Professionals1 Professionals10 Professionals2 Professionals3 Professionals8 Professionals14 Professionals5 Professionals12 Professionals6 Professionals4 Professionals15 Professionals11 Professionals9 Professionals7 Professionals13
Full Name: The Professionals
Nationality: British
Organization: CI5
Occupation Agency

Creator: Brian Clemens
Time Span: 1977 - 1999


       The Professionals is a small British department tasked with fighting well-trained criminal and terrorist gangs.
       Officially designated Criminal Intelligence 5 (or CI5), the former head of MI5, George Cowley, was asked to head this organization. Seeing that the bureaucracy and territorialism that plagued the existing law enforcement agencies, he advocated a smallish group made of people who could operate anywhere without challenge. Knowing that to be successful, it would often have to act more "strenuously" against the opposition, it was agreed that this group would remain as secret as possible.
       While the use of the word "criminal" in the title of the department would correctly indicate that law-breakers, organized or otherwise, was the chief target of the group, it was decided from the inception that the line between those who broke the law for personal gain and those who did it for other reasons was often too fine to discern and many times "normal" crime was used to bankroll other illegal actions. For this reason, the types of opponents faced would range widely and often step into areas where Special Branch or MI-5 might operate.
       In addition to the forty-odd people that made up the intelligence collection and analysis portion of the bureau, Cowley had a handful of highly trained and deadly operatives to be the strike force needed when action was indicated. His two best operatives, working as a pair that did not always see eye to eye, were Ray Doyle and William Bodie.
       Cowley was an old veteran of the Cold War as well as police work. He had spent nearly four decades fighting terrorists, assassins, militarist groups, hate gangs, and the like. He was a bristly as he was steely and those that stood in his way when he had a mission learned it was not a wise maneuver.
       Doyle had been a detective constable in the harsh streets of the rougher parts of London. Often working undercover, he knew what it was like to be totally on his own and sometimes working with a partner was a strain for him. He was used to doing things his way, alone, and didn't like being told how to do something.
       Bodie was a decorated, highly experienced member of the British SAS and believed in discipline in all parts of his life - strict adherence to order and procedure had kept him alive for numerous campaigns and while he was able to work on his own if needed, he preferred regimen and being part of a team.


Number of Books:15
First Appearance:1978
Last Appearance:1982

1 Where The Jungle Ends Where The Jungle Ends
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1978

Novelization of 4 Season One episodes:
1) Old Dog With New Tricks, by Brian Clemens: A gangster kidnaps Crowley to free his brother from prison.
2) Long Shot, by Anthony Read: Cowley saves an American diplomat from a ruthless assassin but is certain another attack is coming.
3) Where The Jungle Ends, by Brian Clemens: Bodie learns former comrades have joined together but this time to rob a bank.
4) Killer With A Long Arm, by Brian Clemens: CI5 learns of a rifle that can kill from 2 miles but who the target is remains unknown.

2 Long Shot Long Shot
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1978

Novelization of 4 Season One episodes.
1) Heroes, by James McAteer: the names of witnesses to an assassination are disclosed and CI5 must protect them while going after the killers.
2) Private Madness, Public Danger, by Anthony Read: a crazed chemist is determined to destroy London's water and likes to demonstrate his plans.
3) The Female Factor, by Brian Clemens: a foreign agent is extorting classified information from a man who might soon be the new PM.
4) Everest Was Also Conquered, by Brian Clemens: CI5 is asked to show a suicide of a prosecution witness was really murder but the witnesses keep dying.

3 Stake Out Stake Out
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1978

Novelization of 3 Season One episodes.
1) Stakeout, by Dennis Spooner: The killing of a fellow CI5 agent leads to a case involving plutonium poisoning.
2) When The Heat Cools Off, by Brian Clemens: Doyle agrees to help a young woman proved her father's innocence but his motives are questioned.
3) Close Quarters, by Brian Clemens: Bodie captures a terrorist leader but is injured and he and his girl friend must fend off the rest of the gang.

4 Hunter Hunted Hunter Hunted
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1978

Novelization of 3 Season Two episodes.
1) Hunter Hunted, by Anthony Read: Doyle is asked to test a new hi-tech rifle but it is stolen and he is the target.
2) The Rack, by Brian Clemens: the death of a suspect has Doyle pegged as the killer and demands are made for CI5 to be shut down.
3) First Night, by Gerry O'Hara: the kidnapping of an Israeli minister brings in CI5 to find him.

5 Blind Run Blind Run
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1979

Novelization of 3 Season Two episodes.
1) Man Without A Past, by Martin Campbell: Someone put a bomb under Bodie's table and kill several innocents.
2) In The Public Interest, by Brian Clemens: a city is turned into a police state by a Chief Constable.
3) Blind Run, by Ranald Graham: it is escort duty for the two operatives but assassins are on their way.

6 Fall Girl Fall Girl
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1979

Novelization of 3 Season Two episodes.
1) Fall Girl, by Ranald Graham: Bodie's old girlfriend gets him mixed up in an assassination plot and wanted by MI6 and CI5.
2) Not A Very Civil Civil Servant, by Edmund Ward: Houses in a council estate are falling down and CI5 looks into it.
3) A Stirring Of Dust, by Don Houghton: A British traitor is coming home and there are several who want him dead.

7 Hiding To Nothing Hiding To Nothing
Written by
Copyright: 1980

Novelization of 3 Season 3 episodes.
1) Hiding To Nothing, by Ted Childs: A Palestinian leader is targeted by his own people for talking peace.
2) Stopover, by John Goldsmith: A friend of Cowley comes for protection, offering the name of a double agent.
3) Runner, by Michael Feeny Callan: Street warfare is brewing between rival gangs but one of the leaders has his own agenda.

