Some of the many reasons I love Spooks (a few mild spoilers for tonight’s BBC1 episode)
I realise I’m not writing much about TV here any more, it’s not that I’ve stopped watching it (although I don’t watch that much), it’s just that I enjoy what I watch normally and that’s that, but the things I really love, those are normally things that teach me a thing or two about writing at the same time. Take tonight’s Spooks episode;
- there’s layers of sub text as one of the character’s dishonesty reflects on the dishonesty that only we the viewer knows about,
- there’s the thing with the story being told from three character’s viewpoints and you can see that simple innocuous scenes like one character ringing another to check whether she’s all right means a lot more and acts a place mark when you later see her side of the story,
- there’s the ‘Britishness’ of it, as one character persuades another character to hand over the weapon they were about to commit mass genocide with, without directly acknowledging what they were doing, even though we knew both characters understood and then the victor treats the other to dinner, Jack Bauer would have killed ten people just to get to that point
- and then there’s the thing that Spooks does best, it has worked right from its earliest episodes to make sure that we the viewers know that no character, no matter how major could die and without any obvious signposting and lead up either, so that when Harry walked out of the door in the sights of the assassins gun, there was real tension, we the viewers had absolutely no idea whether the writers had just decided to bump Harry off there and then, just because the writers’ had done it before, I would love to be able to create that amount of tension in my writing.