10 Most Shocking Moments In Spooks

Don't get too attached to the characters in Spooks: you never know when they'll be gone!

Spooks Helen Death

Spooks, also known as MI-5, ran for ten series from 2002 to 2011 before its conclusion, briefly returning for a big screen outing in 2015.

Something that made the show essential viewing was its ability to lure audiences in with its rounded characters, portraying their ordinary lives alongside their professional duties in the Security Service, before suddenly (and often cruelly) killing them off, often without warning.

As a result, audiences could not tell how long those characters were going to survive in the series, but could not help growing attached to them. This ensured that both audiences and the surviving team members were reduced to a state of shock, often lasting for several episodes or even for entire series.

It was quite a mercenary way of keeping the show fresh and exciting for audiences, but it worked. Even the cast of Spooks reported that they did not know how long their characters would last, leading to some truly heart-breaking departures from the programme.

The following list explores ten occasions when Spooks attacked viewers' own sense of security, literally shocking them to their foundations.

10. Zafar's Fate

Spooks Helen Death

Raza Jaffrey's Zafar Younis was an MI6 colleague of Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones) who was drafted into the Security Service to assist Adam in leading MI5's Section D.

Zaf was an uplifting presence on The Grid, taking a lighter hearted approach to matters and developing a close bond with fellow case officer, Jo Portman (Miranda Raison, to whom Jaffrey was briefly married) and teasing intelligence officer, Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker).

Tragically, Zaf's time in Spooks was cut short. Zafar was abducted by a group known as the Redbacks in the first episode of Series 6. For most of the series, his colleagues tried to unravel what had happened to him, whilst fearing the worst. When his body was discovered in Pakistan, they learned that Zafar had been tortured for information, sold to other torturers and ultimately killed. The Redbacks then turned their attention to Jo, allowing Jaffrey's departure to serve a broader purpose in the overarching plot for Series 6.

Jaffrey has continued playing "spooks" in shows such as Homeland and The Enemy Within.

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I started writing for WhatCulture in July 2020. I have always enjoyed reading and writing. I have contributed to several short story competitions and I have occasionally been fortunate enough to have my work published. During the COVID-19 lockdown, I also started reviewing films on my Facebook page. Numerous friends and contacts suggested that I should start my own website for reviewing films, but I wanted something a bit more diverse - and so here I am! My interests focus on film and television mainly, but I also occasionally produce articles that venture into other areas as well. In particular, I am a fan of the under appreciated sequel (of which there are many), but I also like the classics and the mainstream too.