With only eight episodes per season, the time constraints of Spooks allow me to look past its lapses in plausibility. But sometimes the plot threads make no sense and the cause-and-effect rationality is just not there and it’s all happening in a very fast English accent and there’s no closed captioning on Netflix streaming.
Generally each episode focuses on one mission that is resolved in 52 minutes, and is solved by a team of 1 tech guy, 1 commander, and 2-3 field agents. There’s also backup teams of shooters who are merely extras and never have any lines or interactions with the agents. Sometimes London CC technology can find any suspect (there he is!), other times not (he got away!).
Spooks seems to be quite similar to 24 and La Femme Nikita, both of which were created by Joel Surnow. I think that LFN is the greatest spy series ever: although the show had a small budget, it had terrific style (the late 90s being the era of minimalism helped), crackerjack writing, killer electronica music selections (Everything But the Girl, Garbage, Depeche Mode, Enigma, Mono), and a slow-burning love story between the senior operative Michael and the innocent newcomer Nikita. You probably are more familiar with the J.J. Abrams’ series Alias, which was a total LFN knock-off (see examples here). I highly, highly recommend LFN if you are a fan of Spooks. There is a narrative throughout the entire series and it involves characters both major and minor—I miss that in Spooks. I also was disappointed with the mostly one-note “villains” of Spooks compared to the exceptional actors that guest-starred in LFN. Incidentally, one of the most memorable LFN villains, James Faulkner (who played Dominic in “War” (the cage scene episode) and “Cat and Mouse”) was in Spooks Season 9, Episode 2 as Robert Westhouse.
Here is the greatest LFN compilation video ever made – wow: