CI5 Operational Control

With a hitman on the rampage, Malone is forced to wonder whether a ghost from the past has come back for real. Synopsis provided by Niki.

Key players | Synopsis | Personal Insights | Plot Inconsistencies

Key Players

Minister Ingrid Somelson - Phoenix's target
Senator Alex Stryker - likewise
Commander Gaydon - likewise
Maggie Llewellyn - Phoenix's old friend


The episode begins in France, 1981, when we see Malone with the NATO Intel forces (see "plot inconsistencies") trying to catch a terrorist called Phoenix. Malone is just an observer, leading the team is colonel Alex Stryker. (Phoenix is watching news that mentions Reagan & Thatcher, just to set the date). Phoenix realises he's under attack, NATO forces cannot hit an unmovable target standing still on a lit door, but they finally get him, and his body is destroyed as the cabin explodes.

Almost twenty years later, Backup tells Malone that "Carson" has been tracing money movements, and found a million that left from the Libyans, and ended on a Swiss bank account. Malone tells her (see "plot inconsistencies") that it's a going rate for an intercontinental hit.

Then we see a man, looking exactly like Phoenix twenty years ago, crossing the canal with a middle-aged couple (Jennifer & her husband), killing them afterwards. We also find out later that he took their car, and killed the parking attendant.

Curtis, Backup & Keel share this info with Malone, just as he's about to leave on a date. The car has been found in London, and the killing was done with a long barrel .9mm gun and home load ammo (the kind that hasn't been seen since the late 70's), all pointing to a professional hitman. All this makes Malone think about Phoenix, but when Chris wants to find the man, Malone tells them he is dead.

Very inspired looking Backup then goes through all the police traffic control videos between Brighton and London, but Malone, who just happens to pass by conveniently, is the one to find the right car. With some really impressive image enhancement (see "plot inconsistencies") they get a big, sharp photo of Phoenix's face. We also get a pointless flashback to burning Phoenix - Woodward's face did tell us all we needed to know. He wants to get in touch with Stryker - now a senator.

In the meantime we've seen Phoenix go to an old safe house, owned by a woman called Margaret Llwellyn. Phoenix gets Maggie to help him, and she does so, taking flowers to general Forbes, and the name "Paul Novak" is mentioned for the first time. Just as Forbes recognises the name as the Phoenix's real name, Phoenix shoots him.  

Stryker is in London, so Sam and Chris drive Malone to meet him. While Malone is grilling Stryker about whether Phoenix could have survived, Phoenix shoots Stryker as well, from the roof of the building in front of the hotel. Sam and Chris chase Phoenix, and are unable to hit ANYTHING, Phoenix gets slightly wounded, leaving his weapon case behind, conveniently branded with blood, and escapes through an empty elevator shaft.

Malone tells his people Phoenix is back to take his revenge. He himself is not at risk, because he was only a junior. Chris and Sam are sent to France to investigate the possibility that Phoenix survived the fire.

Houses have been built where the cabin used to be, and Sam decides to check out the local graveyard. Inside Novak's crypt the agents find an empty coffin (except for some charred bones) and a landmine. (See plot inconsistencies!) Chris has stepped on it; it's up to Curtis to save him (Plot inconsistencies). He estimates their chances to 5-10%, but, of course, they make it, and decide to skip the frog legs and go for a beer. (See personal insights)

In London, Backup has located Gaydon - the third man on Phoenix's revenge list - in Greece, and for once, when Malone is barking some very basic orders - she has already done them (contacting Gaydon's family to pinpoint his whereabouts etc.) Malone is being pressured from above. Gaydon is located, and Backup and Spencer go to meet him at the airport.

Commander Gaydon does not want protection, which he tells Malone in no uncertain terms, but Malone walks over him with his authority (backed up by a president and two prime ministers).

Sam and Chris have had their findings checked out, and the forensic confirmed that they indeed found some charred human bones. Dr Masters says that on superficial research the bone and the blood sample from earlier do seem to have similar DNA.

Backup suddenly remembers that the whole thing began with the million, and Malone decides that the whole revenge aspect is a decoy. The only active agents seem to be Spencer, Keel, Curtis and Backup, since they are the ones sitting by the computers, searching for a possible target. Swedish financial minister Ingrid Somelson seems to be the Libyan public enemy number one.

