'Mi-5,' Episode Thirty-Five Recap: 'The Sting'

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

Previously on Mi-5

A recently released Communist spy is Mi-5's only chance to stop a greedy billionaire from destroying the National Health Service. For more, read our full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "The Sting"

Written by: Rupert Walters
Directed by: Julian Simpson

The United Kingdom and the United States may be allies, but that doesn't mean they always get along. As the U.S. continues to build up military presence along the Iran border, they've gotten into the habit of stealing away suspicious British citizens without Mi-5's permission. Harry (Peter Firth) has had it, and he instructs his team to stop the Americans, led by CIA operative Alex Roscoe (William Armstrong) from extraditing a suspected terrorist Louis Khurvin (Philip Arditti). Mi-5 does not consider this man a threat, simply a disgruntled radical among thousands of others. The easier and more legal avenue would be to simply keep eyes on him, just in case.

This wouldn't be espionage if everything went according to plan, and when the two British agents assigned to Khurvin's surveillance are murdered in cold blood,National Security Coordinator Juliet Shaw (Anna Chancellor) has no choice but to fire Harry on the spot. With nobody in charge, Juliet looks to Adam (Rupert Penry-Jones) to take over as head of Mi-5 while the rest of the team goes to work on finding Khurvin. Suddenly, a photo appears at headquarters showing Khurvin at the Mushta Islam Training Camp, a terrorist facility, the previous July. Suspicious about the two-month gap in Khurvin's file, the team is certain the photo is a fake...until a computer analysis shows it's the real deal. How could they miss such an important detail and release a terrorist back into the world?

Laying down an algorithm in order to cross-reference U.K. and U.S. intelligence, Colin (Rory MacGregor) finds that Khurvin, reportedly £11,000 in debt, has repeatedly accessed three separate cash points (ATMs) in the city, each time taking different subway routes. Following the money, the team happens upon the American Nick Pollard (Peter Vollebregt) of Cardassia Financial Services, who has been in the U.K. for nine months now.

As the case progresses, Adam meets with Harry at the dogtrack, and each open up to each other about their career woes. Adam, still reeling from his wife's death, feels broken and isn't sure he can continue anymore. But Harry reassures him that he is doing good work, and what he wouldn't give to be back in the service instead of bored at home watching game shows while low-level agents keep surveillance on him. Even when Juliet learns of this secret meeting, there's not enough information to admonish Adam. With her back turned, Adam is now able to transfer info on the Khurvin case onto a memory card in order to give to Harry, who hopes to help the operation regardless of his unemployment.

Following the Pollard lead, Adam and Jo (Miranda Raison) disguise themselves as janitors and gain access to Pollard's office to steal computer files. However, as Zaf (Raza Jaffrey), Ruth (Nicola Walker) and Juliet track Pollard's movements away from his office, they witness him using counter-surveillance training in order to shake any surveillance, then do a 180 to head right back to the office. Adam and Jo make it out just in time, but their suspicions are confirmed: Pollard has another identity, and if the highly encrypted files on his computer are any indication, he's likely CIA. But why would the CIA recruit Khurvin? CIA operative Roscoe swears to Juliet that he is not one of them, but can he really be trusted?

Unable to be off the clock, Harry easily escapes the eyes of his surveillance detail and meets with a trusted American colleague, retired CIA man Michael Gorman (John Sharian). After being debriefed on the Khurvin case, Gorman (good name) informs Harry that, very likely, Pollard is arming up Khurvin and has a target ready. This was all a set-up, an excuse to incite war with Iran, and this is proven to be a valid hypothesis when the rest of the team finds that Khurvin was having major dental surgery the previous year and couldn't possibly have gone to the Mushta Islam Training Camp. The photo was a fake, the best they've ever seen. The CIA is good, but apparently not good enough.

Zaf and Jo finally manage to track down Khurvin at one of the cash points and follow him to his cottage hideout. Back at headquarters, Colin and Malcolm (Hugh Simon) are finally able to decrypt Pollard's files, uncovering airport terminal blueprints and air traffic flight plans. Khurvin means to blow up a plane flying into Heathrow. With well-armed backup, Zaf and Jo tail Khurvin to just outside Heathrow, where the man stops, goes into the forest, and uncovers a surface-to-air weapon. Giving him 30 seconds to comply, Khurvin does not relent, and so the armed Mi-5 agents are forced to shoot him dead.

Reinstated at the head of Mi-5, Harry intercepts Pollard before he is able to skip town. Returning to the earlier extradition point, Harry reprimands Roscoe, telling him to "put your own house in order before you think about messing in mine again." And if it's all right with the Americans, they're going to hold onto Pollard for the time being.

Hey! I Know That Actor!

William Armstrong, who played CIA operative Alex Roscoe, is a Canadian actor who has appeared on such television shows as "Hollyoaks," "The Courtroom," "Band of Brothers," "Silent Witness," and "Capital City" as well as the films "Derailed," "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," "La Vie en Rose," and "The Dark Knight."

About the Author

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