Colin Wells (Spooks)

Colin Wells (Spooks)
Colin Wells
Spooks character
Spooks character Colin Wells.jpg
Rory MacGregor as Colin Wells
First appearance Series 1, Episode 2
Last appearance Series 5, Episode 1
Portrayed by Rory MacGregor
Gender Male
Occupation Technician and Data Analyst, Section D

Colin Wells is a fictional character appearing in the BBC spy drama Spooks, known in the United States as MI-5. He is a technical officer of Section D, the counterterrorism unit of MI5, and appears regularly from the second episode of series 1 ("Looking After Our Own") until the first episode of series 5, when he is murdered by corrupt MI6 agents. Colin was played by British actor Rory MacGregor from 2002 until MacGregor left the series in 2006.[1]

According to the fictional Spooks: Harry's Diary, Colin Wells joined Section D before December 1999.[2] The BBC's Spooks website characterizes Colin as a technical wizard, a master in the use of "all the gadgets and tools of his trade," and notes that he is "also known as the geek"[3] (although by whom he is so known is not specified). After the character's introduction in series 1 his appearances become more frequent, and he plays an instrumental role in building on-screen chemistry within the team. While Colin's private life is not explored, he is shown to have great camaraderie with his older colleague and fellow technician Malcolm Wynn-Jones. Like Malcolm, Colin works primarily on "The Grid," Section D's offices in Thames House, rather than in the field, with the exception of occasions when he participates in surveillance activities such as bugging rooms or manning a surveillance van.[4]

The last episode in which the character appears ("Gas and Oil, Part 1") opens with London subject to a series of acts of terrorism. A gas and oil depot has been attacked, several people have died from a mysterious infection, and rumors of biological warfare are rampant. With the government under pressure to pass antiterrorist measures that erase civil liberties, the prime minister's Special Policy Advisor—an important voice of moderation—is murdered. Harry Pearce, head of Section D, learns that MI6 knew about the impending terrorist attack but ignored the intelligence. Harry suspects that his MI6 counterpart, Michael Collingwood, is involved in a conspiracy to bring about a virtual overthrow of the government, and he orders a careful watch on Collingwood's agents. Colin, alone in an MI5 van, is conducting surveillance when he is accosted by two of Collingwood's agents and driven to a lonely wooded area. He tries to run from his captors but is no match for them. The final words he is heard to speak are, "I'm not strong enough to fight you. I was never any good at this running and jumping thing. . . . Just get on with whatever it is you’re going to do to me, because I might be smaller and weaker than you, you can hurt me, but you won’t humiliate me.” Soon thereafter, viewers see Colin hanged from a tree.[5] The music soundtrack to series 5, by Paul Leonard-Morgan, includes a track titled "Hanging Colin."[6]

After a phone call notifies Harry of Colin's death, the team, visibly shaken, gathers off the Grid to discuss strategy. Malcolm is distraught at the suggestion that for the time being they must not retaliate for Colin's murder, declaring, "He wasn’t just some geek who did crossword puzzles, he was my bloody best friend!”[5]

At the end of Part 2 of "Gas and Oil," after the conspiracy has been foiled, Malcolm asks Harry if he will do a reading at Colin's memorial service. Malcolm notes that Colin's favourite book had been The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but as it doesn't suit the occasion, he recites a line from Walt Whitman's elegy "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd": "Comrades mine and I in the midst, and their memory ever to keep, for the dead I loved so well."[7] Harry agrees that this would be perfect.[8]

A poll issued in January 2010 by the entertainment website LastBroadcast asked viewers to vote for the Spooks character with "the most shocking death scene"; over the course of the eight series that had by then been broadcast, nine employees of Section D had met violent ends. Colin Wells's death by hanging in series 5, episode 1 was voted second only to the death of Helen Flynn in series 1, episode 2.[9]


  1. ^ Riley, Joe (March 31, 2006). "Cardboard Citizens, Everyman Theatre". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  2. ^ Kudos. Spooks: Harry's Diary. London: Headline Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7553-3398-1. 
  3. ^ BBC Spooks Personnel: Colin Wells,
  4. ^ For example, in series 1, episode 3, One Last Dance; Rob Bailey (director), Simon Mirren (writer), BBC; broadcast by BBC One 27 May 2002, and in series 4, episode 7, Syria; Omar Madha (director), Raymond Khoury (writer), BBC; broadcast by BBC One 13 December 2004.
  5. ^ a b "Gas and Oil (Part 1)". Omar Madha (director); Ben Richards (writer). Spooks. BBC. BBC One. 17 December 2006. No. 1, series 5.
  6. ^ ITunes Preview, Spooks Series 5 & 6.  By Paul Leonard-Morgan.
  7. ^ The line occurs in the final stanza. See for the full poem.
  8. ^ "Gas and Oil (Part 2)". Omar Madha (director); Ben Richards (writer). Spooks. BBC. BBC One. 18 December 2006. No. 2, series 5.
  9. ^ "Spooks - Most Shocking Death Scene". LastBroadcast. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 

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