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'Mi-5,' Episode Twenty-Three Recap: 'Outsiders'

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

Previously on Mi-5

When a mission results in three deaths, including an undercover police officer, Zoe (Keeley Hawes) is given a ten-year prison sentence. But when Harry (Peter Firth) intervenes, she takes the option of fleeing to Chile with a new identity. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "Outsiders"

Written by: Raymond Khoury
Directed by: Bill Anderson

Seven people are dead and 11 more are in serious condition after taking paracetamol, the most commonly used painkiller in the United Kingdom. It seems that somebody had remotely hacked into the Pharmavor's system and tainted a batch with fatal doses of menazorphine, akin to "drinking acid." During the Mi-5's debriefing, Malcolm (Hugh Simon) shares a fax, written in Arabic, that says, "As the walls crumble down, so the hawks will feast on the carcasses of the infidel," and is signed "Al Saa'iqa.

While Sam (Shauna Macdonald) looks into Pharmavor's controversial AIDS drug pricing policy - which might have created a few enemies for them - Ruth (Nicola Walker) cross-references the term "Al Saa'iqa" across their databases and finds no matches. However, she does find mention of the term in a book about the Crusades connected to an infamous war leader whose modus operandi was bringing down an enemy by using their technology against them. Back then, this referred to catapults and other weaponry, but now this could easily apply to computers and the internet.

Danny (David Oyelowo), still mourning Zoe's conviction and her subsequent and permanent fleeing of the country, has begun bringing headquarters down with his moping and his poor attitude. But his sadness is only exacerbated when he returns home to find Will (Richard Harrington), Zoe's fiancé. Will has put it together that Zoe was Officer X, the agent on trial for involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy to murder, and he demands to know where she's been sent to or he'll go straight to the press about what he knows. However, having signed the Official Secrets Act when he and Zoe started dating, Danny lets him know that he will go to prison should he reveal anything to anybody.

The hacker strikes again the next day, somehow able to empty the bank accounts of numerous British citizens, causing a national uproar. In order to help the operation, Mi-5 decides to bring in outside help from the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, including one Andrew Forrestal (Adrian Rawlins), a man Ruth knew back when they both worked at GCHQ. Both single and impressed with the other's kindness and intelligence, they continue to flirt as the mission continues. Suddenly, they have a lead, able to track the hacker's movement to a local mosque.

While doing surveillance on the mosque, the operation becomes compromised when a TV news crew arrives on the scene, having been tipped off that the mosque was about to be raided. Going against Harry (Peter Firth), Adam still sends the team in but finds nothing. To add insult to injury, Danny mistakenly accosts one of the mosque's residents, and Adam has no choice but to tell him to shape up or ship out. Immediately following the useless raid, the hacker breaks into London's traffic management systems and causes untold accidents, then rewires the 999 emergency contact number to go directly to a private sex line.

Another fax comes into headquarters: "£100 MILLION AND THE JIHAD CAN END." As far as Adam is concerned, this is proof that they're not dealing with a terrorist at all, but simply a greedy criminal using national paranoia to his advantage. Colin finally deduces that the only way the hacker could have gotten into such well-protected computer systems was if he had access to the G&J key, an algorithm made 13 years earlier in Seattle that allowed whoever possessed it to break into any computer he wants. Meanwhile, Ruth confirms Adam's suspicions when she notices from the slant of the letters in the faxes that the criminal in question seems to have little idea how to write in Arabic and is simply copying from a book. Do all of the hacker's references point to the same book? If anybody is going to figure that out, it'd be Ruth.

After a long night of work, Andrew offers to come over to Ruth's place and cook dinner for her. After another bout of flirting, she starts quoting book passages to him written by Arabic poet Abu Nuwas, quotes he easily recognizes. The jig is up, and realizing that Ruth knows the truth, Andrew tackles her and ties her to her staircase. He proceeds to explain that he went to Cambridge with Joukowsky (the J in G&J), and he had in fact stolen Andrew's work on the algorithm and took all the credit for themselves. Andrew's plan now, in order to have his revenge, is to release the key to the world, watch the markets collapse, and blame it all on G&J.

At headquarters, they receive word that the hacker - whose identity the team still doesn't know - would like to be paid his £100 million in diamonds within 12 hours. Realizing the power of the G&J key if it got into the wrong hands, Harry decides that their only solution is to coat the diamonds with poison so as to kill the hacker the second he touches the ransom. Following the hacker's instructions, Adam goes to the roof and places the bag of diamonds onto a remote-controlled model helicopter. While they wait, everybody starts to question where Ruth is, who had texted to headquarters that she was feeling ill. But her coworkers know that she's not the texting type, nor is she the type to take sick days. Looking into Joukowsky's background, they discover his connection to Andrew. Looking at the CCTV of Ruth and Andrew working late together, they know where to find their culprit.

When the team storms into Ruth's place, they find her alive and well and Andrew's poisoned body strewn across the ground, having touched the ransom diamonds. After Danny comforts Ruth and takes her outside, he goes back in and grabs Andrew's laptop, the one that contains the G&J key, and hides it on his person. After throwing the laptop into the Thames, Danny calls up Will with new information.

Back at his flat, Danny goes through his mail and is surprised to find a postcard, sent from Chile, containing only one word: "Thanks." He peels back a layer of the postcard, exposing a photo of Zoe and Will, finally reunited.

Hey! I Know That Actor!

Adrian Rawlins, who played the hacker Andrew Forrestal, starred in the original television film "The Woman in Black," later remade theatrically with Daniel Radcliffe. But the Radcliffe connections don't end there, as Rawlins also played James Potter, Harry's deceased father, in the "Harry Potter" film franchise.

Marcus Gorman is the author of the novel "Triceratops" and the editor of the film blog Ten Years Ago: Films in Retrospective.


About the Author

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