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Secret lives of spies who do the laundry.

Byline: Emma Johnson

THE world of secret agents usually conjures up images of James Bond and dry martinis but the reality in Spooks (Monday,BBC1) is far more mundane.

They still risk their lives and drive around in fast cars but they also find time to fit in a spot of laundry.

The catch line of ``MI5 not 9 to 5" sums up the way these spies dedicate their lives to their job and the excellent cast,including Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes (last seen stripping off in Tipping the Velvet),do the sparkling scripts justice.

There's plenty of jargon, which can be confusing, but it doesn't really matter, as the scriptwriters admit, because the real MI5 is such a secret organisation, there was no research possible, so it's all made up anyway.

The last series ended with Tom,(Macfadyen), watching helplessly as his new love and her daughter faced certain death, trapped in a ``secure'' house with a bomb about to explode.

In fact, we were even shown the explosion but it turned out to be a cunning trick. That bomb didn't go off but another one did at the home of the Northern Ireland secretary.

Plots from the last series were tied up as the viewer was plunged into a world of international terrorism and intrigue.

Usually, Spooks has an uncanny, or even spooky, knack of mirroring true events in their scripts but the terrorists here were Serbian, which did remind me of James Bond villains from about five years ago.

Hawes had to go undercover in a video shop to get to know a film-loving and rather handsome terrorist, a task she managed with remarkable ease.

Meanwhile, poor old Tom had to choose between his girlfriend and his job. It was a tough one to call,but thankfully,he chose his job - she was an annoying wuss who quite frankly didn't deserve to have such a great bloke.

And before you knew it, a replacement was lined up with meaningful glances shared with a new doctor,played by Natasha Little,inset, formely of Vanity Fair fame.

The only way to find love if you'rea secret agent seems to be to marry another one, because the constant lying seems to doom them all to a life of singledom.


UNDERCOVER:The stars of Spooks do a good impression of the real MI5
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 7, 2003
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