Miss an episode of this spy-centric BBC One series? Then read our 'Mi-5' recaps here!
Previously on Mi-5
This Week's Episode: "The Criminal"
A Serbian war criminal by the name of General Marko Tezlia has been apprehended and sent to the Hague where he will stand trial for his offenses, but lo and behold, all of those tapped to testify against him have either turned up dead or missing. Since Serbia wants to join the European Union, and the U.K. would definitely like the lucrative contracts that would come with such a deal, Head of the Special Balkan Executive John Russell (Michael Maloney) comes to Harry (Peter Firth) with orders directly from the Prime Minister: Protect the one remaining witness, the psychopathic Niko Grecic (Marcel Iures), and Serbia can finally put its troubled, bloody past behind. And his testimony is in five days.
But the case is more complicated than that, and Adam, who has recently been suffering from nightmares and a terrible case of freezing during their last operation, is directly involved. We've known since we were introduced to Adam that he had once been tortured, but we didn't know the full story...until now. As Harry speaks to his team at headquarters' conference room, he details that there is a hitman out to get Grecic, and this man has already murdered two Mi-6 agents and has already arrived in England. Harry shows the hitman's Richard Dempsey (Alec Newman) picture, and Adam freezes. "Richard Dempsey. Mi-6 traitor. Posted to Serbia in '92. Sold out to the Great Cause." As Harry assigns the team's positions--Jo (Miranda Raison) and Zaf (Raza Jaffrey) are to work with Adam in tracking down Dempsey with a shoot-on-sight order, while Ros (Hermione Norris) will babysit Grecic--he secretly gathers everybody but Adam later on and fills them in on the details.
"In 1992," Harry explains, "Adam was assigned to Serbia to assassinate General Marko Tezlia. The operation was blown. Adam was captured and tortured by Richard Dempsey." Concerned that Adam might be too close to the case for comfort, he asks the team if they think he's fit for duty. Keeping Adam's secret about his meltdown, they all nod their heads.
As Ros takes Grecic to a safe house way off the grid, just in case there is a mole in their midst who could give up Grecic's position, Adam decides that the best course of action is to make contact with Lucy Dempsey (Maisie Dimbleby), Richard's sister. With Jo and Malcolm (Hugh Simon) watching on surveillance, Adam enters Lucy's house, and we learn that they too are close friends, with Adam and Dempsey having known each other since they were teenagers. But no time for pleasantries. He's here on a professional matter, informing her that Richard is dead.
Later, a mournful Lucy sits on a subway train when, shockingly, her brother appears right next to her, tells her he's very much alive, and hands her a piece of paper. Noticing that he is being tailed by an agent (Zaf), Dempsey tricks Zaf and jumps off the train just as the doors closing, leaving the Mi-5 agent behind. But as he goes up the escalators to the surface, Jo spots him and follows him outside. But when Jo turns a corner and gets suckerpunched in the nose, Adam takes over the pursuit, chasing after his former friend. But with a well-timed toss of a lighter, Dempsey gets clear of his pursuers.
At the safe house, Grecic wonders aloud if he's a coward for taking the British deal to testify against his former superior officer, to which Ros replies he's more of a coward for murdering thousands of innocents. As Grecic shrugs off this insult, tear gas canisters break through the window. Firing wildly behind her, Ros barely manages to get Grecic to their car and away from the safe house, but there's a problem: Grecic has been shot twice in the stomach. Thinking fast, Ros drives him to the house of a surgeon and former lover, Simon (Jay Villiers), and demands that he get to work saving this psychopath.
At headquarters, the team scratches their heads as to how Dempsey could have known Grecic's location. Malcolm has a lead, bringing up the info on a low-level Mi-6 agent related to the case named Kevin Faulks (William Key), who last week received £30,000 in an offshore bank account. Bringing him in for interrogation, Adam crosses the line and gets violent with the suspect, forcing Harry to send him home for the night to get some rest and think about his actions. "Remember, you are torturing a British officer," Harry says. "Does that remind you of anyone, Adam?" But even when Zaf takes over, Faulks has nothing for them. He's innocent.
