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'Mi-5,' Episode Fifty Recap: 'The Extremist'

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

Previously on Mi-5

When a plane crashes near an American airbase on British soil, Malcolm (Hugh Simon) steps in to investigate what could be an extraterrestrial visit. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "The Extremist"

Written by: David Farr
Directed by: Charles Beeson

Adbul Kharami (Aykut Hilmi), an Algerian extremist responsible for hundreds of deaths, was unfortunately never convicted due to illegal wiretaps leading to his arrest. He's been under constant Mi-5 surveillance ever since...until today, thanks to a cunning clothing-and-tracking-device trade-off.

Maybe he just wants a vacation? Nope, says Michael Johnson a.k.a. Mustafa (Ofo Uhiara), a Muslim informant Mi-5 picked up back in series 5. There's been chatter at his mosque, and as he tells new contact Jo (Miranda Raison), he was just yesterday asked to be a driver for a mysterious operation. The man who asked him? Kharami's cousin Hassan Lago. And the operation could be going down at any moment. Returning to the rendezvous with Adam (Rupert Penry-Jones), Jo gets a few choice words from Michael, mostly centered on the location of his previous contact Zaf--lying, they tell him that Zaf was murdered--and if Mi-5 had anything to do with the biological weapon attack in Tehran. Satisfied with their answers, Michael calls Lago and agrees to be a driver.

At headquarters, Bob Hogan (Matthew Marsh) and his CIA cohorts come in, furious that Kharami has escaped, but luckily Malcolm is able to track Michael's phone call to pinpoint Lago's exact whereabouts. Now tapped into Lago's phone, they watch as he calls another location: the Iranian embassy. There's no way this operation doesn't have to do with the Tehran attack, after which Mi-5 has kept a close eye on the embassy in question. Is Iran working with Kharami, even though they are sworn enemies? It doesn't matter, Harry (Peter Firth) surmises, because either way America gets hit. But just to hedge his bets, Harry will call Iranian Special Consul Dariush Bakhshi (Simon Abkarian) so see if he's aware of the impending plot. In the meantime, Harry pulls Ros (Hermione Norris) aside and tells her that it's time for Operation Zebra, a.k.a. penetrate U.S. intelligence and maybe even get some info on the missing Zaf.

While Ros and CIA agent Warren (Felix D'Alviella) do surveillance on Kharami using Michael's info--during which they spot the Algerian unloading a large case into a town car trunk--Harry heads to the embassy to meet with Bakhshi. During the conversation, Bakhshi swears that Iran is several years off from nuclear capabilities, and yet still manages to insinuate that Mi-5 had something to do with the Tehran incident.

As Adam has been able to turn an affair with Bakhshi's wife Ana (Agni Scott) into a way to get valuable Iranian intelligence, he meets with her once again and asks her to spy on Bakhshi, Handing her a recording device and a diamond necklace to act as a "Where Were You" alibi, he sends her on her way, unsure if he's doing the right thing toying with her emotions and potentially her life.

At the embassy, Ana witnesses Bakhshi going into a room for a private meeting, prompting her to sneak into a nearby office, lock the door, feed the recording device out the window, gets on the phone with Adam, and wait for any juicy details. Suddenly, one of Bakhshi's aides comes to the door and tries desperately to get in, violently knocking turning the door handle. Before she can hide the recording equipment, the aide bursts into the room and angrily demands to know what she's doing. Chasing her to the kitchen corner of the room, Ana grabs a knife and points it at him. When he lunges, she has no choice but to stab him in the torso, and she allows him to bleed to death. Distraught, Ana still manages to follow Adam's instructions to hide the recording equipment atop the tall kitchen cabinet, just as Bakhshi enters the room. Lying, she tells him that his aide tried to rape her, and Bakhshi buys the story. Still, they will tell others that the aide was suicidal and will leave it at that.

In the meantime, Ros returns to headquarters and hands over a computer file named "Outsourcing, one she was able to steal off of Warren's cell phone while they were on Kharami stakeout. But no time for that, as Michael has made contact and is on his way to pick up the car as per Lago's instructions. Hogan wants as many team members as close to Michael as possible, and Mi-5 reluctantly agrees, knowing that if they get too close, they may spook Michael and Lago.

