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Series / The Professionals

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Left to right - Martin Shaw as Doyle, Gordon Jackson as Cowley and Lewis Collins as Bodie.
"Fight fire with fire!"

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 (Lewis Collins), Ray Doyle (Martin Shaw), and their boss George Cowley (Gordon Jackson). CI5 dealt with serious crime beyond the capacity of the police, and were authorized to use any means (including illegal ones) to do so (as lampshaded by the page quote.) Being a typical show of the times, much of the action centres around girls, guns, car chases, and drinking, much like its inspiration The Sweeney.

Interestingly the two leads were cast because they did not get on while working together on a previous project and the creator thought that would give the onscreen relationship between Bodie and Doyle the edge he wanted. While they worked out their differences in fairly short order and became friends offscreen they were good enough actors to keep the onscreen dynamic he wanted. However they later fell out over Shaw blocking repeats of the series - not because as commonly thought he was trying to move away from the typecasting the role had given him but more prosaically he didn't think the repeat fees they were offering were good enough. He finally relented after Gordon Jackson passed away and his widow ran into financial difficulties.


There was a Revival (CI5: The New Professionals in 1999), which wasn't warmly received, to put it politely. Not even having Edward Woodward take over the Cowley role could save the show from being a pale shadow of the original. Lasting for one season, it's available on DVD, but only in Australia/New Zealand.

It's rumoured that there's a remake being made, prompting a collective Big "NO!" from the fandom. The good news is that in 2014 the original series was reissued on DVD and Blu-ray in a fully restored and remastered version.

Jackson died in 1990 and Collins passed away in November 2013 leaving Shaw as the only surviving main cast member.

It was a major inspiration of the Japanese manga Appleseed and its sequels, such as Ghost in the Shell.

The main characters:

Not related to the 60s western film The Professionals.

