The Professionals was a British TV Action Series made from 1977 to 1983. The show follows the adventures of Criminal Intelligence 5 (CI5) agents William Bodie, Ray Doyle, and their boss George Cowley. CI5 deals with serious crime beyond the capacity of the police, and are authorized to use any means (including illegal ones) to do so. Being a typical show of the times, much of the action centres around girls, guns, car chases, and drinking. It was a major inspiration of the Japanese manga Appleseed and its sequels, such as Ghost in the Shell.There was a Revival (CI5: The New Professionals in 1999), which wasn't warmly received. To put it politely.It's rumoured that there's a remake being made, prompting a collective Big "NO!" from the fandom. The good news is that as of July 2013 the original series is undergoing its first ever HD remastering, in preparation for a new DVD and Blu-ray release.The main characters:
Banned Episode: In the episode "Klansmen," Bodie's life is saved by a black doctor despite his racist abuse, while members of white supremacy organisations are portrayed as ignorant thugs being manipulated by right-wing politicians and crooked businessmen for their own ends. The episode is banned in Britain for its violence and racist content.
Cold War: The protagonists regularly had brushes with the KGB and other Eastern European intelligence agencies.
Cool Car: Bodie and Doyle’s Ford Capris (used in the later episodes) qualify, and are part of the reason for the Capri's real-life cult status. In early episodes they drove a Triumph TR7, which was either cool or naff depending on your tolerance for mid-70s wedgy styling.
Doyle's scruffy suit jacket/jeans combo and Bodie's leather jackets took about awhile to become their standard looks. They both wore all kinds of weird seventies fashions in early episodes.
They also initally drive a Triumph TR7, before settling into the iconic Ford Capri.
A few early episodes have a strange title sequence that seems to feature Cowley getting the lads to do some kind of fitness test. A few other episodes have Cowley doing a voiceover ("anarchy, terror...") over the more familar and far cooler title sequence with the car bursting through a window.
Their call signs are inconsistent at first, before settling into the famous 3.7 for Bodie and 4.5 for Doyle.
Evil Counterpart: In "Mixed Doubles" Bodie and Doyle undergo special training with a brutal instructor in order to protect a foreign diplomat. At the same time we follow two men undergoing a similar program, who are planning his assasination. The two teams don't share a Not So Different moment (though they do help each other out during a pub brawl) but it's certainly implied.
Cowley has these too, who make it clear they envy his power, but who would clearly abuse it. These include Chief Constable Green from "In the Public Interest", and a blackshirt leader (an old war buddy of Cowley) in "Look After Annie".
Doyle(a) has earned the right to be rude to him and (b) never gets hysterical enough to need a slap.
Girl of the Week: Bodie and Doyle never have the same girl for more than one episode. Generally, if the girl is blonde she'll be dumb and annoying. If she's brunette, she will be mildly intelligent, but still in need of looking after. Most notable Girls of the Week are Ann in "Involvement" (Doyle's girlfriend) and Marikka in "Fall Girl" (Bodie's girlfriend).
Improbable Age: Bodie seems a bit young to have been in the merchant navy, a mercenary, a paratrooper, an SAS soldier AND been in CI5 for several years. (Doyle's background as a police constable is rather more believable.)
Judge, Jury, and Executioner: CI5 use exactly the kind of tactics condemned by Royal Commissions into police misconduct, but it's OK because they only use them against bad people. Their limits are best lampshaded in the episode "In the Public Interest" where Bodie and Doyle investigate a town where the police are cracking down on crime and "immoral behaviour" by extralegal means, such as planting evidence and roughing up members of a gay support group. Bodie and Doyle eventually gain evidence of the latter, and when the main culprit decides to murder them to avoid prison, another officer steps in and arrests him, as murder is going too far.
Laser Sight: The intimidation factor of a "laser-lock" sight (at the time a cutting-edge technology) is a major theme in the episode "Hunter/Hunted".
Last Name Basis: Bodie is always Bodie — never William, Bill, etc. We only know it because his full name was stated once, in "The Rack".
Missing Episode: "Klansmen" has to this day never been shown on British terrestrial television, and only once on cable television in 1997 (in a bizarre aversion of the No Export for You trope, it has been shown in other countries).
Manly Tears: When Bodie is knifed in "Klansmen", Ray weeps openly as he walks beside Bodie's hospital gurney.
The Laws and Customs of War: In "Mixed Doubles" both good guys and bad guys debate whether to use dum-dum bullets, despite the fact that the Hague Convention doesn't apply to civilian law enforcement.
Mr. Fanservice: In it's initial run, young women generally fancied one of Bodie and Doyle.
Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: One episode centred around a gun used in a crime being dumped in the prop bin of a theatre company.
Odd Couple: Hot-headed idealist Doyle versus cold-blooded Bodie.
Cowley: "You hear me Mr Sutton? Names. A name. I don't suppose you fought in the war, Mr Sutton. No. I fought in several. The worst was against a... a barbaric race. But the British are nothing if not adaptable. We learned barbarism very quickly. We had a problem one day. Was the road ahead mined? We had prisoners but they wouldn't talk. So we bound them and made them lead the advance. They didn't think we would, not at first. But then the first man ahead was gone. Like that. An antipersonnel mine is a very nasty thing, Mr Sutton, very nasty. And then the second man. And the third. And then they talked. Then they knew we meant it. A shocking story. It shocked me at the time and it still shocks me. But it was necessary to save hundreds of lives, it was necessary. I'm willing to be shocked again if necessary. I'm going to hoist you with your own petard, Mr Sutton. I'm going to turn you into an addict. A crash course in addiction because we have access to the purest stuff. A craving, crawling do-anything-for-money junkie. Look at me Sutton. Look at me! Remember the road that was mined. Do you have any doubt at all that I intend doing what I say?"
Porn Stache: Fortunately not worn by any of the main characters, but regularly seen on guest characters. And not always villains, either.
Pretty in Mink: In "The Female Factor", the location of a dead prostitute's mink coat is a clue.
Product Placement: The Cars — British Leyland for half the first season, Ford for the rest of the show. It worked for Ford, less so for BL.
The Seventies: Polyester suits! Wide ties! Brown coloured everything! Perms and afros! Sideburns! Disco!
'70s Hair: Doyle's perm, which kind of looks like it's supposed to be a white guy version of an afro. (Luckily for Lewis Collins, Bodie just has a sensible short back and sides, presumably because Bodie is an ex-soldier.)
Sheet of Glass: The iconic opening shot of the credits is a car smashing through a window.
The Smurfette Principle: There are female agents in CI5, but we only see them if required for a particular episode.
Spiritual Successor: The short-lived 1984 Australian series Special Squad. And in the late 1990's a revival series, CI5: The New Professionals, was produced for Sky One. It starred Edward Woodward as Cowley's successor and had a British/American pairing for the two agents, but was not a success.
Status Quo Is God: Nothing ever changes from episode to episode. The relationships between the characters remain exactly the same, there is no story arc, and no-one is ever upset about the events from a previous episode. Therefore, everyone is remarkably unangsty, and there is no complicated backstory you have to know about. Which makes The Professionalspleasantly uncomplicated viewing.
Unguided Lab Tour: The episode "Involvement" features Doyle's girlfriend wandering into the top secret CI5 headquarters and eavesdropping on an interrogation.
Very Special Episode: ("Klansmen") Bodie's life is saved by a black doctor despite his racist abuse, while members of white supremacy organisations are portrayed as ignorant thugs being manipulated by right-wing politicans and crooked businessmen for their own ends. The episode is banned in Britain for its racist content.