Returning home, Adam finds a terrified Jenny (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who points out to him that while she was sleeping, somebody--not Adam's son--left out a Viewmaster in the kitchen. Adam picks up the child's toy, looks through, and finds an encryption code. Dempsey is trying to contact him away from the eyes of Mi-5. And thus, Adam decides to take up the operation on his own and pursue his former friend and colleague, first insisting to Jenny that she lock all doors, lower all blinds, and not answer the door unless it's him.
Meanwhile, Grecic is suffering terribly from the gunshot wounds. Alas, they cannot risk taking Grecic to the hospital and exposing their location, but as luck would have it, Ros shares the same blood type. Quite a thing to do, keeping the enemies at bay while giving blood.
Adam arrives at the Natural History Museum, as per the code, and there's Dempsey. After a bout of heavy hand-to-hand combat, Dempsey cries uncle, saying that he is not Adam's enemy. Dempsey claims he was part of something called Operation Sandpiper, and he was to continue working in Serbia post-war. However, the only way to gain access into their ranks and earn their trust was to torture Adam. Then claiming he has nothing to do with the hit put out on Grecic, he pleads for Adam to help him and clear his name. Reluctantly, Adam agrees, but he's keeping Dempsey on a short leash and a promise to put a bullet in his head should he take one wrong step.
The task at hand: Dempsey's handler was a man named Charlie Holland, and when Sandpiper was finally completed, Dempsey and Holland had stumbled upon valuable information in re: Syria that many would not want exposed. Using an old-school, pre-computer technology encoding system, Holland's information is out there somewhere in England, located inside of a book, and they must find it before their superiors and enemies do. Somebody wants all evidence of Sandpiper erased, and that's who put out the hit on Grecic.
Visiting the Rooksnest Retirement Community, though, they find that Holland, who was known to the nurses as a very healthy man, has suddenly died. Going through his belongings, Adam and Dempsey find nothing. They continue on with their mission, but not before accidentally setting off figurative alarms in the Mi-6 ranks, forcing John Russell to make a call to Harry, wondering why Adam is graverobbing? Harry feigns ignorance, but this is enough for him to truly question Adam's sanity. Is he working with the enemy? Adam later calls in with questions about Operation Sandpiper, but even with Malcolm's exquisite research skills, he finds no trace of such a thing.
Harry has had enough. Not willing to take chances, he sends Jo and Zaf after the pair, mentioning that, if push comes to shove, they may very well have to shoot Adam in order to complete their mission.
After pondering their next steps, Adam and Dempsey arrive at the London Library looking for a very specific book that Dempsey and Grecic once bonded over: A first edition of Two Cheers for Democracy by E.M. Forster. They cannot find it in the system, so they ask a librarian if they remember Charlie Holland. Nodding her head, she leads them to his favorite reading spot, where they find a code--"940.2073"--that will lead them to the library section where Holland stashed the book.
Tearing through the stacks, Adam and Dempsey find they are not alone as Jo and Zaf arrive, guns cocked and aimed at their targets. After some tense moments of shouting, Adam begs them to trust him, just once more, and to help them complete their mission. Still holding them at gunpoint, Jo crouches down and finds the book. Dempsey was telling the truth.
Brought into headquarters for questioning, Dempsey tells them everything. And more than that, Russell is in a lot of trouble, and Harry knows it. Dempsey was kept in Serbia for nefarious, secretive purposes, gathering intelligence that Russell could sell to the highest bidder, far from the government's watch. And the book contains all of this information in tiny little microdots. And that Grecic and Dempsey were the two remaining people who could accuse him of this. After threatening him with violence, Russell confesses that he put out the hits.
Now safe and recovered from his wounds, Grecic takes the stand, and the testimony is world news. As the trial wraps up, Adam returns home and tells Jenny that she can no longer be a part of his life. "I can't do this to you," he explains, wanting to protect her from his life.
In a sudden twist, though, Dempsey tracks down Grecic in Rio de Janeiro six months later, raises his gun, and assassinates him. Whose side was he really on?
Hey! I Know That Actor!
Alec Newman, who played double (or triple?) agent Richard Dempsey, is best known for his role as Michael Byrne on the British television program "Waterloo Road," but has also appeared on "Hope Springs," "Star Trek: Enterprise," and "Children of Dune."