'Mi-5,' Episode Fifteen Recap: 'A Very Corporate Coup'

Miss an episode of this spy-centric BBC One series? Then read our 'Mi-5' recaps here!

Previously on Mi-5

When an Army man accuses a superior officer of trying to dismantle the Army from within, Tom goes undercover as a Lieutenant to see if the accusation has any merit. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "A Very Corporate Coup"

Written by: Ben Richards
Directed by: Sam Miller

During a Customs & Excise operation in Dover, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) walks away from the surveillance van to find a cell phone signal, only to return to the murdered bodies of three of his colleagues, targeted by the Colombian Chala Cartel they were investigating. Mi-5 decides to refocus their energy on following Chala head honcho Rafael "Rafa" Morientes (Daniel Cerqueira) and his girlfriend Mariela Hernandez (Sophie Lombard). When Mariela is seen exchanging briefcases with Ross Vaughan (Michael Cochrane), the Finance Director of Petcal UK, figurative alarms go off at headquarters. If the Chala Cartel is communicating with one of the UK's most powerful oil men, this must mean that Petcal is looking to build a pipeline through Colombia through any means possible, including allowing the cartel to meet at the oil company's headquarters. Luckily, they've noticed that one of the custodians at Petcal is a member of the cartel, an easily exploitable lead. At an Mi-5 safehouse, Danny (David Oyelowo) brings in the custodian, Camilo Henriquez (Santiago Cabrera), and convinces him to get him access into the Petcal building and bug the basement where the cartel takes their secret meetings.


Back at headquarters, Ruth (Nicola Walker) reads through the surveillance transcripts from the Petcal basement and learns the truth: the Chala Cartel is going to swap a shipment of drugs for surface-to-air missiles. This is confirmed when Mi-5 briefly snatches away one of Mariela's briefcases and finds bearer bonds implicating Vaughan in drug trafficking. An increasingly erratic Tom, still fuming about the deadly decisions Harry (Peter Firth) made during the rogue Army captain operation, suggests that Mi-5 take a risk, get Camilo to put tracking devices on the missiles, and see where it leads them.

Meanwhile, Tom and Zoe (Keeley Hawes) go undercover as brother-and-sister civilians Jack and Katy in order to get closer to Mariela, giving themselves a backstory - they lost their parents in a car wreck - that would allow them to relate to the her own sadness of being orphaned at a very young age. The plan seems to go off without a hitch when Zoe meets Mariela at a local gym, gets on her good side, and invites her over for a dinner with her and "Jack." They get her talking: Her father was the mayor of Chala, and he was murdered along with her mother, brother and sister mere days before Mariela's 15th birthday. When Mariela returns home, a jealous and furious Rafa demands that she never see her new friends again.


At headquarters, Zoe becomes suspicious of the Palmtop, a piece of fancy electronic equipment, Sam (Shauna Macdonald) has been handling, knowing it's far too luxurious even for their government agency. Zoe is suddenly contacted from an unknown source for a meet-up. Outside the Oxford Circus Station, the source reveals herself: Tessa Phillips (Jenny Agutter), the former Mi-5 agent who was forced out when Zoe revealed that Tessa had been running phantom agents in order to siphon off more government cash. Tessa has started her own private security firm, and she seems to know everything about the Rafa operation. Her advice: "You're never going to turn Mariela Hernandez by playing happy families," suggesting that they use her help and her information to turn Mariela against Rafa. The only thing she asks in return is that Mi-5 turns Rafa over to her Spanish contacts, who have it out for him. Zoe relays the information back to Mi-5, and despite Harry's reluctance, they agree to Tessa's terms. But who is the mole inside Mi-5? Could it be Sam?


Tom and Zoe, now no longer pretending to be civilians, meet again with Mariela and tell her the truth about Rafa, handing over a box of souvenirs he keeps of his murder victims. Despite the tears welling up in her eyes, Mariela says that Rafa is the only man she's ever known and cannot betray him. Still, Tom is able to convince her to help bring Vaughan to justice by seducing him and getting him to talk.

At headquarters, Harry and Zoe bring Sam in for interrogation, grilling her about the Palmtop and her association with Tessa. As it turns out, Sam had no idea she was relaying information to Tessa in any way, believing that she had been participating in an intelligence-gathering operation handed down by who she thought was Harry's superior. Sam was played, but she is no traitor.


Mariela convinces Vaughan to come back to her place, and as Tom and Zoe listen in on surveillance, Vaughan starts getting very frisky. "I have a contact at the highest level of government," he tells her, "and this man respects the relationship between power and money more than most men." Against the plan, Mariela gives herself completely to Vaughan.

At headquarters the next day, Harry and Tom receive a video from Tessa, where they discover that they have been played. "By the time you have seen this," she says, "I will be on a plane to distant shores. Faced with the prospect of you double-crossing me and leaving me with no money, I had to find some way of covering the considerable expense this project has cost me. I thought it only fair, however, to give you advance warning that Ross Vaughan now knows about Mariela Hernandez, and I have no doubt he will pass this information onto Rafa." Lo and behold, Tom goes to Mariela's place and finds her bleeding to death, having been stabbed by Rafa. Elsewhere, Rafa is driven to the countryside and executed by strangulation.


As far as Harry is concerned, Rafa's death means that their operation is complete, but Tom, livid having seen another good person die in his arms, berates Harry for protecting Vaughan's criminal activity in the name of national solidarity, as implicating such a powerful man would damage the UK economy. Despondent, Tom returns to his home, calls over CIA liaison and current lover Christine Dale (Megan Dodds), and cries into her arms.


Hey! I Know That Actor!

Santiago Cabrera, who played cartel member Camilo Henriquez, is best known to American audiences as Lancelot in the recent television adaptation of "Merlin" and as the soothsaying painter Isaac Mendez in the first season of NBC's "Heroes."

Michael Cochrane, who portrayed Petcal UK Finance Director Ross Vaughan, has made numerous appearance on British television over the last 40 years, including roles on "Doctor Who," "Wings" (not the American sitcom), "The Chief," "Perfect World," and "Downton Abbey."

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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