And so things start to come to a head. Allison is visited by someone from her past who may have connections that we haven’t really suspected up till now; Rachel is pushed beyond her limits (but is she being helped across the line?); Gilmore is caught in the crossfire; and Sir Toby discovers the nastier side of the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf (or in his case The Knight of the Realm Who Protested His Innocence – a great moment for Hugh Ross).
I’m really hoping that John Dorney is being disingenuous in the CD extras when he indicates that the powers that be haven’t worked out the resolution of this story in detail (there are too many other comments about the arc of Series 3 and 4 for this really to be plausible), although he certainly does write himself into a corner. The stand-off between Rachel and Gilmore gives Pamela Salem and Simon Williams some real meat, and the last scene is beautifully played by Karen Gledhill and [redacted]. In common with many other people – not least Karen Gledhill! – I can’t wait for the next set to find out what happens.
Sending the team into East Berlin is handled well, with nods to both the fictional versions of that time and the rather grimier reality. Photos looking east from the Brandenburg Gate from that period show just what condition East Germany was really in, and Dorney, director Ken Bentley and sound designer Toby Robinson bring that to life. The paranoia and danger that was part of Berliners’ everyday life, particularly after the Wall was erected (even if at this stage, it wasn’t quite the terrifying monolithic structure that it later became), are a great backdrop for drama, and I hope that we’re going to pick up pretty much straightaway so we can see how those left behind are treated.
The danger with long-running series is that they can become stale, and credit to David Richardson and the team for shaking things up considerably in this set – and from the hints, the next one too. There are a number of loose ends still to be tied up but this is the season which really sets Counter-Measures apart from its Big Finish stable mates, and moves it into new territory.
(P.S. For those listening to the CD extras and wondering about the Simon Williams interview Ken Bentley refers to, it can be read here.)
Verdict: A taut, tense tale of treachery, triple-crossing and terror. 9/10