Circles of Deceit
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Former special-forces operative John Neil (Dennis Waterman, New Tricks, The Sweeney) remains on call for the brass at Britain’s security services. Whether taking on Irish terrorists, tracking down professional assassins, or pitting his wits against ruthless drug dealers, the ex-SAS man harbors no illusions about the work he’s doing—or the people he serves. He faces down deadly adversaries as well as devious bosses who keep him on a need-to-know basis, forcing Neil to rely on his instincts and his training in a world of betrayal, danger, and deceit.
Top British actors guest star in these four feature-length dramas, including Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius), John Hannah (The Mummy), Peter Vaughan (The Remains of the Day), Kate Buffery (Trial & Retribution), Clare Higgins (Silent Witness), and Leo McKern (Rumpole of the Bailey).
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Episode 2: A retired Russian spy (Leo McKern, Rumpole of the Bailey) contacts the Brits offering to sell secrets. He offers up a sleeper cell who lead Neil back to renegade IRA terrorists threatening the Prime Minister.
Episode 3: Neil follows a bank trader (John Hannah, The Mummy, McCallam) to a nest of former army renegades protesting that drug running or money laundering is a job for the police. His boss keeps reminding him he's investigating the death of an army officer and as a former SAS operative this is their business. What's really going on?
Episoe 4: On another "need to know" assingment where he doesn't need to know his boss is manipulating politions, Neil is sent to contact his old army chum whose mixed up in blackmail. When he turns up dead, Neil decides this is not police business, but he's overruled by his boss. Neil again feels guilty because now his friend is dead after his visit which reactivates the guilt he feels over the death of his wife and son. Neils not very good at following orders.
If you liked MI5 and/or Murphy's Law this is for you. I suspect it's filmed in Belfast because, despite the stellar British actors, I recognized the pub where Neil and his handler meet as the 19th century pub in Belfast near Queen's university. The supporting cast is made up of great British actors whose faces will be familiar even if you can't remember their names.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The equivalent of 4 films, each story is a different mix of plots, with Neil often left to his own instinct for survival when his leaders have decided he is expendable. But this is one spy with a conscience, with spirit, with a nightmare past, but also with a heart for compassion and love. Plenty of action too. A reminder of good intrigue comparable to another British series "A Mind to Kill" but without as much blood.
All 4 episodes average 98 minutes and do have SUBTITLES. Many big guest stars in key roles.
1 THE WOLVES ARE HOWLING takes place in Belfast as the John goes undercover to discover arms information connected to the IRA. He also finds a connecting romantic interest. Neil is haunted by the violent terrorist-caused death of his wife and young son, mental anguish that will carry on in all 4 episodes. Randal (Derek Jacobi-Cadfael) is his handler on the case. Liam McAuley (Peter Vaughn-`Lorna Doone' `Bleak House') a sort of IRA Godfather is Neil's target, but daughter Eilish (Clare Higgins-`Hellraiser' `Pride & Prejudice') catches Neil's heart. Suspenseful, emotional, catastrophic finish.
2 SLEEPING DOGS finds ex-agents in the UK with secrets and willingness to sell. One ex-KGB, Petrov (Leo McKern-`Rumpole') find more than just Neil with buying interest. Petrov has Rumpole mannerisms with a Russian accent and still drinking. Susan Jameson (`New Tricks' `The Queen' & reader for many Catherine Cookson audio books) has taken the role of Neil's handler, now called controller, and will keep the position for the final 3 episodes. Neil's investigation becomes a life & death market. Again Neil uses a female relationship to get inside the cell of aging spies in a North Yorkshire setting. Annie (Frances Barber-`Real Women') recognizes Neil's grief over his past family. She also provides brief nudity.
3 KALON has Neil sent to find a Persian Gulf spy's killer. Capt. Baker (Saskia Wickham-`Blue Murder' `Demons') was lover to the murdered man. Neil gets attracted to her while searching London's banking world as well as drug and money laundering paths. Neil's instructed to find answers at all costs. Banker Rylans (Simon Cadell-`Enemy at the Door') is in over his head, as is his gofer, Sturden (John Hannah-Batiatus of `Spartacus'). Susan Jameson is as ruthless a controller as in the previous episode. What would make London financiers turn assassins? What sickness came from that Desert Gulf sand?
4 DARK SECRET originally aired as #2; the 2 episodes are switched on the DVD with no problem to the stories. Neil's SAS pal has become lawless. Neil is to find him and investigate. Pal & Pvt. James Caine (Shawn McGinley-`Republic of Doyle' `Bleak House') has a friend Kate (Kate Buffery-`Wish Me Luck' `Trial & Retribution' both excellent) who finds herself between the 2 friends. Parliament Minister Simmons (Corin Redgrave-`Foyle's War' `Forsyte Saga' `Four Weddings and a Funeral') has a secret and is blackmailed. Neil never seems to learn that thanks to his controller (Susan Jameson) he is never privy to the entire plan & Dark Secret is not different. Off to Leeds including a topless bar scene (brief nudity warning.)
Heavy on suspense and plot rather than explosive murder and mayhem and bloody scenes. An intellectual spy vs. spy DVD. If you like period spy DVD, look at "Wish Me Luck" where women join the military spies of WWII.
I only logged on to see if more sessions, and will always get this series as soon as more come out.
It was with a dash of sadness that I realized this is the first set on DVD in N. America.
The first reviewer did a fine job as I skimmed his review.
This is a spy drama that is addicting, touching, romantic in a way both genders should enjoy, fascinating and with quality stories that grab you. The actors and all involved should be praised for such a gift.