She is also a former actress, and thus visiting a local film studio. CI5 sets up a fake assassination, and Curtis - dressed as a cop - "shoots" minister Somelson live on air, while Backup is interviewing her.

Ingrid is justifiably angry, and only slowly calms down as Malone explains the situation to her.

Phoenix sees what happened in the news, and since the killer is supposedly dead as well, decides to claim the hit. Maggie doubts the wisdom of this.

Sam and Chris have been hunting clues at Scotland Yard, but when they return to the CI5 HQ, Backup gives them their only lead. It's an address to an alleged safe house in London. The blokes reach the door to Maggie's apartment just as Phoenix shoots her, to get rid of the last witness. The agents barge in, but Phoenix has disappeared again.

Back at the HQ, Malone and the lads go through the evidence, and are convinced they are hunting Phoenix. (see Plot inconsistnecies) They decide Phoenix must be on the run, and wait for his next move.

Phoenix shoots a guy in the street. He was a Macedonian diplomat, and as he was a Muslim, he is being flown back home to be buried within the same day. Chris is familiar with their customs.

Malone, Curtis and Keel lurk at the airport, looking at the coffin being loaded into the plane, convinced Phoenix is in there, but unable to do anything about it. (See plot inconsistencies) Back at the HQ, Backup gets a fax, and she immediately calls Malone. The fax apparently explains everything, and gives them a chance to do something.

They contact the air force (See Plot inconsistencies), and Phoenix's plane circles the airport until the passenger thinks he's in his destination. Sam even speaks Serbo-Croatioan (which is the name of the language, not Serbo-Croat Malone calls it) to keep Phoenix unsuspecting as they open the coffin.

Malone tells him they know who he is - the original Phoenix's son, who has done his best to look like his father - and tells him they're about to send him back to Libya, and the Libyans - who by now know that Somelson didn't die after all - will take care of him for them (they have no evidence against him, apparently, since all the witnesses are dead. I guess the blood is only circumstantial, then). When Phoenix starts babbling about justice, Sam hits him neatly back to the coffin.

Personal Comments

- Although technically impossible, the scene between Curtis and Keel in the crypt is lovely and emotional. I believe this was covered in the "slash" section, but don't you think Chris looks like he's about to kiss Sam after the explosion? And Sam says, "A simple thank you would do". And the whole discussion about frog legs - if that wasn't an invitation for a date, I don't know what is.

- Am I the only one who found Phoenix's voice and speech very, VERY annoying? I must fast-forward him, every time. I just can't take it.

- Sam's name tag says "Ross" when he's dressed as a cop. Bet you were just dying to learn that!:)

- And how did a chick with teeth like Somelson ever become a star? ...

- Chris is the one who remembers Novak's name, and Sam trusts him to do that.

- Sam and Chris joking about "Burke & Hare" sound like Bodie & Doyle from the original Professionals, banter I sometimes miss in the new series.

- Wolston chemicals? Didn't they have Wolston house in back to business?

Plot Inconsistencies

- NATO Intel forces in France? I have been told that France is notoriously reluctant to allow anyone else do stuff like this on their on territory. And they are more than capable of taking care of things on their own

- When Malone is explaining about the "going rate" to Backup, don't you think she ought to know stuff like that? It just seems like a clumsy way of telling the audience. Clemens does this a lot, most notably the explanation of Backup's name to Spencer in "Back to Business"

- Much has been written about Backup's "magic image enhancement" of the traffic control video, so I won't say more, just that---BLOODY IMPOSSIBLE

- The landmine Sam describes does actually exist, but personnel mines would be a LOT smaller. This little baby would have enough power in it to destroy a tank, much less the crypt.

- No human would be able to do what Sam does, throwing the mine

- If Phoenix's plane is intercepted in Britain's air space, why not use RAF? Where did the American Tomcats suddenly appear? I have been told this is very weird.

- How can the NATO intel troops and CI5 guys be so bad shooters? An ex-SEAL, and an ex-MI5 guy, for f's sake, and they wouldn't be able to hit a barn door - from the inside!

- Why is CI5 unable to do anything until they get that fax about Phoenix's identity? They have identified this man wearing this face as the killer - why did they have to wait to the fax to intercept the flight?

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