Farewell 'Spooks', We'll Miss You! 

This week, I've been preoccupied with Spooks. Not the ghostly kind, you understand, but the MI5 variety. Last weekend saw the final ever episode of the fabulous BBC spy drama after ten series. If you're in the US (where it's known as MI-5) or Canada, or any other location where you've still episodes (or even series) to run you should, absolutely, bookmark this page and come back to it when your future viewing can't get 'spoiled'.

Over the years we've watched the heroics of the characters, we've watched some of the try to juggle real life and spy life. We've seen twists and turns, debated questions of morality, political rights and wrongs. We've seen all manner of enemies from the Russians and the Chinese, homegrown terrorist cells to Al Qaeda operatives and even a British-based attempt to overthrow the UK government, and even learned to mistrust the supposedly 'special relationship' between the US and the UK. We've watched agents prepared to sacrifice themselves, and sometimes even each other, for the nation's good. And we've been shocked by the sudden revelation that a series regular is a traitor to his or her colleagues. And that's really the essence of 'Spooks' - the question of just who to trust. And we've learned that to keep us safe, our heroes sometimes have to do unspeakably awful things.

And more than that, without warning we've lost characters we've come to respect and in dramatic style.And Spooks' utter brilliance lay not just in the terrific story telling, but in its unflinching habit of killing off favourite characters with disquieting regularity. It even began that way – in its second episode a character was tortured and killed. And it was shown graphically enough that the BBC's phone lines were flooded with complaints, although I have to admit I've seen things just as bad shown before the watershed. 

But 'Spooks' has never relied upon shocks to keep us entertained. After all, if there really were three shocks an hour, or a major character death every week, it would hardly remain shocking for long. And, perhaps surprisingly for a series that has such high production values, it has never relied on big explosions or spectacular special effects either, although there have been plenty of them. There have been some fantastically subtle moments, such as the scene in which Harry bring a bottle of whisky to the former Home Secretary (a man Harry now knows was responsible for the death of one is his agents). Harry declines a drink and only when the home secretary notices that Harry has yet to remove his gloves, does he realise Harry has wreaked his revenge – the whisky is poisoned. And more dramatic ones like Danny's deliberate provocation of the terrorist holding he and a colleague hostage to ensure that he is the one executed.

Having watched a series for so long, I was worried its ending might not live up to the years that preceded it. I should have known better. Because if there's one thing 'Spooks' has done, consistently, over those ten seasons, it is get better and better. I should probably confess that I was a relatively late convert to the series, put off by its quirky, seemingly childlike, title (remember 'Bugs' anyone?). When I did catch an episode (late at night on a repeat channel) it was already in its fourth series. But it was so good that, through DVD boxsets and satellite tv channels, I quickly caught up. Like anyone who's invested years in watching a tv show, I had my own very firm ideas of what should happen, especially when it came to the Harry and Ruth situation (I know, but I'm a girl, I can't help it) As it happened, and rather inevitably, the writers found the perfect ending. For the current storyline, the series as a whole, the characters and the viewers.

I know that 'Spooks' had its critics, not least from some of those within the security services. Perhaps our security services don't really work this way. Perhaps they aren't always so ready to sacrifice themselves for the rest of us. Maybe they don't have access to the fabulous high-tech kit the 'Spooks' enjoy. But I really hope they do.

And after all these years I know precisely who I can trust. Harry Pearce. Every time.