I first tuned in to MI-5 (Spooks) in order to watch Richard Armitage. There it is, the truth. I loved him in North and South and wanted to see, ahem, more of him. Unfortunately, the things he had acted in were fairly obscure and hard to come by in America. So I watched North and South a few more times, then exhausted the British Robin Hood series, of course, and finally, against my better judgement (because I am complete wimp and was sure I wouldn't be able to handle it) checked out season 7 of MI-5 from my library.
Spy shows are not my thing. Romantic comedies. Yes. Period dramas. Yes. Spooks? Spies and intrigue and terror? No way. Still, I tentatively slid the dvd into the player and gave it a go. The first few minutes included a new father being violently seized by some thugs, then after the opening credits, a disturbing psychological flash-back montage that freaked me out. I turned it off thinking this was a big mistake. The soundtrack alone was giving me heart stress. But I persevered and a few nights later tried again. And then it happened. I fell in LOVE. Only it wasn't Lucas North. It was Ros Myers.
The ultra cool sexy woman encountering a dead body completely unfazed; making a quiet phone call, refusing to abort her mission, saying "if its something worth killing for, its something worth knowing." In this scene, calmly, while on the phone, Ros notices a reflection in the bottle on the table that alerts her to a bad guy skulking up behind her. She grabs that bottle and smashes it into his head. Then, with a table knife, finishes the job (off camera, thank God). Removing evidence from the (first) dead body and breezing through Moscow, Ros stole my heart. We just don't get to see this kinda thing very often.
In my limited experience with scary things, beautiful woman do not behave this way. Some of the things Ros didn't (and doesn't ever) do: (1) scream or look scared, (2) pout out her lips and breathe heavy so that her breasts heave up and down, (3) seek out a man or some other authority figure to rationalize, talk, justify, worry or cry, (4) make you worry about her and her safety when she is on screen. Watching her is calming because she is calm. She radiates a supreme sense of competence. You know she is perfectly willing to die, because that's her line of work. Its simple as that. She's smart, funny, beautiful, hot, cool, skilled and oh so good at beating people up. She rocks.
But then, last night, while watching an episode from series 3 and getting our first real introduction to Fiona, I wondered why Fiona isn't in the same league with Ros? She's tough. She doesn't cry. She's ruthless, dedicated and gorgeous. Why is it not at all the same??
The answer came to me at Trader Joe's this morning. I watched a mom come into the store with her two children who were quite young. The mom was speaking in a loud clear 'mom' voice to her children, directing them to look at certain things, share their thoughts, and encouraging proper behavior and assistance in selecting good vegetables. In every way this should have been appealing, yet she irritated the crap out of me. Every thing she did, seemed to encourage bystanders to look at her and her kids and notice what a lovely family they were. They were lovely. She had nicely cut and highlighted hair, she wore great long fitted shorts; her kids were crisp and clean. They all looked the part. But that was it. They were playing their part: the happy mom and kids on their shopping outing. She seemed to expect that people should notice and compliment her - in fact one older lady did - but coiffed mom wasn't fooling me. It was her gig.
You see, I've been complimented for being a good mom, too, while out shopping. But it took me entirely by surprise. I was just out with my kids and going about my business. I had to think about what I might have done or not done that could have caught the lady's attention and caused her to think I was a good mom. I know that on another day, she might have figured I was a horrible mom because I caved into the demands of a tired kid for candy. But I don't do my shopping to please bystanders. I just do what I do.
And that's the difference between Ros and Fiona. Ros doesn't see herself as 'hip spy out doing a mission'. She just is one. She doesn't have time for angst or introspection. She doesn't need reassurance. We don't know or care whether she puts on makeup or wears sexy underwear. She wears what she wears, looks how she looks, and does what she does just because it radiates naturally out of her. There is no self-consciousness about it. I think it is a combo of brilliant acting and writing that have led to her being the all time most awesome character on Spooks. And that is saying something as the show is saturated with phenomenally good characters and acting.
Check out Spooks ("MI-5" in America, "Spooks" in Britain) on the BBC
Why Ros Reigns Supreme -- Ros Myers of MI-5 (Spooks). LostinBritishTV