Episode 3 of the BBC 3 tv spin off series [spooks] code 9, was full of amusing or annoying technical howlers, as well as the casual, desensitising violence, swearing. nudity and and Orwellian surveillance.
Is there sub-plot, which has featured in each of the three episodes so far, of some "hacking" / mathematical puzzle solving, involving "clues" to a possible alleged traitor in MI5 who might have been behind the nuclear bomb explosion in London, left by Hannah, the assassinated former head of the MI5 Field Office 19, going to appear as an online Flash based game or puzzle ? If not, then BBC 3 are missing out on generating some online interest in the series, something which it desperately needs, despite associated fan discussion websites like spookscode9.com.
There is also the cynical attempt at a Paul Verhoeven RoboCop or Starship Troopers film style "future news" Liberty News website. This comes . complete with astroturfed i.e. faked "grass root" user comments, reminiscent of the heavily criticised "Information Revolution" advertising campaign which failed to wean many people from Google to the rival Ask search engine in 2006.
These "clues" are being "solved", on his own, by Charlie Green, the new leader of the MI5 Field Office 19 team , who is supposedly a mathematician,
After "hacking in" to a "timetable", which conveniently tells him when the MI5 central command are due to clear their assassinated former bosses flat, Charlie and the former policewoman Rachel Harris break into the flat at night.
After magically opening the lock to the door to the flat, by placing what might be a magnet between the door handle and the keyhole, they search the flat using torches in the dark a la CSI Las Vegas / Miami / New York.
There are a couple of Clues. On the wall is a map, apparently of to The Yorkshire Dales ("it's where Hannah grew up"). Outside on the balcony, exposed to the weather is an astronomical reflector telescope.
The business end of the telescope is pointing inside from the balcony into the flat, not towards the sky, or to the neighbouring buildings.
However, attached to the tripod is a plastic folder containing an astronomical observation note book, with some "telescope coordinates".
Charlie, however spots a differently formatted number
"What ? They're just telescope coordinates"
"Not this middle one"
"It's just a long random number, Charlie"
"Numbers are never random"
Remember that Charlie is meant to be a mathematician - aaaaarrrrgh !!
The number is
Charlie then memorises the Number and Rachel then rips out this page from the notebook, and burns it, without bothering to check if there are any other clues in the astronomical telescope coordinates on the rest of the page, or in the rest of the notebook.
Later, Charlie copies out the Number again, and eventually spots that it contains the number sequence for the decimal version of the square root of two.
By filtering out every second digit, i.e. the ones not in the (rounded off to 6 decimal places) square root of two 1.414214... sequence he gets Another Number: strong>513827
This, he assures Rachel is an "OS map co-ordinate", without investigating if it is a telephone number or something else.
Later on they both take a trip out into deserted countryside, away from any roads or footpaths, with a GPS unit, and get to the 100 metre square grid reference looking puzzled.
They then spot a solitary tree, and, surprise surprise, find a translucent plastic CD case or similar, in the hollow of the tree.
This either contains a four folded piece of paper with some names on it, e.g. Nagako Ito, "The Ghostman (circled for emphasis), Kevin Reynolds ("The Transporter), Hong Wang, Abdul Ibrahim
"The Ghost man" seems to feature in the next episode 4, according to the end credits teaser.
It would be an understatement to say that this location is not an ideal spot for a geo cache or a dead letter drop , since it completely exposes anyone visiting it to remote observation, contrary to the professional spy tradecraft of the real and fictional Moscow Rules.
The Landranger Grid Reference SE513827, does seem to point to near the Sutton Bank beauty spot, on the Cleveland Way at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, but this may just be a coincidence.
Letting the drug dealer / informant Vickers, even have a look at the MI5 unit's entire intelligence visusalisation diagram, photos , names etc. of their investigation into the Prospect Towers estate, is utterly unbelievable or stupid.
It was fairly obvious who the mysterious "Zero" was going to turn out to be.
Why is the fact that the illegal / fake anti-radiation drugs contain nicotine, meant to be some sort of secret ? Surely a bit of chemical analysis would have detected this well before the infiltration operation ?
Why exactly was it necessary to have three or four female workers in the illegal drugs factory packaging the pills by hand , wearing dust masks and latex gloves, but otherwise topless, exposing their naked breasts ? Note that the guard does not wear a face mask.
As noted before, when it was mentioned in the comments on the preview of Episode 3, the concept of "sonic crowd control" devices, actually described as "sonic weapons", in the full episode, which have somehow been secretly installed on the estate, without the local criminals knowing about them, is ridiculous.
The criminals seem to have disabled these devices, or they were never installed properly, and, despite using the attached CCTV control room to coordinate their own criminal activities, they did not use these "sonic weapons" against the police raid.
However, when the MI5 protagonists raid the same estate, their inside infiltrator has magically flicked a switch, whilst pulling the wires from the CCTV control cabinet, and the remote controlled sonic weapons work first time, and torture the innocent crowd outside into falling onto the ground clutching their ears. Neither the criminals inside the buildings holding guns on the MI5 agents,nor those agents themselves, seem to be affected by the "sonic weapons", except as a distraction.
Spooks Code 9 episode 3 was of similar standard to the first two episodes, which is is still disappointing.
Episode 4 promises
The horrific murder of two MI5 informants lead the team to discover a leak at a government-run Missing Person's Scheme. The race is on to find the source of the corruption and stop the killings before they escalate. Rachel goes undercover to find further information on the MI5 cover up and learns a British scientist may have been wrongly imprisoned for his part in the bomb plot.
Why exactly should any of their "Assets" actually trust this MI5 gang with their lives or with any information ?