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RIP Spooks: the end of an era

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The finale of Spooks last week means Sunday nights will never be the same again. Michael Hogan sheds a tear for the fatality-prone team.

It’s a sad week for Spooks fans. After nine years, the credits rolled for the last time on Sunday. And what a finale it was for us Spooktators (OK, I made that up – we’ve never had a nickname like Whovians, or Gleeks). Very nearly a happy ending before, as always, the baddies got in the way.

The series provided a weekly window into homegrown espionage – after all, such glossy action shows are normally US imports. Its finger was also firmly on the global pulse, with storylines reflecting the real world from the Taliban and Somali pirates to eco-terrorists.

Brilliantly, Spooks made viewers care even more about its evolving cast by making it clear they could die at any moment – which they often did. This was established in the second ever episode, when Lisa Faulkner’s character was killed by having her head shoved into a deep-fat fryer.

Agents have since been shot, blown up, tortured, hung from trees and, on one memorable occasion, garroted with a bra underwire. Spooks kept pulling the rug from under us: a few weeks ago, techie Tariq was casually injected with poison when hailing a cab, while Sunday saw Ruth’s tear-jerking demise after being stabbed with a shard of mirror.

The best thing about Spooks, though, was its strong female characters. Again, this reflected real life: Stella Rimington was director general of MI5 in the Nineties, as was Eliza Manningham-Buller in the Noughties. It started with Sloaney-but-steely Zoe (Keeley Hawes), who was succeeded by ice queen Ros (Hermione Norris), journalist-turned-spy Jo (Miranda Raison) and sad-eyed genius Ruth (Nicola Walker). The last in this fine female lineage, Erin (Lara Pulver), was an ambitious single mum with an enviable blow-dry and a gun in her Mulberry bag. They’ve now all gone dark forever. Mission (sob) completed…

How the Spooks met their end:

1. Turncoat Tessa Phillips (Jenny Agutter) fled the country after sabotaging an operation.

2. Senior agent Tom Quinn (Matthew Macfadyen) faked death by drowning.

3. Case officer Zoe Reynolds (Keeley Hawes) absconded to Chile to escape prison.

4. Junior case officer Danny Hunter (David Oyelowo) was shot by a terrorist.

5. Chief Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones) was killed by a car bomb.

6. Section D head Ros Myers (Hermione Norris) was killed in a hotel explosionNorris) was killed in a hotel explosion.

7. Lucas North (Richard Armitage) came to a grisly demise by throwing himself off a roof.

8. Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker) met her end after being stabbed with a shard of mirror.

9. Sir Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) is the only character to survive all 10 seasons.

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