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'Mi-5,' Episode Thirty-One Recap: 'The Book'

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

Previously on Mi-5

Adam (Rupert Penry-Jones) poses as a Syrian in order to infiltrate an illegal immigration route and convince a known terrorist into becoming a double agent. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "The Book"

Written by: Raymond Khoury
Directed by: Jeremy Lovering

When retired spy Clive McTaggart (Andrew Burt) is found dead of an apparent suicide, old friend and colleague Harry (Peter Firth) is devastated, sharing woes and memories with National Security Coordinator Juliet Shaw (Anna Chancellor) and head honcho Roy Woodring (Stanley Townsend). That is, until Mi-5 receives a call from Gary Hicks (Douglas Hodge), a tabloid journalist who was to meet McTaggart at his country cottage until he accidentally witnessed two mysterious suited men murder the ex-spy by way of asphyxiation. But what was the meeting about? It seems that McTaggart, having recently received a cancer diagnosis, had written a tell-all book about his time with the Secret Service and was giving Hicks the exclusive. Did somebody get wind of the book's impending release and decide to take action?

As they attempt to follow the evidence, trying to figure out who else knew about the book, Mi-5 traces the information to a computer owned by aspiring journalist named Joanna "Jo" Portman (Miranda Raison). Going out into the field with wife and fellow spy Fiona (Olga Sosnovska), Adam makes a visit to Jo's house, posing as a gas company employee, and concludes that she is not a lead worth pursuing. Continuing onto McTaggart's cottage, they comb every nook and cranny of the abode until they discover a fiber optic camera in the ceiling. Whoever was spying on McTaggart had some high-tech gadgetry, but who?

His paranoia growing every second, Hicks decides to abandon his Mi-5 escort and race to the Daily Herald newspaper, where he will once and for all break the story and hope that, since the secrets are out, the murderers will no longer be coming for him. But ever a swift spy, Adam intercepts him just outside of the newspaper's offices. Placing Hicks in the car on its way back to the Mi-5 safe house, Adam is spotted by none other than Jo, who was on her way to the newspaper to drop off some clippings for potential employment. Not one to let a story pass her by, Jo takes action, follows Adam, and confronts him, knowing that whatever is happening is in regards to what Gary Hicks knows.

Somehow managing to gain access to Thames House, one of the criminals has managed to place a tracking device on Ruth's (Nicola Walker) coat, allowing them to follow her directly to the safe house. Over a bugged cell phone line, the criminals listen in as Gary, unbeknownst to the Mi-5 agents protecting him, calls up a news editor saying that he has a big scoop. The criminals have heard enough, and with permission from their boss, they sneak up to the safe house, guns at the ready. Luckily, Jo has been doing her own safe house spying, and noticing that trouble is about to go down, breaks the criminals' car window so as to set off its alarm and warn the agents inside. A gunfight ensues, and thanks to Jo's ingenuity, Zaf (Raza Jaffrey) manages to injure the criminals, who escape without having completed their task. Adam, seeing Jo waiting around the corner, thanks her for her help but doesn't want to "encourage this sort of behavior." And yet, Jo has another trick up her sleeve, having tossed her cell phone into the getaway car so Mi-5 can trace the criminals.

Back at Mi-5, the agents hit a dead end, as Jo's tracking scheme leads them only to the getaway car, now burned to a crisp and wiped of all forensic evidence. But as luck would have it, Jo's phone also accidentally picked up the criminals communicating with their boss, giving them both the number the criminals called as well as their codename--"Zulu Papa Uniform Three Seven One." But what number did they call? Why, none other than the Defence Intelligence Staff Ops Center, a number every government agent knows all too well.

Woodring returns home, finding Harry waiting for him in the dark. The jig is up. Woodring tries to appeal to Harry's judgment, saying that McTaggart's book would have weakened the British government to a fatal degree. Stuck between the truth and duty to his country, Harry leaves, choosing not to arrest Woodring. Meeting once again with Juliet and in possession of McTaggart's "book" (actually a fake cooked up by Mi-5 and some impressive handwriting forgery software), Harry demands that Juliet get rid of Woodring and leave Hicks alone or he'll go straight to the press.

Harry returns to Hicks and tells him to sit on the story for now, as it would cause too much trouble in their current political climate. But when the time is right, go right ahead. Meanwhile, Adam takes a chance and offers Jo a job working for Mi-5, which she gladly accepts.

Returning home, Harry opens up a package and finds the true copy of McTaggart's book, sent to him for safekeeping. The note attached reads: "Do with it as you see fit. Yours, Clive."

Hey! I Know That Actor!

Jo Portman, the newest member of the Mi-5 team, is played by Miranda Raison, an actress of the British stage and screen known for her roles on "Vexed," "Married Single Other," and "Doctor Who," as well as the films "My Week With Marilyn" and Woody Allen's "Match Point."


About the Author

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