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MI-5, Vol. 1 (2004)

Matthew Macfadyen , Shauna Macdonald  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)

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MI-5, Vol. 1 + MI-5, Vol. 2 + MI-5, Vol. 3
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Product Details

  • Actors: Matthew Macfadyen, Shauna Macdonald, Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo, Rory MacGregor
  • Writers: David Wolstencroft
  • Producers: Christopher Aird
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC
  • DVD Release Date: January 13, 2004
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000E32UZ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,295 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "MI-5, Vol. 1" on IMDb

Special Features

  • All 6 full-length episodes with cast and crew commentaries
  • Behind-the scenes segments for each episode including exclusive information and spoiler alerts
  • Featurettes including cast & crew profiles and interviews, the look of the series, terminology, origins, deleted scenes and more
  • Photo galleries

Editorial Reviews

John Le Carre for the Internet generation, the BBC's MI-5 is a smart combination of TV cop show and George Smiley-esque espionage shenanigans that pulls no punches in its depiction of an MI-5 (the British CIA) team fighting a covert war on the streets of London. This is adult, post-watershed drama clearly inspired by the hard-hitting style of shows as 24 and The Sopranos. The strong ensemble cast is led by charismatic Matthew MacFadyen as Tom Quinn, star spy of "Section B," the counterterrorism branch headed by Harry Pearce (Peter Firth). Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo, and tough-cookie Jenny Agutter make up the team. And as with its British predecessors, Cracker and Prime Suspect, MI-5 (titled Spooks originally) also delves fearlessly into the characters' turbulent personal lives, here given an added twist by their constant need to deceive even those they love. The six episodes of the BAFTA Award-winning first season tackle a variety of tough issues, including religious fanaticism, racism, governmental cover-ups, and, naturally enough, the lingering shadow of Irish terrorism. Throughout, the show strikes a fine balance between a James Bond-ian techno-obsession with spy gadgets and more character-based action, with crisp writing and direction that ratchets up the tension a notch further with every episode. The final cliffhanger is an unforgettable TV moment, and one that leaves viewers agog for next season. --Mark Walker

Product Description

Defending their country, deceiving their friends, MI-5 takes us into the secret world of the clandestine UK security service and the people who make up the elite team. This exciting, fast paced drama, full of split screens and technical wizardry, explores the passion, jeopardy and intrigue of people who have to lie for a living and deceive their loved ones about what they do.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Commentaries on all episodes!
Deleted Scenes
Featurette:Numerous Behind-the-Scenes featurettes on the making of the program
Interviews:Exclusive interviews with the cast and crew!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 141 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transcending the glitz August 13, 2004
There've been some uncommonly intelligent spy films produced by British television: TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY and SMILEY'S PEOPLE (both starring Sir Alec Guinness as the owlish George Smiley), and THE SANDBAGGERS miniseries. In all three, the agency involved is Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service (MI-6). The operatives are a tweedy lot, and the headquarters, either at the old "Circus" or the more modern Century House, are, like the remains of Empire, comfortably shabby. Thus, it was with some misgivings that I began MI-5, the ongoing glitzy miniseries featuring the SIS's less glamorous sister also known as the Security Service, which like America's FBI, deals with domestic intelligence, anti-subversion and counter-terrorism. The glitz is of Hollywood proportions - almost, for me, an instant turn-off. I'm glad I stuck with it.

The lead "spook" is Tom Quinn, played by Matthew MacFadyen. He runs an undercover operations team, the most prominent members of which are Zoe Reynolds (Keeley Hawes) and Danny Hunter (David Oyelowo). The interior of MI-5's London HQ, Thames House, is ultramodern and high tech; the CIA probably never had it so good. Tom's boss is the hardboiled and sphinx-like Harry Pearce, played by Peter Firth.

Admittedly, I didn't become engaged until episodes three and four, when I realized that the intricate scripts, fast-paced and tautly presented, transcended the glitz. I'm now hooked, and eagerly await the DVD release of the Season 2 episodes in late 2004. My only remaining complaint is the too clever lead-in to each episode which requires excessive button-pushing on the remote to navigate. I mean, just get on with it. Prince Charles will become King in a shorter time.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
By D. Mok
When I played the first episode of MI-5, Volume 1, my heart sank farther and farther over the course of the next hour. The cinematography was weirdly cheery, the villains were completely without menace, and the main characters were confusing, vaguely characterized, and seem a little too young for the genre of the show. After this episode, I was already thinking about how much I'd fetch when I send this DVD set to a second-hand bin.

But as Episode 2 rolled along, it's like the show woke up from slumber and began to gallop.

The comparisons to 24 are a little convenient -- two espionage shows on two sides of the Atlantic, both surfacing around the crucial year of 2001? But if you go into MI-5 expecting the ferocious action, ruthless characters, endless treacheries and gritty camera work of 24, you'd probably be a little disappointed. MI-5 doesn't quite have the gut punch of 24 -- few shows do -- but what it does have is a very good cast, unusual plotting, a quirky sense of humour, and an eye for detail for the minutiae of life in espionage. Also, because it's not bound to the real-time and L.A.-centric conceits of 24, MI-5 is actually broader in scope, dealing with Irish terrorists, Islam, race-motivated hate crimes, and European anarchists all within the first six episodes collected here.

While I was initially skeptical of how babyfaced the actors looked, they prove to be very fine performers. According to the supplementary materials on the DVDs, half of the members of MI-5 in real life are under the age of 40, so in that respect, the casting would make sense.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Television At It's Finest January 9, 2005
I first became addicted to this show, known as Spooks in the UK, when it first appeared on A&E. MI-5 is an example of television at its finest. This show gives us a fictional insider view of Britian's domestic intelligence division known as MI-5, and we're not talking James Bond (anyway, he was MI-6). This show presents these people as patriots fighting to keep their country safe, but it's also not afraid to present the morally questionable side, as well -- not something you usually see on American television. In the US, when a show like this is made it treats the players as heroes making a great sacrifice to keep the country safe, rarely as human beings who sometimes have to make morally questionable decisions, decisions that force them to question whether they are doing the right thing or not. Shows like Alias and 24 come close, but they are more thriller shows with thriller plots and violence. This show works in real-time, often using real-time events as catalyst for their plots. What sets this show apart from the likes of Alias and 24 is the human factor: the series focuses more on the human drama than it does the thriller elements. Matthew MacFadyen is absolutely wonderful as Tom Quinn, who over time begins to wonder about the decisions he's had to make and the affect they've had on his life and those around him. Keeley Hawes as Zoe Reynolds, David Oyelowo as Danny Hunter, and Peter Firth as Harry Pearce are exceptional supporting players. Don't let the British setting keep you from watching this series. Unlike any show currently on television in America, based in America, this series reminds us there is still a war on terror and we're only moments away from another disaster. It's edge-of-your-seat plotting and exceptional acting.
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