The new season of Spooks (aka MI-5 in the States) has debuted on the BBC. Luckily I have friends over there so I don’t have to be bothered waiting for A&E to butcher a third of the episode just so they can have more commercial time. (grumble mumble) I got the first two episodes, which comprised a rare two-part story. And with each episode actually pulling in 60 minutes (without ads!) each single episode is already like a small feature film. This was practically a mini-series. The series picks up shortly after season three left off, at Danny’s funeral, the agent murdered by Arab terrorists at the end of last season. A somber moment, but still gave a bit of a smile as the pastor welcomed Danny’s family and his coworkers from the Department of Environment & Wildlife, a humorous reminder that not even Danny’s own family knew he was a spy. The moment passes quickly as an explosion rips thru London’s streets. A radical left-wing group has killed dozens, including an entire family. Their leader is in UK prison and they threaten to set off a new explosive every ten hours until he is set free. The usual edge-of-your seat tension follows. I’m not as happy with the cast as I was with the original trio. But after last season ground to a screeching halt to let all three of the series' star off, this season is off to a great start. They have really built up the tension because we no longer have any certainty who will survive a mission. We really haven’t had that tension since the first season, when the bad guys captured and disposed of a brand new agent on her first undercover assignment in a particularly gruesome (and thankfully off-camera) death. We were introduced to Adam early on in the last season. He was transferred over from MI-6 to help clear up a mess from a rather stunning cliffhanger and eventually took over for the show’s original lead when he left the series. Adam’s wife Fiona (also transferred from Six) had been Zoe’s replacement at the final half of last year, but having been captured, tortured & witnessing Danny sacrifice himself for her, she has not returned to duty. If she ever will. We don’t know yet. Juliet, an agent from Harry’s past was sent in (against his wishes) to sit in for this mission. But hopefully she sticks around. The tension between her & Harry is much more entertaining than the husband-wife spy team of Adam & Fiona. Zaf is the agent who is Danny’s replacement. Or until he’s killed off. The question of both his survival and his loyalty have already come up and the season is still young. The show has been described as a British “24”. And in light of the subject matter, it comes quite close. Unlike 24 each episode (or two-parter in this case) is a complete story. The running plots are the background stories. It means far less “filler”, and given that Spooks is only 10 episodes a season compared to 24’s 24 episodes, it’s probably for the best, as we’ve had no silly British girls running from cougars so far.