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Spooks: Series Finale, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

Spooks: Series Finale, BBC One

Spooks: Series Finale, BBC One

Series nine ends with Harry in limbo and Lucas North splattered across the pavement

Desperate times for Richard Armitage as John Bateman, formerly known as Lucas North

The sense of crisis gathering over Spook Central in the last few episodes finally burst through this season finale like a Krakatoa-style cataclysm. Any lingering hopes that Richard Armitage’s Lucas North – the man we now know was really John Bateman – wasn’t really a black-hearted killer were brutally dashed. There was no more wriggle room. Bateman was bad to the bone.

He blew up the British embassy in Dakar in 1995 and he murdered the real Lucas North. We’d watched him as he coldly allowed a young American cryptanalyst to bleed to death, just because she’d had the misfortune to overhear him talking about the deadly Albany file. Now, the last straw was his kidnapping of the gloomy but stoical Ruth (Nicola Walker), Section D’s shrewdest operator and the object of Harry Pearce’s desire.

Bateman was using her as leverage to force Harry (Peter Firth) to hand over Albany, with its details of a fiendish “genetic weapon”, which he proposed to sell to the Chinese and start a new life with the proceeds. But we knew Harry wouldn’t let him get away with it. Sure enough, with help from seedy mole-hunter Alec White (Vincent Regan), he sawed the floorboards out from under Bateman by telling his inamorata, Maya, the murky secrets of the man she planned to run away with.

Even the most casual Spookophile would have taken the demise of North/Bateman for granted, since the show’s great tradition of topping its most prominent protagonists demanded nothing less. He duly plummeted from a high rooftop in the closing minutes, with a wide-angle panorama of the City of London as a backdrop.

Beale_smallHaving originally found Lucas North a bit too much like the Milk Tray man for comfort, I’d become quite attached to him. His aquiline curtness was reminiscent of Timothy Dalton’s James Bond, and he was able to project a more convincing deadliness than such predecessors as Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones, too Nick-and-Dave for comfort) or Ros Myers (Hermione Norris, always more soap queen than killer bitch). In fact, he made his workmates look slightly daft in this final outing, selling them an obvious dummy by pretending to be hanging out in a café in Greenwich, then sending out some luckless stooge as a decoy to be gunned down in the street.

But never mind the collateral damage. The bigger question is, where do we go in series 10, which has allegedly already been commissioned? And will it be the end for Spooks? Top of the agenda will be the fate of Harry Pearce, who was left teetering on the brink of disgrace and involuntary retirement, as punishment for the paradoxical “crime” of allowing John Bateman to get his hands on the top-secret Albany, even though he'd known all along that Albany was worthless.

And we devoutly expect that Simon Russell Beale (pictured above) will return as the Home Secretary, having been ushered in by the election of “our new Coalition” to replace his treacherous predecessor Robert Glenister. Sly, clubbable, and about as sentimental as a pack of starving timber wolves, Russell Beale has expertly massaged reams of suggestion and implied menace from a not very large role. “You’re the spy they want to kick back out into the cold, I’m afraid,” he told Harry last night, sounding as remorseful as if he'd just spilled some fine cognac down his shirt-front. “I’d start preparing for life after MI5. I’m truly sorry. Goodnight.” Harry, the consummate professional, maintained a watchful silence.

Top of the agenda in series 10 will be the fate of Harry Pearce, who was left teetering on the brink of disgrace and involuntary retirement

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good review series ten ahoy? one hopes so, ungrade on the internal affairs character needed to.

As soon as I heard that Richard Armitage had been cast in The Hobbit film I thought he'd be leaving Spooks. His leaving was obviously planned beforehand but became obvious when he would be in New Zealand when they are due to film the next series. The ending was brilliant - I still hoped that somehow Lucas might be the good guy. I will seriously miss him - so much that I might find watching the next series unbearable!

I'm sorry, but I really don't get it! How could someone turn from a (tormented, ok) good soul who has sacrificed years of his life for queen and country, into someone like Bateman,in allmost a heartbeat? And if it went the other way round, from coldhearted killer(John) to someone who lays his life on the line and has shown compassion more than once for 'the innocent'(Lucas), I am even more puzzeled! I just don't believe it! I thought the acting of Richard Armitage, Peter Firth and Nicola Walker were outstanding, but there are too many plottholes to convince me of the route they(the writers) have chosen! I will wath Spooks again, but it will not be as whole-hearted as before!

