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Agents of Change

18 September 2010   |   Written by David Hollingsworth

New recruits, new threats and lots of action…the hit spy drama returns

Ros is no longer with us. While trying to protect the Home Secretary, Spooks‘ ice-cold section chief, played by Hermione Norris, met her end in an explosion during the final moments of the last series.

Now, BBC1’s hugely popular spy drama is back with boss Harry devistated and the unpredictable Lucas North (Richard Armitage) left to pick up the pieces.

“There’s fallout from the death of Ros; I think Lucas sees the team’s been slightly shattered by it and he feels a responsibility because he was at close quarters with her,” Richard tells us.

“Lucas responds by trying to pull the team together and aiming to be a strong figure for Harry.”

The plot thickens

But there’s little time for the spies tp mourn as they’re thrown straight back into the action in a dramatic opening episode of the new eight-part series.

Lucas boards a ship in Tangier to kill a leading Al Qaeda figure who’s on a deadly terrotist mission. Working with Lucas is Special Boat Service (SBS) agent Dimitri Levendes, who’s undercover as the ship’s captain.

Dimitri, one of the show’s new regulars, is played by Max Brown, whom Foyle’s War fans will know as driver Sam’s boyfriend Adam.

“It’s very different from Foyle,” laughs Max. “I’ve never done anything before where I’m really alpha male, so it’s been great fun.

“The first take I did on Spooks I had a big beaming smile on my face as I ran around carrying a gun!”

As well as Dimitri, Lucas runs into Beth Bailey, an undercover mercenary who’s also tracking the Al Qaeda suspect.

“She meets Lucas and they end up helping each other solve this problem,” explains Sophia Myles, who plays her.

“Beth reconnects with Harry, who she met years ago, at MI5 HQ and asks him for a job.”

Hidden past?

Could Beth be joining Lucas and Dimitri in Harry’s new team? Not if Lucas has anything to do with it!

“Lucas is suspicious of Beth because she’s from the private sector,” explains Sophia, whose TV credits include Marple, Doctor Who and Heartbeat. “She also tries to take the mickey out of Lucas and he doesn’t like that!”

After some gentle interrogation, Sophia reveals that she’s never seen Spooks before she auditioned for the role.

“I sat down to watch a few and I was absolutely terrified,” she grimaces.

“I can never watch them late at night. They stress me out too much. I go to bed with heart palpitations!”

Richard promises that the new series will keep up the show’s tradition of surprising and thrilling viewers. Indeed, he teases there could be some big revelations about his own character.

“We don’t know who Lucas was before he was in a Russian prison,” he says. “I always imagined that things happened to him which he didn’t know about, and wouldn’t know if he was a double agent.

“He’s reminded of things from his past and discovers things that that he never knew about himself.”

Among the figures from his past is former lover Maya (played by Strictly star Laila Rouass). But, who is she really?

Spooks is famous for mirroring the news and Richard reveals the political direction of the series.”

“The Chinese feature quite heavily this year, in terms of their economic power and their growing world positin,” he says.

So, did this mean Chinese lessons for everyone?

“I learned quite a lot of Russian for my first series, but luckily it was Nicola Walker, who played analyst Ruth, who had to learn Mandarin!”