8 Dead Reckoning Dead Reckoning
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1980

Novelization of 1 Season 3 and 2 Season 4 episodes:
1) Dead Reckoning, by Philip Loraine: A spy is being extradited to Britain in secret but the info is leaked.
2) Mixed Doubles, by Brian Clemens: Bodie and Doyle get special training to protect a foreigner even as two others are trained to kill him.
3) Need To Know, by Brian Clemens: the arrest of a friend of Cowley casts a bad light on the CI5 head.

9 No Stone No Stone
Written by Robert Holdstock
Copyright: 1981

Novelization of 2 Season 5 episodes:
1) No Stone, by Roger Marshall: A young and wealthy British female turns terrorist.
2) A Man Called Quinn, by Tony Barwick: A former Intelligence operative, driven insane by Soviet torture, is out to kill his old colleagues.

10 Cry Wolf Cry Wolf
Written by Robert Holdstock
Copyright: 1981

Novelization of 2 Season 5 episodes.
1) Cry Wolf, by Paul Wheeler: Police think a young woman claiming she is being stalked is a fake but CI5 think otherwise.
2) Lawson's Last Stand, by Ranald Graham: NATO secrets go missing along with a high ranking Army officer who is a bit untouched.

11 Spy Probe Spy Probe
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1981

Novelization of 1 Season 5 and 1 Season 3 episodes.
1) Spy Probe, by Tony Barwick: Bodie and Doyle go undercover to join a group training people to kill ordinary citizens.
2) The Madness Of Mickey Hamilton, by Chris Wicking: A hospital mistake destroys a man's family and he is out for revenge by killing its staff.

12 Foxhole Foxhole
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1982

Novelization of 2 Season 5 episodes.
1) Foxhole On The Roof, by Brian Clemens: just out of prison, a convict hold a hospital staff hostage for a sizeable ransom.
2) The Ojuka Situation, by Dave Humphries: A deposed African leader is mounting a comeback and CI5 is charged with protecting him.

13 The Untouchables The Untouchables
Written by Robert Holdstock
Copyright: 1982

Novelization of 1 Season 5 episode.
1) The Untouchables, by Brian Clemens: Bodie's gambling debts are being paid off by a foreign diplomat in exchange for CI5 secrets.

14 Operation Susie Operation Susie
Written by Robert Holdstock
Copyright: 1982

Novelization of 1 Season 5 episode.
1) Operation Susie, by Ranald Graham: A group of students making a side living as drug dealers is being eliminated by the government.

15 You'll Be All Right You'll Be All Right
Written by Kenneth Bulmer
Copyright: 1982

Novelization of 2 Season 5 episodes.
1) You'll Be All Right, by Gerry O'Hara: An underworld leader agrees to surrender if CI5 will protect his family.
2) Discovered In A Graveyard, by Chris Wicking: While investigating a bombing, Doyle is shot and lingers between life and death.


Number of Episodes:70
First Appearance:1977
Last Appearance:1999


       In late December, 1977, on the British independent network ITV, the television action drama The Professionals first aired. It was the brain child of producers Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell. The two had already worked together to bring The New Avengers to the small screen but they were nervous with the prospects of that project and were happy to have something else in the works.
       Three accomplished British actors were picked to portray the lead characters. While some may or may not have been the first choices of the producers, the chemistry of the final group was quite good and show lasted four seasons for a total of 57 episodes.
       Cowley was played by the terrific gravel-voiced Gordon Jackson, a man who had had a long career playing both good guys and bad, snivelling worms and tough-as-nails he-men. Martin Shaw was the man to take the role of Doyle. He had been on the stage and on television for over a decade. To play Bodie, Lewis Collins was chosen. Though his time in front of the camera or an audience was considerably less than the other two, he more than held his own in the role.
       The series was popular with both men and women for its action, its characters, and its subject matter. It was also extremely unpopular with most critics and anti-violence groups because of its very frequent use of fighting, gun-play, explosions, and so on. The series kept the showing of bloodshed to an almost non-existent minimum but there was no masking the brutality of the conflicts. Perhaps even more vitriolic was the hatred a few but very loud people had for the politically incorrectness of the episodes.

       In 1999, a revival of sorts of the series was aired. CI5: The New Professionals ran 13 episodes. In it, the head of the organization, Harry Malone, was another veteran actor, Edward Woodward, of Callan and The Equalizer fame. In this version there were three operatives: Sam Curtis (Colin Wells), Chris Keel (Kal Weber), and Tina Backus (Lexa Doig).

Note: Much of the information contained in this report came from the terrific website dedicated to the series: Dave Matthews Presents The Authorized Guide To The Professionals. It is well worth the time.


       I had just been stationed in Scotland in 1978 when I discovered this action-packed series. Already being a huge fan of spy and action adventures, as well as a die-hard Gordon Jackson fan, I was hooked immediately and stayed with the group for as long as I lived there, sadly missing the final season when I returned to the states.
       Like any other red-blooded male of the time, I had been a huge follower of Brian Clemens' previous spy series, The Avengers and even enjoyed, though not as much, the second series (The New Avengers) [Who could not love Joanna Lumley as the delectable and kick-butt Purdey?]. While I did not know the pedigree of this new crime/spy series, I knew instantly that I liked it. To me it was a Starsky & Hutch take on spies and terrorists, just without the comic relief of 'Huggy Bear'.

       The books that came out during the run of the series were interesting takes on novelizations. The highly skilled and experience writer, Kenneth Bulmer, started the written works by taking four episodes from the show and melding them into one complete novel. He added small touches here and there but could not change the characters nor add much to the mythos but he nevertheless did a good job.
       This melding of episodes continued for many more books though the number of episodes tossed in grew less.


My Grade: B


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