seem to always half do a zoom into the person’s eye... it’s meant to mesh in with Adam’s eye in the titles I guess. They did it a bit, earlier on, for the closing invert-to-black shot sometimes too.
Still – Harry gets the last laugh for uncovering Special Branch’s mistakes, and they get a happy ending. Just. It’s a fine line... but not for the show, which is very very good at the moment. Cracking direction, and a neat script with great lines too.

Standout Moment: Probably the nail-biting climax where Zaf has to talk the man down, and the great sequence of “no bullets below four feet, there’s a child in there” in order to kill the baddie but not the hostage.
Guest Star Watch: Notable film actor Jimi Mistry played Malik, didn’t realise! (well, nothing I’ve seen really, bar a small role in Black Mirror). He’s pretty good really. Munir Khairdin also played the wonderfully named ‘Creepy Man’ in Sherlock 2.1.
Hellos and Goodbyes: Nobody – though it is Jo’s first day after training. And Idiot’s Lantern woman pops up again (also in the previous episode, and Series 3 or something)
Death Count: Two – the poor human rights worker battered by the baddies in a raid, and the lead extremist shot by police.

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