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Spooks series 8

Richard Armitage returned as MI5 officer Lucas North in the eighth series of the BBC spy drama, which was shown on BBC One and BBC Three in November and December 2009.

The new series picked up where the highly successful seventh series ended, with Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) captured by the FSB and about to be flown to Russia. Hermione Norris returned as section D chief Ros Myers, as did Miranda Raison as Junior Case Officer Jo Portman, and Hugh Simon as Malcolm Wynn-Jones, the section's technician and data analyst.

Also returning, three years after faking her own death, was Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker), a hugely popular character who came tantalisingly close to having an affair with Harry during her time on the Grid.

Richard Armitage said that "Lucas' character was coming into focus last year, as he was placed back in the world that he left eight years ago to go to a Russian prison. It was almost like he was in pieces, starting to put himself back together, which was quite good because that's how I felt when I was assembling the character. This year, it's much more Lucas as he once was. He's still got Harry to impress, but he's becoming the spy that he had the potential to become before he got put in prison." [1]

But the new series returned to the story of what happened to Lucas while he was imprisioned in Russia. In episode 4, "Lucas revisits what he went through in prison in more detail." [1]

"You see him being electrocuted. He's so broken, he almost hangs himself." Talking about filming those scenes, Richard added, "It's weird, you're in the zone, really upset, and then the director goes: 'Cut!' You're like 'God, I could actually have done that.' " [2]

"But it wasn't just that he was tortured - there was a relationship that built up while he was in prison with his interrogator. You see Lucas deconstructed, almost to the point of being turned, and to the point of wanting to die." [1]

There was a new love interest for Lucas - a CIA liaison officer. "There's a real power struggle between them which ends up in a physical relationship and a deep love affair. The team are monitoring him and her all the way through. It's a sorry relationship, because it's always tarnished and under the microscope." [1]

Speaking about Ruth's return (she joined Section D some years after Lucas had been imprisoned), he said,"There's a mutual respect between Lucas and Ruth. When she first comes back, Lucas really takes control of her situation, in a similar way to how Ros and Harry debriefed Lucas when he first arrived. So it's not the most comfortable position between Lucas and Ruth, but there is a sort of intellectual meeting of minds. Lucas is kind of amused by Ruth, just as I am by Nicola - she's very funny." [1]

There was an explosive end to the series. Does Lucas survive it? "I think I'll be sticking around, but series 8 does finish on a cliffhanger..." [2]




BBC Spooks website
Official website of the real MI5


[1] Interview in Filmstar magazine, October 2009
[2] Interview in Closer magazine, 17th-23rd October 2009

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