Spooks (also known as MI-5) is a British television drama series created by David Wolstencroft and produced by Kudos for BBC One. The title derives from a popular colloquialism for spies, as the series follows the work of a group of MI5 intelligence officers at Thames House.
The series aired in the UK on BBC One from 13 May, 2002 to 23 October, 2011. There are 86 hour-long episodes in 10 seasons.
Spooks originally premiered in South Africa on SABC3 on Saturday 2 November 2002, at 20h30. Only the first season aired on SABC3. The series later aired on DStv's BBC Entertainment (formerly BBC Prime) and Hallmark channels. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 10 has not yet aired in South Africa.
Spooks (known as MI-5 in the USA, due to the word being a racial slur in that country) is a show about British spies that work in counter-terrorism.
The spies are collectively known as Spooks because of the shadowy nature of their existence. The Spooks use many different covers, and rarely get to use their real identities out in the open.
These secret agents are tasked with the mission of protecting the national security of the UK.
The show quickly gained an unexpected edge with the violent killing of character Helen Flynn, played by Lisa Faulkner, in the second episode.
During an undercover operation Helen and Tom were captured by race riot instigator Robert Osborne, played by Kevin McNally, who tortured Helen with a deep fryer in an attempt to make Tom, her superior, reveal classified information.
He refused and she was killed.
This provoked an angry reaction from many viewers who jammed BBC phone switchboards with complaints, despite the show airing after the 9pm watershed.
Nevertheless, the death of Faulkner's character set the precedent that, in Spooks, anyone can die at any time.
Each episode ends with a scene freezing suddenly into a black-and-white negative image, which cuts directly to a frame with the Kudos and BBC logos.
Following the success of the BBC Three Doctor Who spin-off series, Torchwood, the controller of BBC Three, Julian Bellamy, announced a Spooks spin-off entitled Spooks: Code 9 in December 2006. The show premiered in the UK on 10 August, 2008.
Season 1 (6 episodes)
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 2 Nov 2002 | Finale: 7 Dec 2002 | Saturdays, 20h30
Season 2 (10 episodes)
Channel: Hallmark | Premiere: 4 Feb 2007 | Finale: 8 Apr 2007 | Sundays, 21h00
Season 3 (10 episodes)
Channel: BBC Prime | Premiere: 15 Dec 2006 | Finale: 16 Feb 2007 | Fridays, 21h00
Season 4 (10 episodes)
Channel: BBC Prime | Premiere: 14 May 2008 | Finale: 16 Jul 2008 | Wednesdays, 22h30
Season 5 (10 episodes)
Channel: BBC Entertainment | Premiere: 4 Sep 2008 | Finale: 6 Nov 2008 | Thursdays, 20h30
Season 6 (10 episodes)
Channel: BBC Entertainment | Premiere: 8 Jul 2009 | Finale: 9 Sep 2009 | Wednesdays, 20h30
Season 7 (8 episodes)
Channel: BBC Entertainment | Premiere: 11 Jan 2010 | Finale: 1 Mar 2010 | Mondays, 21h30
Season 8 (8 episodes)
Channel: BBC Entertainment | Premiere: 27 Feb 2011 | Finale: 17 Apr 2011 | Sundays, 20h00
Season 9 (8 episodes)
Channel: BBC Entertainment | Premiere: 14 Sep 2012 | Finale: 2 Nov 2012 | Fridays, 21h05