I agree! They turned the Lucas that we know and love into a thoroughly amoral, selfish, weak and pathetic character in the space of a single episode, and the worst part? There was no motivation for it. So Vaughan said "the dream is over the killer is awake!". Why would Lucas, who survived 8 years of Russian torture and interrogation suddenly just accept that? And WHY did John/Lucas still continue with the plan even after Vaughn's death when Maya was no longer being threatened? It was Vaughan who was in trouble with the Chinese Mafia, not John/Lucas. They didn't even know about him. I also think it would have been WAAAYYY more credible if Vaughan had killed Lucas North and just made John think he'd done so, or that he didn't find out until later. Hence a basis for the manipulation which was more realistic and also more tragic.

A state secret of unimaginable destructive power (which actually isn't worth the PC it is stored on, oh and how long had it been there?....its batteries seemed it great condition) burried, unguarded in a church with noone regularly checking if it had been found??? A car which stops long enough for Bateman to grieve over the death of his soulmate, dump her body get back into the car and drive off without the chasing car catching up The plot had more holes than swiss cheese.

Oh dear. Plotlines big enough to drive buses through. The acting of Richard Armitage, Peter Firth and Nicola Walker was outstanding, but it did feel as if Richard had picked the short straw as Lucas/John and had to have a bad boy ending, after his two predecessors had heroic ones. Richard, after two series of being a hero, must have read this final script and said 'Is that it? Thank you and good-night' ! He's got two films on the go - But let's hope he's on TV again soon.

I wonder about the "alternate endings" that were hinted at before the finale aired - if Richard Armitage is not cast in THE HOBBIT would his character have seen a change of heart and not - a)kidnapped ruth, b) killed vaughn, c) tried to finish the albany capture, and d) actually been allowed to return to the grid? (biggest question of them all) This season, while intense in many ways.. had plot holes you could drive an Land Rover through. The man who gave up 8 years in a russian prison (dreaming not of this maya but another woman apparently) without spilling a bit of info under torture, and who spent the remaining adult years of his life as a trusted office of MI5 melts down in say... two, maybe three weeks? okay sorry - not buying it..

Disappointing daft end to 3 seasons of the wonderful Armitage charms. Script writer for the Lucas/John plot line should have been tossed over the building in the same manner. More holes than a curley wurley. How could the writers have crafted such a detailed back story for the Lucas character turning him from tortured soul but still always doing the right thing for Queen and country into cold blooded killer with flashbacks from god knows where but he actually looks older in the flashbacks than he does in real time! and the love of his life he had never even given a passing mention to. I don't even think with all his great acting skills Armitage was convinced. His anguished cry over Maya's death followed by the unceremoniously dumping of her body on the roadside obviously with thoughts in his head who the hell is this woman! There were no sizzling scenes between them as both had suggested in pre interviews - probably due to the lack of chemistry or spark between the two. He had more going on with the cyberchic from the previous episode and seemed to have more depth of feeling even as he let her die. We all knew perhaps that Richard would be leaving this season but above all hoped that the door could have been left open if just ajar. I think there does seem to be a consensus of travesty how this ended as his story should have played out linking his past prison life and how Harry fitted into this. I could have even lived with him being a Russian double agent trying to take revenge on Harry for his prison sentence and taking off into the sunset with Elizabetta his 1st Russian and slightly more plausible wife. Script writers take heed pull you socks up and don't treat your views with contempt to think we would swallow this utter hogwash.

Shallow, uninteresting and illogical last ep, like the rest of the series.Won`t miss R.Armitage, his wooden stares just bored me.He was employed largely to look good, like his predecessors, and have the ability to run around in shopping centres.He had no chemistry with the others, and especially not with his so-called love interests.His character`s back story just kept tripping over itself, just like the rest of the writing.

Oh dear, this storyline was just not believable. Such a disappointment after the last 2 series. The acting of the 3 principals was superb as usual but even they did not seem to be convinced by the way the plot unfolded. Perhaps series 10 should start with Harry waking up the day after the memorial service for Ros, after having spent the night working on his spy novel entitled 'Rogue Agent' and yes, you guessed it, the hero/villain is called John Bateman. If it worked for Bobby Ewing who walked out of a shower having dreamed a whole series that lost its way, I am sure it would work for Spooks, and then Lucas could walk back onto the grid again and eventually be eliminated in the manner that his character deserves.

@mazi I like your way of thinking ;)

Well, we didn't see him jump off the roof, did we? We didn't see him land, either! We just assumed he jumped off the roof. He didn't want to go back to prison because he'd die there. Clearly, he wanted to live - so, instead, he took a running jump off the top of the tower? A courageous and outstanding man who hesitated to kill and protected others with his life - and suddenly he's a mass murderer and a terrorist? Keith Deery's departed wife as ELIZABETA, who supposedly "died" in 2002 but was clearly alive and well in 2007 and definitely NOT ensconsed in a council flat with chubby Keith when last we saw her. What was he doing in that Russian jail, anyway? It's not over 'til the fat lady sings!

