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Bodie and Doyle, top agents for Britain's CI5 (Criminal Intelligence 5), and their controller, George Cowley fight terrorism and similar high-profile crimes. Cowley, a hard ex-MI5 operative, hand-picked each of his men. Bodie was a cynical ex-SAS paratrooper and mercenary whose nature ran to controlled violence, while his partner, Doyle, came to CI5 from the regular police force, and was more of an open minded liberal. Their relationship was often contentious, but they were the top men in their field, and the ones to whom Cowley always assigned to the toughest cases.
This series was the forerunner for the Die Hard/Lethal Weapon series of movies that were so popular in the 1980s. The Professionals defined the genre with its realistic settings and totally unsympathetic villains (terrorists for the most part). The bad guys were so awful, so deranged, so cruel that the audience could forgive the ruthless violence used against them by the Professionals. After seeing The Professionals, James Bond films seemed too glamorous and fanciful.
I wasn't even born when this show was first shown on British TV in the late 70's. It was created by Brian Clemens, was a follow-up to a cop show called The Sweeney and starred Gordon Jackson as George Cowley, Lewis Collins as Bodie and Martin Shaw (who hated the show and his character) as Ray Doyle, working for a spy agency called CI5.<br/><br/>Violent, sexist and very politically incorrect, The Professionals was just good fun and it knew how daft it was. Basically an episode would go like this: Bad guy of episode shows up, usually foreign and he was a hitman, terrorist, spy or something like that. He would commit a crime and then the main titles which still impress would come on backed by the great theme tune. Bodie and Doyle would be given the case by Cowley, and then there would be 45 minutes of fights and car chases (in their Ford Capris) which ended with the bad guy dying in an explosion.<br/><br/>The plots were interesting and there were a lot of good ideas from the writers. After the show ended there were lots of pretty awful follow-up shows like Dempsey and Makepeace and Bergerac and have mostly been forgotten. Although The Professionals is not often seen on TV nowadays it's a cult classic, and way better than any of the stuff they put on nowadays.
Yes, 'Hijack' where a consigment of East German silver is stolen was based on a real robbery in the early 80s. The character of Krivas in 'Where the Jungle Ends' is based on Costas Geirgiou, a notorious Greek-Cypriot mercenary from the Angolan civil war. The ' group in 'At Close Quarters' is clearly based on the German Baader Meinhoff terrorist group (also known as the 'Red Army Faction') and the assassins in 'Long Shot' and 'Mixed Doubles' are extremely similar to infamous international terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez aka Carlos the Jackal. <br/><br/> Jon Finch was originally cast as Doyle but withdrew at the last moment as he did not wish to play an ex-police officer (ironically Finch was a former member of The Parachute Regiment and SAS, mirroring Bodie's background perfectly). He was replaced by Martin Shaw but when filming began the series' creator Brian Clemens felt that Anthony Andrews playing Bodie lacked chemistry with Shaw and that the two looked too similar. Andrews was dropped and replaced with Lewis Collins who had appeared together with Shaw in an episode of Clemen's previous series, The New Avengers.
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