Spooks is a British television drama series that originally aired on BBC One from 13 May 2002 – 23 October 2011, consisting of 10 series. The title is a popular colloquialism for spies, as the series follows the work of a group of MI5 officers based at the service's Thames House headquarters, in a highly secure suite of offices known as The Grid. In the United States and France, the show is broadcast under the title MI-5. In Canada, the programme originally aired as MI5 but now airs on BBC Canada as Spooks.
Keeley Hawes stared as lead character Zoe Reynolds from Series 1 to Series 3 (episode 6 'Persephone'). She stared alongside David Oyelowo (Danny Hunter) and her husband, Matthew Macfadyen (Tom Quinn).
Keeley Interview (2003)For Keeley Hawes, the hardest thing about playing feisty MI5 officer Zoe Reynolds is the language. "The dialogue is a real challenge," explains Hawes. "Some of the jargon that the characters use, I don't even understand. A lot of it is like reading the news because it's all facts and figures and names. Some of the time you have no idea what you're actually talking about, it's just a matter of remembering it all and then getting it in the right order."
That wasn't the only challenge for the 26-year-old actress: there's also the difficulty of remembering several different aliases from one day to the next. "In one episode, Zoe goes undercover as a teacher in a school," says Hawes. "So, for her day job she's Jane, an English teacher. Then in her private life at the same time, she's pretending to be Emma, a legal secretary, to her new boyfriend, Carlo, and when she actually does go to work, she's Zoe Reynolds, MI5 Officer. It's all very confusing!"
As if that wasn't bad enough, Hawes also found the prospect of standing up in front of a classroom full of teenagers a terrifying experience. "It was a nightmare! I certainly have a new-found respect for teachers. You have no idea what it's like and I wasn't really teaching them. I think it must be an incredible thing to be able to do."
In the new series, viewers see more of Zoe's personal life. "In the first series she had this will they/won't they thing going on with Danny and nothing happened in the end. But in this series, Zoe does have a bit of romance. She meets this Italian stallion called Carlo and she does some quite unexpected things, like running off to hotel rooms in the middle of the day!" Zoe has seen the problems that Tom faced when his job got in the way of his personal life and is anxious not to make the same mistakes. "I think she is a bit wary of romance. I think it's hard enough for anyone who's single to meet someone but, when you do what Tom and Zoe do for a living, then it's especially difficult , you can be called out anywhere at anytime. They don't have much of a social life really apart from with each other. The easiest way sometimes is if they date each other, which is what Zoe tells Danny when he fancies Sam."
Unlike Zoe, who has always wanted to be an MI5 officer, Hawes had no ambitions to be an actress when she was younger. "I think acting chose me, actually," she says. "The Sylvia Young Theatre School moved opposite the house where I grew up and I would hear them all singing and I remember saying to my mum how good it sounded. I don't think I had any ambitions to be an actress at that age but I went along and I had a great time. "After that, I modelled for a year after being spotted on Oxford Street. I never really enjoyed modelling so I was glad to give it up when I got a part in Dennis Potter's Karaoke. I was very lucky really."
Since then, Hawes, who is currently dating co-star Matthew Macfadyen, has gone from strength to strength with roles in Our Mutual Friend for BBC One, A Is For Acid alongside Martin Clunes and more recently starring alongside Stephen Tompkinson in Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim.