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'Mi-5,' Episode Forty-Seven Recap: 'The Virus Part 1'

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

Previously on Mi-5

A small band of eco-terrorists take over a flood barrier and threaten to put London underwater unless the government publishes a top secret document. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "The Virus Part 1"

Written by: Neil Cross
Directed by: Omar Madha

The United Kingdom is nearing completion of peace talks with Iran, and everything is looking up. Just in case, though, Mi-5 has eyes everywhere, what with Adam (Rupert Penry-Jones) "secretly" having an intelligence-gathering affair with the wife (Agni Scott) of the Iranian Special Consul (Simon Abkarian), Ros (Hermione Norris) maintaining contact with her Iranian informant Mani (Agron Biba), and Zaf (Raza Jaffrey) stationed in Tehran, posing as an employee at Anglo Caspian Oil.

So when Ros's contact informs her that there is an impending attack on British soil, the Mi-5 team is ready to go into action. And the man bringing over the weapon? Mehan Asnik (Ulas Kilic), an Iranian intelligence officer who's just about to leave Tehran. And with the upcoming Anglo-Persian Forum the likely target, the team only has a few days to find and capture this man.

Or if it's up to the Home Secretary (Robert Glenister), why not just outright kill Asnik, exploiting the knowledge they've gathered through Operation Green Leaf? There is a major ideological division inside the Iranian Secret Service (pro- vs. anti-peace), so if Asnik were to die, how would anybody know the British were involved? Harry (Peter Firth) doesn't want to resort to assassination, but as he is under direct orders from a superior, he has no choice. Asnik must not reach Britain.

Adam flies to Tehran to join Zaf at his hideout. Nobody has seen Asnik in the past 72 hours, so they must focus on the airport-bound train they know for a fact he is taking. In order to replicate the Iranian Secret Service's modus operandi, they place a bomb on the train and agree to leave no traces. With Zaf at Anglo Caspian Oil (merely a few hundred meters from the planned explosion location, chosen for minimal casualties) and Adam at the train station, the rest of Mi-5 watches on CCTV as Asnik boards the train with a bag in tow.

Soon, though, they see that the train is slowing down, as is another one coming from the other direction. Asnik must be switching trains, they believe, but operating under the assumption that the second train is full of passengers, is Mi-5 still capable of setting off the bomb? Back at headquarters, a tortured Harry orders them to proceed despite their collective guilt at what they are about to do. Knowing what he knows, Zaf impulsively shouts out to his officemates to duck and cover. The bomb goes off and the office windows shatter from the pulse. Harry apologizes to the team, saying he understands their moral position, but at least Mi-5's target has been killed.

Or has he? Just as Adam berates Zaf for his impulsive decision back at Anglo Caspian Oil and how it can point fingers at British interference, a very-much-alive Asnik stumbles into the British embassy and gives himself up, yelling that he is there to defect. He's been wrongly accused, he says, and has been set up. Under interrogation, Asnik admits to being a double agent, leaking Iranian intelligence to a handler he knows only by the name Copenhagen. And Copenhagen was the one who put him on that train in the first place. Not knowing that Mi-5 was the culprits, he thinks that Copenhagen is the one who set off the bomb, possessing another reason for destroying that train. And he'll tell them, but only if they bring him back to London.

Adam calls Harry in order to ensure safe passage back to England--the train explosion has forced Iran to shut down its borders and airports--and also to tell them that they've been set up. Not only did they just kill hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, but they were forced to do so by an unknown entity. This weighs heavily on Ros, who is ordered to bring in her faulty source immediately. Except he's nowhere to be found.

Harry is called to the U.S. Embassy at Grosvener House, where the American ambassador gives him some bad news. "Mid-1980s, he explains, we sold bio-weapons to Saddam. A little deniable doomsday package for use on Tehran, if it should become expedient... Strain E-34. This is bad stuff. Incubates in 15 hours. After that the carrier coughs up blood. He infects anyone he comes near." And there is no cure. Even worse, there's a chance the guy in Tehran just opened up a case of it. They're not certain, but it's always good to check whether or not an abomination of a virus has just been set free somewhere.