The plot was ridiculous. It's an insult to the viewers' intelligence to suddenly reveal after building it up for several episodes that Albany was a dud. If Harry knew when why didn't he hand it over before putting his people in danger. (Of course there could be all sorts of bluff and counter bluff implications but these seem to be used to justify any unbelievable plot turns.) Also, while cinematic, would the showdown have happened on a tower block roof? I would have thought Lucas could have easily been picked off by security services/SAS type snipers (of the sort that are rumoured to be constantly scanning high buildings in London in real life). That said, Spooks should be given some credit for killing off its stars and allowing them to become anti-heroes. Shame that Lucas's story arc seems to have been retrofitted.

Well, to be honest, Lucas was already a bit of an anti-hero. Like in Series 7 its implied he might be a double-agent working for the Russians, and he was always rather rough around the edges. Prepared to resort to underhanded tactics to get the job done if necessary. That's probably part of the reason why fans loved him, roguish and slightly dark characters always go down well. However, what they did to his character in the finale was just - awful. A dark past is one thing, but making a consistently compassionate, brave, and strong character who would literally do anything for his colleugues and friends into a traitorous, amoral and homicidal coward in the space of one Episode, even when the motivation for his actions was removed is quite another.

Actually, I thought the essential pointlessness of Albany was a nice twist. It was always a McGuffin, like the Maltese Falcon or the suitcase in Pulp Fiction. It's significance came not from what it was, but how people might act under its influence.

The show ended with a dull thud. As several have said before me, the principal actors all did outstanding work, but the writing was pathetic beyond belief. This is the BBC! Don't the writers take pride in their work? I was sorely disappointed.

Leave the scriptwriters alone, pedants. Complaining it wasn't believable, bless. Do you believe that MI6 is six people? Erm, yes, the rooftop was a dramatic location rather than actually where spies confront each other. Hahaha! You're watching Spooks! It was brilliant, loads of plot twists, tension rising, who's-gonna-die, edge-of-your-seat - what more do you want? It had everything.

Lucas/Bateman wasn't the only thing doing the jumping here. This entire series jumped the shark in a major way and the Beeb should have taken the opportunity to end things there. Collini Out.

laughing my ass out while reading all the comments! I am glad to see that I was not the only one finding this end ludicrous.

I'm still hurting inside when I think about this last episode - God, I'll miss Lucas. Series 9 has been some of the best acted, most gut-wrenching Spooks ever, but Lucas's character assassination was horrible and made no sense whatsoever. I feel as though I've been punched and kicked by the writers. I want to punch and kick them back, but as I can't do that, all I can do - in feeble retaliation - is not to watch Spooks ever again. And I won't.

Same. Again, it would not have been so bad were it not for the fact that he basically went back to being John Bateman again, a throughly amoral, violent and selfish indivudual in the space of a single episode. Like this is the guy who went back to Russia to help Harry at the drop of a hat, and barely escaped by the skin of his teeth, even though he still blamed Harry for his imprisonment. There's loyalty for you, and seriously, he wasn't faking. People dont; put themselves in harm's way for somethihng they don't truly believe in or a cause they're not really commited to. He loved Harry like a father, and he'd been through so much for his country, there;s no way he would just have changed so suddenly like that, especially because of what a man like Vaughan said. So he wanted to be happy with Maya? OK then. Report Vaugan's death, come clean to Maya and then give himself up. Why did they have him continuing with the plan as well as betraying his country, his collegues and everything he believed in, even making Maya hate him in the process. Finally, why did he even keep his identity hidden from Maya anyway? He was proud to be with M-15 and serve his country, and Maya would have respected him more for that than as John Bateman. She might even have understood him using another name.

The only thing that keeps me watching Spooks is the relationship between Ruth and Harry. If they don´t get a happy ending soon, I´m gonna explode with frustration.

spooks must live on and never end! it was brilliant and very sad.

I`ve felt consistently cheated by this series for a long time.I only watch it `cos I`ve paid the licence fee.Time now for a reboot; better writing and more convincing actors.I`d only keep Ruth and Harry-I`d say he`ll probably escape the internal affairs punishment.As ever.

though the spooks is the best ever, it started a decline after adam carter sadly died, who agree's

when is spooks on next todays date is 28.02.11 i really need to know

I really hope they make another series. One of the most gripping programs ever made. Congrats to the BBC,,, so please !!!!!!!!

From Chile, congratulations BBC, great channel, we need SPOOKS season 10

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