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'Mi-5,' Episode Forty-Two Recap: 'Hostage Takers (Part 1)'

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

Previously on Mi-5

When Ruth witnesses a securities agent commit suicide, her investigation soon threatens to put her in prison for good. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "Hostage Takers (Part 1)"

Written by: Raymond Khoury
Directed by: Andy Hay

Just as the United Kingdom is in talks to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia--and in return getting a guaranteed 20-year oil supply at pre-set prices--six terrorists sneak into the country through a dockyard, murdering a security guard in the process. As Mi-5 gets working on facial recognition software using CCTV footage, Harry (Peter Firth), still depressed over recently losing Ruth forever, visits Juliet (Anna Chancellor) at Whitehall complaining that he and his team have to babysit some incoming Saudi princes. Why not let Special Branch do this? Well, she explains, Mi-6 thinks that one of the princes may be providing information and funding to Al Qaeda, and they need Section D's help in pinpointing which of them is involved. And just to help out Harry's team, Juliet sends over Neil Sternin (Matt Day), an agent who has been tracking this case closely. With his help, Mi-5 has 48 hours to discover the identity of the sympathizer before the deal closes.

With access to their schedule, the team cooks up a plan to influence the princes before their Friday night gala at the Saudi Trade Centre. While Ros (Hermione Norris) and Malcolm (Hugh Simon) head to the Saudi Prince's Hotel to bug the place and set up their operation, Adam (Rupert Penry-Jones) and Zaf (Raza Jaffrey) hit a dead end with one of their informants, one Firaz Ali (Amar Hussain), who refuses to tell them any rumblings for fear of death. Luckily, Jo (Miranda Raison) calls in with a lead: The manifest of the ship's container was deleted from the harbor master's computer, likely the work of Renko Prosnik, the officer on duty at the time.

After splitting up with Zaf, Adam arrives at Prosnik's apartment building only to see a Middle Eastern man rush out of the man's flat. Calling into headquarters asking to send others over to check the flat--where they will likely find Prosnik's dead body--Adam chases the man on foot, only to get suckerpunched in the nose and lose his man along the piers. How could the terrorists have known about Mi-5's lead?

Why, because there's a mole working at Section D, of course. Back at headquarters, we the audience have our answer as Neil remotely locks the computer of new intelligence analyst Sally Bernard (Saskia Reeves), convinces her to go get coffee while he works on fixing her hard drive, then downloading Mi-5's terrorist watch list. Almost getting caught, but not quite, Neil convinces her that he's working with the attorney general, running an internal investigation on Harry Pearce and Adam Carter on their connection to Ruth Evershed and the Cotterdam scandal.

Later, Neil meets with one of the terrorists on the Millennium Bridge, handing over a flash drive of the watchlist, and advises that they must tread lightly. They agree to only hit the targets closest to the informants, which would in turn make the government security services pay attention. Using the list, the terrorist decides to focus on turning a man named Hassan (Ashwin Bolar) into joining their operation, planning a series of suicide bombings to avenge the U.K. government's continue murder of Iraqi Muslims. And there is an insinuation that Hassan will not be the only martyr to come forth while the Saudi princes are in town.

After a long day of work, Adam returns home and faces what he has been dreading: His son's babysitter, Jenny (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), has had enough of his strange behavior, his night terrors, and his secrecy, declaring that he cannot possibly be a software specialist. Finally, Adam admits his real occupation and the fate of his late wife. That night, he has another one of his terrible nightmares, prompting Jenny to come wake him up. Meeting eyes, they fall into each other's arms and spend the night together.

At the Saudi Prince's Hotel, Ros has assumed her identity as Amanda Lowery, guest services extraordinaire. Carrying a vial of liquid ecstasy, she is to spike two of the princes' drinks, which would first knock them out for 30 minutes, then upon their awakening temporarily leave them susceptible to any suggestion Ros may make. She easily puts Prince Wissam (Davood Ghadami) to sleep, but when it comes to Prince Khaldoon (Alex Caan), the lady-grabbing, western culture-loving, she has her hands full, so to speak. After showing the amorous fellow a literal binder full of women who she can call up for him, he starts making passes at her. Going off script, she implies that she's done things in the past she's not proud of, some of which can be found on the internet. While he races toward his laptop, she spikes his drink. But no good plan ever goes perfectly, and Prince Khaldoon has an allergic reaction to the potion and goes into seizure. Calling in Malcolm through her hidden earpiece (conveniently injected into her skin), Ros gets helps finding the medication, learning that the Prince has a heart murmur, and that the only way to counteract his seizure is to force-feed him sugar. Just as she does so, Khaldoon's bodyguards bust into the room, only to see a very naked Ros tell them to get out and mind their own business. Khaldoon wakes up, confused, and Ros convinces him that he invited her to the gala at the Saudi Trade Centre that night.

Zaf's informant calls him up with new information, having gotten wind of a man named Hassan potentially getting turned. Mi-5 raids Hassan's house in Surbiton, only to find no trace of him, only a confused and terrified family. With the security services looking far and wide for Hassan, it seems the terrorist's plan is going off without a hitch. But what is the end goal?

Tracking Hassan's internet searches, they discover that he has been investigating West End nightclubs, likely potential targets. Lo and behold, their facial recognition software spots Hassan at Charing Cross on his way to a club called Corvette. Adam and Zaf make it to the club, and it's not long before Hassan realizes he's trapped, zipping open his windbreaker and exposing his suicide vest. Adam, ever one to keep suspects alive, puts his gun on the ground and attempts approaching Hassan, pleading with him not to do it. But when Hassan reaches for the vest, Zaf has no choice but to shoot him down. Adam approaches the body and examines the explosives, shocked to find that it was nothing but putty. Hassan was technically unarmed.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Trade Centre gala is just heating up, and Ros arrives on the arm of Prince Khaldoon. But the party doesn't stay fun for long as the terrorists, dressed as waiters, bust out their machine guns and lock the doors. "We are in control of this building," they declare, as Ros finds a corner and whispers into her comm:

"The trade centre has been taken over by armed terrorists. Do you copy? Do you copy?"

Hey! I Know That Actor!

Matt Day, who plays double agent Neil Sternin, is best known for his 227 episodes as Luke Ross on "A Country Practice," but viewers may also recognize him as Brice in "Muriel's Wedding," Jerry Burke in Woody Allen's "Scoop," Jake Duffy on "The Bob Morrison Show," Councilor Tyno on "Farscape," Gabriel Lucas on "Tangle," and David Potter on "Rake."


About the Author

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