Back in England, Adam and Zaf take a handcuffed Asnik away from the Stockwood Hill Memorial Base, load him into one of two jeeps, and head for headquarters. Along a forest road, the lead jeep is hit with an electromagnetic pulse, shutting down it and their comm system. They are under attack, and it's likely Copenhagen's men. Zaf tries to pull Asnik off the jeep, but the Iranian man has become very ill, having likely been infected with Strain E-34 when the train exploded. He requests to be quarantined immediately, but right now they are under enemy fire. They switch jeeps and head for a safe house, only to find that they are being followed. They attempt to reach the safe house split up and on foot, knowing from the errant and well-taught gun blasts that they are dealing with Special Forces. But as Adam deals with one of the villains in the forest, Zaf is struck in the belly, allowing the remaining gun-toting men to steal him and Asnik away. What those mercenaries don't know, though, is that they just exposed themselves to the virus.

Using the tiny bit of video footage they received from Zaf's phone while he was being captured, Malcolm (Hugh Simon) and Jo (Miranda Raison) are able to trace the source of a mercenary's grenade to a weapons broker by the name of Nick Ronson (Pete Lee-Wilson). Ros makes a surprise appearance at Ronson's high-rise apartment demanding that he contact his source and call of the mercenaries. He reveals the name Angus Leonard, a Special Forces leader, and goes to his computer to call the necessary person, until a sniper bullet breaks through the window and kills the broker immediately. But that didn't answer whether this was the Iranians' doing or somebody else. Ronson's computer is fingerprint-encrypted, but luckily, Ros swings by the office with both his laptop and his severed hand, unceremoniously dumping the items with Malcolm.

With Zaf and Asnik trapped in a van somewhere in England, Adam and Jo decides to go against orders and confront the Iranian Special Consul and his wife. As he has just stepped into an embassy car, though, Adam is technically in Iranian diplomatic territory and has no jurisdiction, and the Consul not-so-politely tells him to bugger off. Fortunately, Jo was able to plan a bug in the car, and as headquarters listens to the Consul call into Iran asking what the heck just happened, the team now knows that the Iranians had no hand in the train explosion set-up.

Back at headquarters, Mi-5 receives a video message from Zaf, informing them that the mercenaries want £30 million and a vaccine for eight men, and they have one hour to get it to them. (Also, the fake vaccine will plant tracking devices inside the enemies, which is pretty cool in and of itself.) There is, of course, no cure, but the team is good enough to at least create a fake one good enough to fool the mercenaries. Adam heads to a secret location where he is immediately held at gunpoint and led to a room, blinded by the floodlights. They bring out a very weak Zaf to show proof of life, prompting Adam to call in the money transfer. But when that is completed, they force Zaf back into the van, breaking their word. And they're bringing Adam along with them.

As headquarters tracks Adam on the moving van (with Jo following the signal in her car), Adam tries to reason with the mercenaries, telling them that they are spreading the virus. But they already have their money and their "antidote," so they pull over, kick Asnik out of the van, and continue along their way.

As Adam screams at the enemies, causing a distraction, Zaf grabs a hold of one of their grenades and tells them that if they don't let Adam go, he'll blow them up along with the vaccine. They agree, and as Adam passes Zaf, he notices that the virus might have already taken ahold of his colleague. Adam steps out into the street and the van peels off, and he immediately begins looking for Asnik, hoping that he hasn't wandered into a crowded area, spreading the virus even further.

Back at headquarters, Harry gets the news and utters the following: So it's finally happened. After 300 years, a plague is loose on the streets of London.

Hey! I Know That Actor!

Pete Lee-Wilson, who plays weapons broker Nick Ronson, is best known for his portrayal of Duke Bowman in 1986's "Sid and Nancy" and Detective Supt Hodges on "The Bill."


About the Author

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