The reason given for the recruitment of young MI5 agents – because terrorists are getting younger – is such an overly contrived reason to appeal to the same audience that lapped up Skins. Hence the desperate need to initiate romantic intrigue amongst the characters, signalled by plenty of overlong, hackneyed glances between certain male and female recruits. Yawn.
The talented cast are given very little dramatic meat to sink their teeth into, as the characters are so poorly written. Take Jez, the agent with a criminal past. One tacked-on scene, bearing no relation to the narrative, shows his despair while looking for his missing relatives. It's pure patronising purpose is to show that Jez's a good lad at heart.
Killing off one of the leads in the shape of Hannah is a twist recycled from Spooks itself, but the timing is poor as the character wasn't established enough for us to care about her fate. The subsequent chase sequence to track down her apparent killer is similarly lacking in tension, with baffling direction leading to a raised eyebrow or two when the killer is suddenly found face down with a knife in his back.
Shambolically written, this amateurish production may not have the budget to provide much visceral spectacle, but it's also utterly bereft of any ideas, resonant themes or thrills. Future episodes have a major task to salvage this series.
> Is the second episode any better? Click here to read our review.