With Jo and Adam following Michael closely, they arrive at a restaurant near an empty lot. While Adam waits inside, Jo creeps around the side of the building hoping to spot Michael and Kharami together. But Kharami has a trick up his sleeve, and he and Michael step into a shipping container in order to see if they are being spied upon. Lo and behold, Jo walks right into Kharami's line of vision, and she is easily apprehended and told to report back to her team that nothing is wrong. But Mi-5 is prepared for this kind of situation, and when Jo intentionally gives Adam the wrong call sign, he races out of the restaurant and to the shipping container. But the shipping container is empty, its back opened up and leading to the street outside, where Adam sees Michael and Kharami throw Jo into the trunk of the town car and peel out.

Once again upset that Mi-5 lost Kharami, Hogan gives Mi-5 30 minutes to find him otherwise he's advising the White House to order "an immediate shoot-to-kill policy on Kharami and any Muslim involved with him, as well as the evacuation of all Americans living in London," which would cause a political meltdown. No problem, says Adam, just as long as they can get to Ana and the information she recorded. As this happens, Connie (Gemma Jones) does some research on Hogan and tracks his whereabouts, noticing that despite evidence he has a bad back, he makes constant trips to a nearby golf course and country club set up for American military and diplomatic personnel. If he's not playing golf, then it's likely he's using it as a place to store intelligence secrets.

After a great deal of persuasion and some hugs, Adam convinces Ana to go back to the embassy--complete with a scarf to give to her husband as an alibi--and recover the recording device. Playing back the tape over a phone call to Adam, both are upset to find that the meeting wasn't about anything important. Ana had to kill somebody and lie to her husband for this? Never again will she help Adam, she proclaims. Never again. But listening to the recording again at headquarters, Adam and Ros realize something. All of this was to set up an Iranian target. And that target must be...Bakhshi himself.

As Malcolm tracks Bakhshi's limo on CCTV, he notices that they are no longer going to the Savoy, where Mi-5 has set up agents, but to the Imperial Plaza Hotel. Can they get their team to shift locations in time to save the Iranian Special Consul? As the limo arrives--with Bakhshi told to wait inside for a few minutes--so too do Michael and Kharami in their town car. In trunk, Jo struggles to get out of her restraints to no avail. However, she does manage to kick open the briefcase beside her and find a bomb with a countdown timer set to three minutes. Kharami gets out of the car, tells Michael to wait, and hits a button, prompting the bomb timer to start counting down.

Noticing the suspicious town car on CCTV, Malcolm radios Adam and tells him to get there ASAP. With two minutes left on the bomb, Adam arrives at the limo and yells at Bakhshi to exit the vehicle. But Bakhshi refuses. A few feet away, Michael gets out of the town car and begins yelling at Adam. Why has Mi-5 been toying with him all these months? Are they really capable of what happened in Tehran? Adam pleads with Michael to help them out just one more time, to which Michael reveals that Jo is in the trunk. With only a dozen seconds left, Adam forces the limo to drive away, then manages to jimmy open the town car trunk and rush Jo to safety, just out of range of the explosion.

As the smoke clears, Bakhshi emerges unscathed, glad that his life was spared thanks to Adam's presence.

With Kharami and his team under arrest and Bakhshi safe and sound back at the embassy, Connie brings some information to HQ. Calling in a fake bomb threat to the American country club, Connie trucks Hogan into scanning his recovered secret documents via a metal detector. The information in question has nothing on Zaf, but what it does contain is far, far worse. "Tomorrow morning," Connie reads, "the Iranian government is meeting a businessman in London to buy a set of nuclear triggers that will give Iran full nuclear capability." So which is worse: Bakhshi lying to Harry about Iran's nuclear interests, or the fact that the United States knew and didn't say anything, hoping for an excuse to attack Iran?

At the embassy, Ana and Bakhshi embrace, elated that neither one of them is dead. But Bakhshi wonders aloud how Mi-5 knew where he was. As it turns out, he has been keeping something in. "I know you didn't buy me the scarf," he says. "Adam Carter did. I have him buying it on the store's CCTV. Ana, my darling, you're a mole for the British government."

Hey! I Know That Actor!

Simon Abkarian, who has played Iranian Special Consul Dariush Bakhshi for several episodes so far, is a French actor best known for his television work, including playing Nadir on "Pigalle, la nuit," Tony on "Tony's Revenge," and Amanullah on "Kaboul Kitchen," as well as his appearances in Jonathan Demme's "The Truth About Charlie," Martin Campbell's "Casino Royale," and Gavin Hood's "Rendition."


About the Author

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