The New Counter-Measures: Who Killed Toby Kinsella?

Posted in Audio by - February 22, 2018
The New Counter-Measures: Who Killed Toby Kinsella?

Released July 2016
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

The fourth and final series of the initial iteration of Counter-Measures ended in momentous fashion with Group Captain Gilmore, Professor Rachel Jensen, and Dr Allison Williams seemingly dead and Sir Toby Kinsella unwilling to recognise or acknowledge even a fleeting association with those individuals or their covert group and operations. Ten years later at Christmas of 1973 in a Britain suffering from power cuts, oil crises, and three-day weeks, Sir Toby has been found dead, bringing his erstwhile colleagues out of their hidden lives and exposing a threat to international diplomacy that both reintroduces and reinvents the franchise to remarkable effect.

The New Counter-Measures: Who Killed Toby Kinsella? begins with the aply-titled ‘Who Killed Toby Kinsella?’ by John Dorney, allowing a brief reintroduction of Hugh Ross’s furtive and sometimes-amoral hero before he is killed while seemingly trying to protect the visiting Middle Eastern Prince Hassan Al-Nadyr from an assassination attempt at the opera. As the three remaining members of Counter-Measures come out of hiding to attend the sparsely-attended funeral and pay their respects while reminscing about times past, in the process twice coming upon MI5 operative Overton who believes another assassination is imminent and thus lending a lending a larger and more palpable scale to events, further details begin to emerge about Sir Toby’s recent past, painting him in a very heroic light as he has seemingly continued a one-man hunt against the remaining members of the Light who continue to operate from the shadows despite the destruction the their Starfire project. Though he had remained in contact with Gilmore, he had been so successful in his aims that Counter-Measures as a group has all but been forgotten and his trip to the opera was intended to be a final-strike opportunity given his intelligence reconaissance.

‘Who Killed Toby Kinsella?’ strikes a fine balance between looking to the past as the leads reunite for the first time in a decade and developing the intriguing mystery at hand. When a professed close confidant of Sir Toby’s, a man named Routledge, comes up to the leads at the funeral with full knowledge of their previous exploits, the danger becomes ever more personal and imminent when the group suddenly finds itself under attack at an improvised wake. Ian Lindsay is incredibly effective in this friendly role, maintaining a slight air of mystery as he refuses to divulge all of the facts he clearly knows but unfalteringly working on the side of good as he further apprises the team of Toby’s exploits and how the matter at hand stretches back to his University days, heroically choosing to possibly sacrifice his life to ensure their good work and investigations continue unfettered. And although the notion of actions already being set in place that Sir Toby’s death have triggered is perfectly in line with the character, the personal connection of the story’s very dangerous antagonist to the fallen hero sets the scene for a well-rounded and well-developed villainous presence to further confound the newly-reunited team that has made protecting the Prince their top priority.

‘The Dead Don’t Rise’ by Ken Bentley closes out this special release with a tense thriller, and the focus on the rogue Counter-Measures members striving to save one life that is so intertwined with Sir Toby’s from the deadly intent of another recaptures the perfect balance of scale and intimacy that the first several series of the original Counter-Measures incarnation achieved so well, especially once the intent to rekindle the Cold War is revealed. Justin Avoth excels as Mikhail throughout the two stories and gives a poignantly emotional and impactful performace as the harrowing past his character endured and the curse he bears as a lasting reminder are slowly revealed. His willingness to kill and thirst for revenge are fitting counterpoints to the eponymous heroes Toby has since surrounded himself with who kill only when absolutely necessary, and the very deliberate pacing that Bentley takes to expose Mikhail’s motivations works wondrously to maintain a distinct air of mystery and danger while also cultivating a small sense of empathy for this misguided and mistreated individual.

This range has excelled from the start in presenting engaging conspiracy thrillers, and ‘The Dead Don’t Rise’ as a conclusion is unquestionably amongst the very best and most satisfyingly layered, using the haunting spectre of Sir Toby and his past deeds to magnificent effect. Surprisingly, given the immense amount of action and emotion on display, Bentley still affords the conclusion and denouement plenty of time to breathe and develop for maximum impact as the true extent of Sir Toby’s cunning and foresight is revealed and the news of his death is proven to be exaggerated. This revelation is the perfect culmination of all of the shadowy characterisation that has gone into this figure over the previous years and definitively proves that his ultimate motivations have always included the common good on top of what may initially just seem to be the best for himself.

Transitioning the series ten years into the future with the team coming out of hiding to eventually reform with the blessing of the establishment once more was an ambitious decision, but The New Counter-Measures: Who Killed Toby Kinsella? proves just how successful these nuanced characters can be within this familiar but ultimately wholly different atmosphere than the 1960s laden in Cold War paranoia and excels as a linking bridge between the two distinct incarnations of the series. While it is true that this new setting is used somewhat superficially here because of the intense focus on the characters and the personal mysteries and dangers surrounding them, the characterisation, performances, direction, and sound design are as elegant and impactful as ever. Indeed, this new time frame brings the characters more vocally in line with the lead actors’ true age, only further enhancing the verisimilitude and immersiveness, and Simon Williams, Pamela Salem, Karen Gledhill, and Hugh Ross all spectacularly rise to the occasion for this monumental release and lead the range into a bold new era.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.