‘Spy’: Episode 2 review

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It’s only his first day on the job and already Tim’s covert career is colliding with his home life, in the second episode of Sky1’s excellent new comedy, Spy.

One episode in and it’s apparent that loveable Tim’s (Darren Boyd) most difficult mission isn’t to do well at his job or keep his spy identity secret, it’s to try and be a good dad. That task isn’t made easy this week, as thanks to a botched training exercise and a smoke grenade, everyone thinks Tim has saved a homeless man. Thrust into the spotlight as a hero, he ends up taking Jarek the tramp into his own home, all so he can continue to keep his work as a spy a secret from his family.

As with last week’s opening instalment, don’t expect much spying to get done. So far Spy has as much to do with spying as Dad’s Army did with armed combat, but that’s meant as an entirely positive observation – the best jokes are character-based rather than reliant on the set-up, and Spy puts its array of wonderful characters to good use, with dialogue as sharp as Rosa Klebb’s knifey-shoe.

Fans of Robert Lindsay’s Examiner (and aren’t we all now?), will be pleased to see a bit more of him this week. Commanding every scene he’s in, the Examiner’s at his best and most deranged during a weapons briefing, taking far too great a delight in the array of arsenal on offer. The first rule of weaponry according to him? Have fun. Watching him handle a Taser with child-like glee, you can’t help but agree.

Tim’s son Marcus proves himself to be even more of a mini-Machiavelli than he first appeared, working the situation with Jarek the tramp to his advantage at every turn. But every time you think he’s maybe a little too adult for his school shoes there’ll be a hilarious reminder that he’s still just a kid at heart, such as announcing he’s off to watch Hannah Montana after a wonderfully quick-fire negotiation scene with acerbic IT man Chris.

The only character who hasn’t yet made much of an impression is Caitlin (Rebekah Staton), who, if you hadn’t guessed already, is clearly being positioned as Tim’s love interest. Staton is an underrated comic talent and it’d be a shame to see her go to waste.

It’s not a perfect episode and there are a couple of niggling things that disrupt the pace; the subplot involving counsellor Paula’s obsession with Tim seems a bit superfluous, and the second appearance of talk show host Martin Clacy feels like a quick way to wrap up the episode and deal a final bout of embarrassment to Tim.

But those are very minor quibbles. Spy is already looking like one of the most likeable and witty British comedies in recent years, and everything suggests that’s set to continue.

Aired at 8.30pm on Friday 21st October 2011 on Sky1.


> Buy Series 1 of Spy on DVD on Amazon.

What do you think of Spy so far? Let us know below…