Then: Sir Harry Pearce, the only character to have appeared in every single episode of the show (plus its feature film, Spooks: The Greater Good). Pearce is the Head of MI5’s Counter-Terrorism Department (‘Section D’) and is respected by his colleagues and loved by us for his thinly veiled sarcasm.
Now: Peter Firth plays the Duke of Cumberland in the series Victoria, currently airing on ITV. He’s also appeared as Jacob Marley in the series Dickensian, a TV show which brings together Dickens characters from several of the author’s novels.
Then: Tom Quinn, a serious and talented spy and the main character for the show’s first few seasons. He’s Chief of Section D. He is later decommissioned, though returns to the series for a guest appearance.
Now: Macfadyen’s most notable appearance since Spooks – and the recent Ripper Street – is perhaps as Mr Darcy in the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, alongside Keira Knightley. He then teamed up with the actress again to star in Anna Karenina. You can also see him as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood.
Then: Adam Carter, a former MI6 officer who joins Section D. He’s the lead protagonist after Tom Quinn’s departure, and while excellent at his job, struggles with anxiety and depression in the wake of his dark past. He’s married to Fiona Carter, another MI5 Officer.
Now: Penry-Jones has kept busy on the TV scene his departure from the show. He has appeared in numerous TV films, among which The 39 Steps, Persuasion and Life in Squares. He stars too in the series Silk, Whitechapel and Black Sails. And you can also see him in Woody Allen’s chilling London-based thriller Match Point.
Then: Lucas North, the former Head of Section D, who returns to the MI5 after eight years of imprisonment in Russia. He’s eager to prove himself as one of the best of his field and weirdly obsessed by the poet and painter William Blake.
Now: Armitage was propelled to international fame for starring in The Hobbit trilogy as dwarf-prince Thorin Oakenshield. You can also see him in the series Hannibal and in the film Alice Through the Looking Glass. (And though this was pre-Spooks, we simply couldn’t leave out his swoon-worthy performance as Mr Thornton in the period mini-series North & South).
Then: Ros Myers, another MI6 recruit to Section D, and perhaps (um, definitely) the toughest spy on the section.
Now: Shortly after Spooks, Norris acted alongside Stephen Fry in the comedy-drama Kingdom. She’s principally worked in TV, turning up in the likes of Agatha Christie’s Marple, Utopia, Doctor Who, and Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (we know. Great title.).
Then: Up-and-coming spy Danny Hunter, who has a taste for expensive stuff and is generally awesome at his job.
Now: The actor’s become a true Hollywood star. Oyelowo completely wowed us with his interpretation of Martin Luther King Jr. in the film Selma. He’s also lined up to appear in the films Queen of Katwe and A United Kingdom, which will hit cinemas later this year. In the meantime, you can also spot him in The Help, Lincoln and The Butler.
Then: Tough-as-nails Erin Watts, covering as Head of Section D while Harry Pearce is suspended. She holds herself - and others - to very high standards and is perhaps the only person we’ve ever seen tell Harry Pearce off.
Now: Pulver plays Irene Adler, aka ‘the woman’, on the BBC’s Sherlock. She was also a lead in Da Vinci’s Demons and Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond. Currently she’s on set for the film Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth instalment in the Underworld franchise. And here’s a fun fact - she’s married to Spooks co-star Raza Jaffrey.
Then: Tessa Phillips, the unscrupulous Head of a separate counter-terrorism department: Section K. She becomes Harry Pearce’s sort-of-nemesis.
Now: Augtter has small parts in The Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier, though she’s more recognisable for her turn as Sister Julienne in Call the Midwife.
Then: Zafar Younis, the officer in Section D with the best sense of humour (which is quite a feat, given how tragic things get there). Used to work for the MI6, but is asked by Adam to join his team after he saves Fiona’s life.
Now: Jaffrey has done plenty of TV series, among which Mistresses, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Elementary, Homeland and Code Black. As mentioned above, he’s married to his Spooks co-star Lara Pulver.
Then: Ruth Evershed, a Senior Intelligence Analyst on secondment from GCHQ to MI5. She becomes Harry’s right-hand woman, and the two fall in love, in an on-and-off romance that carries on over the years.
Now: Nicola Walker is one of the leads in Last Tango in Halifax. She’s also done lots of work in TV crime shows - including River alongside Stellan Skarsgard, Unforgotten, Babylon, and Scott & Bailey.
Find Spooks series 1-3 in On Demand > Box Sets
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