DURING a nine-year run on BBC One, Spooks thrilled viewers with the morally conflicted escapades of members of Section D of MI5, including one gruesome death sequence involving a deep fat fryer that sparked a deluge of complaints.
The show concluded in 2011 with the death of a pivotal character, effectively bringing down the curtain on the high-stakes spy game.
After four years in dramatic limbo, familiar faces return in this glossy big-screen mission penned by Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent, who co-wrote the majority of episodes of the final two series.
There’s a comforting air of familiarity about this Bourne Identity-style caper that serves as a reboot of the franchise and wedges the door ajar for further assignments, presuming lead actor Kit Harington can be wooed away from Game Of Thrones.
Director Bharat Nalluri, who was closely associated with the TV version, maintains a brisk pace and orchestrates a couple of nail-biting action sequences.
Sir Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), Head of Counter-Terrorism at MI5, oversees the handover of terrorist Qasim (Elyes Gabel) to the CIA.
The transfer, via the traffic-clogged roads of London, reaches a standoff when Qasim’s gun-toting henchmen attack the police escort.
Harry makes the bold decision to avoid bloodshed by releasing the prisoner.
Qasim narrowly escapes a subsequent pursuit by MI5 agent June Keaton (Tuppence Middleton) and her partner.
Soon after, Harry vanishes without trace, shouldering the blame for the debacle.
Dame Geraldine Maltby (Jennifer Ehle), Deputy Director General of MI5, and Oliver Mace (Tim McInnerny), Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, enlist Harry’s protege Will Crombie (Kit Harington) to track down his mentor.
Will reluctantly agrees and unwittingly stumbles into a deadly conspiracy.
“I had to find someone I can trust: it’s a short list,” Harry informs Will when they eventually meet.
With the clock ticking before Qasim detonates a dirty bomb in the heart of London, Will attempts to navigate a web of intrigue, some of it spun by Harry, aided by fellow agent Erin Watts (Lara Pulver).
Spooks: The Greater Good references tragic events from the final episode of the TV series and reopens old wounds to cast doubt on the ulterior motives of some of the key players.
Fans will savour these gossamer thin ties to the past but Nalluri’s picture works well as a stand-alone feature for the uninitiated.
Firth affects the same furrowed brow to suggest he is custodian of too many secrets, while Harington expends energy in bruising fight sequences.
The plot twists and turns, and threatens to tie itself in knots, but thankfully unravels with a satisfying dose of treachery.
As Harry reminds his idealistic protege, “You can do good or you can do well.
“Sooner or later, they make you choose.”
Check your local cinema for show times.