'Mi-5,' Episode Twelve Recap: 'President's Visit'

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Previously on Mi-5

Mi-5 participates in a drill known as an EERIE (Extreme Emergency Response Initiative Exercise), only to see the staff begin to believe that the exercise is very, very real. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "President's Visit"

Written by: David Wolstencroft
Directed by: Justin Chadwick

When President George W. Bush makes last-minute plans to visit the United Kingdom for 18 hours, CIA liaison Christine Dale (Megan Dodds) comes into Mi-5 and debriefs the staff on their roles during the visit. Despite their insistence that they take a more active role, Mi-5 is forced to accept the terms put forth by their American counterparts: Mi-5 is in charge of perimeter security while the Secret Service takes direct care of the POTUS, the CIA will also need unsupervised access to UK registry files. Upset at the restrictions being placed upon them, Harry (Peter Firth) and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) suspect that the POTUS is not here for sight-seeing at all, but instead is coming to Europe to make a controversial deal with the Libyans.


With very little access to the CIA's information, Mi-5 intercepts one of the diplomatic crates coming in from the United States by spilling tea on it. When it's brought in to headquarters, Sam (Shauna Macdonald), Malcolm (Hugh Simon), and Ruth (Nicola Walker) start the search for any information pertinent to the Libya situation. This becomes an increasingly difficult task thanks to the presence of staff psychologist Miranda (Ruth Gemmell), who is interviewing all members of Section D that day. Rumors start spreading that she is there to assess who may be getting fired in the coming days. Most upset by this is Zoe (Keeley Hawes), who hasn't been the same since she was accidentally caught on secret surveillance dallying with a potential lead in the agency's recent money laundering case.


The POTUS operation is going smoothly until Harry comes in with some bad news: Somebody in the UK has intercepted Air Force One's signal. Tom assures everybody that this is nothing but a hobbyist with a radio looking for frequencies and that the President's landing zone has already been cleared by Mi-5, but leaving nothing to chance, they are forced to consider changing Bush's flight plan. When headquarters learns of a dozen verbal threats against the United States within the first few minutes of the intercepted signals, they find that they made the right decision.


Meanwhile, Christine becomes suspicious as to why Tom has changed his phone number mid-operation. Could it be something despicable and dangerous? Absolutely, but not in any way Christine ever expected. Still reeling from Tom breaking up with her in the previous episode, Vicki (Natasha Little) has not left Tom's life quietly. No. Instead, she has taken a photo of Tom and creating a flyer, billing him as a bisexual gigolo and advertising in phone boxes, red light districts, and other sordid parts of London. "Tom Quinn: On Her Majesty's Secret Service/A Bona Fide SPOOK Offering All The Usual Undercover Services," the flyer reads, and Tom had been so bombarded with calls requesting his services that he was forced to cancel his number and task Sam with going around and destroying all evidence of the advertisement.

Christine reacts more harshly, explaining that Tom's identity may have been compromised, which in turn compromises her very important mission. Using two Secret Service members, she forces her way into Vicki's home, tears the place up, and then threatens her with all the power the CIA can muster. She convinces a terrified Vicki to leave the country for a few days, and the threat is eliminated.


As Ruth and Malcolm discover a Libya connection in the files they've seized (is the United States making a deal with Libya that would remove the African nation's name from the Arab League and the Axis of Evil?), several security threats come into headquarters. It seems that all the phone taps are going crazy within two miles of every single location mentioned in the President's visit. A demonstration breaks out in Chequers, so Mi-5 focuses their attention there, especially when an unauthorized aircraft makes its way into protected airspace. The CIA demands that the aircraft be shot down, but Mi-5 forces them to wait. It was the right decision, as the aircraft was nothing more than a hangglider with a broken radio.


Bush's visit completed, he gets back onto Air Force One and leaves the country. Tom receives word that she considers the staff to be overworked and paranoid, causing him to chew out Miranda and threatened her job. Christine comes into headquarters to retrieve the missing customs case, having been tipped off by the French as to the crate's location and what Mi-5 had been up to. Later that night, Christine calls Tom over to her apartment. After he lightly questions her as to why the United States was being so secretive about their true intentions during the UK trip, they finally embrace, falling into bed together.


Hey! I Know That Actor!

Ruth Gemmell, who plays Miranda the staff psychologist, has appeared on the procedurals "Waking the Dead" and "Silent Witness" as well as the soap opera "EastEnders," but her breakout role was in the original 1997 film adaptation of Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch."

Marcus Gorman is the author of the novel "Triceratops" and the editor of the film blog Ten Years Ago: Films in Retrospective.

About the Author

Marcus Gorman is a pop culture writer and the author of the novel triceratops.
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