The Professionals contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Area/Abandoned Warehouse: CI5 used the former Wembley Palace of Engineering for training, and of course scenes take place in the usual Abandoned Warehouses, derelict dockyards, and decommissioned WW2 airfields. Parodied in "Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown" when our heroes find the Docklands are being redeveloped.
    Bonehead: Where's all the wasteland and the disused factories, Foyle?
    Foyle: Where's all the rusty girders?
    Bonehead: Dammit, there's no puddles to run through!
  • Action Genre Hero Guy: Bodie. Doyle is basically the same except very slightly less jaded and with '80s Hair.
  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • At the end of "Killer with a Long Arm," Cowley catches Bodie and Doyle sniggering over a long range sniper rifle they've captured. He takes a peek through the telescopic sight and sure enough finds it pointed at a scantily dressed girl in an apartment a couple of miles away. Cowley chews out the shamefaced pair...then corrects their estimation of the girl's dimensions.
    • Another episode begins with our heroes eagerly speeding across London to investigate a case involving an unconscious woman in a bikini.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: The trope quote appears verbatim in "Where the Jungle Ends". To force information out of a corrupt government man, Bodie informs him that his schoolgirl daughter has been kidnapped and is currently being held hostage outside in the team's car. The little dear proves to be horribly precocious, and demands to know whether Doyle, sitting with her in the vehicle, is "going to ravish me", as she believes this to be what happens in such situations from the bodice-rippers that she's read. Doyle, however, is thankfully far too nice a chap to do so, and the two finally end up sharing a bar of chocolate instead.
  • Armed Blag: In "Heroes", the robbery of an armoured car is actually the cover for a political assassination. Turns out a controversial American politician was being smuggled out of the country disguised as a security guard, but those after him got wind of it.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Cowley may run a squad of Cowboy Cops, but he's always done the paperwork to cover his backside. And as various powerbrokers who think they can use CI5 for their own ends discover, Cowley knows the corridors of Whitehall better than any of them.
  • Berserk Button: Do not - repeat do not - attempt to harm Doyle in any way when Bodie is around. Just to clarify; in "The Female Factor", one man shoots Doyle in the leg. Bodie empties an entire clip into him. In another episode Doyle is abducted by a gangster. When Bodie catches up to him - he looks genuinely terrified of Bodie's expression.
  • Betrayal Insurance: In "Not A Very Civil Servant," a Corrupt Corporate Executive arranges for The Dragon to kill off an accountant who knows too much. Later the executive goes through the accountant's files and finds evidence that he has been making copies of every document as insurance. When The Dragon asks how he knew to look in the first place, the executive reveals that he's been taking exactly the same precautions against his smarter Dragon betraying him.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Bodie appears to have this towards Doyle, shown through his jokes about Doyle's love life and offering him advice to threatening anyone who tries to hurt him. Interestingly Bodie is the younger of the two in the partnership, but seems older perhaps due to his time as a mercenary in Africa.
  • Bleed 'em and Weep: "Runner" ends when a female character, played by Barbara Kellerman, shoots a bad guy (who killed her boyfriend earlier in the episode) just before he kills one of the CI5 agents. She weeps mascara tears.
  • Blind Shoulder Toss: A KGB agent blackmails a politician into providing a top secret document. Later he reveals that he already delivered that document months ago to Moscow Centre, but by handing it over to a foreign agent the politician will be committing treason and thereafter be under the KGB's thumb.
  • Blinded by the Light:
    • In "Servant with Two Masters," a man is sitting at a desk pointing a gun at Bodie and Doyle. Doyle shoves the desklamp so it shines into the man's face causing him to flinch, whereupon Bodie snatches the gun off him.
    • In "Hunter/Hunted", Cowley is testing a Laser Sight during a training exercise. He shines it into the eyes of a trainee causing him to become disoriented causing him to fall from the roof into a conveniently placed pool of water. Hopefully he didn't suffer any eye damage either!
  • Bomb Disposal: In "Private Madness, Public Danger," Bodie and Doyle have to defuse a bomb connected to a gallon drum of hallucinogenic drugs which is floating in a reservoir, so they have to do this while treading freezing water with a device they can't even see. Fortunately (as the bomb has an anti-handling device) they've brought the bomb designer along, and he decides he doesn't want to die for the cause. They use the same tactic in "Stakeout" this time with an atomic bomb.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Some of the baddies fall under this. Sometimes it's justified; the main characters are hostages etc but some are just inexcusable. For example Doyle is captured by two master assassins by accident. Instead of killing him and using his radio (Bodie was waiting in the car to warn Doyle when the woman they were watching for came) they leave him Bound and Gagged on the floor. He then proceeds to kick one of them out of the window and alert Bodie.
  • Buddy Cop Show: Invoked by Cowley who has CI5 agents working in teams of two, with neither the senior partner.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: Before Doyle hauls a criminal into the storeroom of a pub for some Perp Sweating, he throws the manager a coin and tells him to play something loud on the jukebox. Subverted when the criminal turns out to be an undercover policeman, and the noise is actually meant to cover up their friendly conversation (now and again they knock over a few cans to make it sound like Doyle is roughing him up.
  • Camera Sniper: In "Hunter/Hunted", Bodie and Doyle think they're being followed by a black Porsche on the highway. After some vehicular maneuvering the Porsche drives past with the unseen driver waving at them, so they assume it's the usual road rage Cock Fight. Then the Porsche turns up unnoticed at their destination, a telephoto lens extends out the car window and takes several photographs of Bodie and Doyle.
  • Carpet of Virility: Both Bodie and Doyle display man cleavage on various occasion, as was mandatory for Mr. Fanservice characters in The '70s.
  • The Casanova: Bodie and Doyle. Doyle even says of Bodie in "Fall Girl", 'If he was going to the electric chair, he'd have Miss Universe pulling the switch.' Which is a bit of a cheek coming from him.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Bodie and Doyle raise this to the level of art!
  • Clothing Switch: In the late episode "No Stone," Bodie and Doyle have clearly swapped shirts in one brief scene. None of the other characters comment on the switch, and it is never explained.
  • Cock Fight: The lads do like to jokingly scrap over women, but it's never serious. (There may be a reason for this.)
  • Compressed Vice: In "Klansmen" Bodie displays overt racist behaviour never shown previously by his character; it's not that such tendencies would be unusual in that era, especially for a decidedly working-class bloke like Bodie, but it was completely out of left field and due to the events of the episode (in which his life is saved by a black doctor) we never see it again. Actor Lewis Collins was not pleased.
  • 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.
  • Cool Guns:
    • Where to start - the Browning Hi Power for Bodie and Doyle in the early seasons, Smith Wesson model 19 for Bodie, Walther P38 for Doyle. Not to mention both being issued with AR 18's, AR 10's, Uzis, Smith and Wesson Model 29's. Just pure Gun Porn.
    • There's also the A-180 in Hunter/Hunted, a drum-fed automatic rifle with Laser Sight. Supposedly it's an American 180 submachine gun, but that weapon only fires .22 Long Rifle, so has nowhere near the 1000 yard range attributed to it.
  • Cool Old Guy: Cowley.
  • Cool Shades: Doyle.
  • Cowboy Cop: Subverted as their tactics are fully authorised by Cowley, though they do disobey his orders on occasion.
  • Crashing Through the Harem: Invoked when a detective friend of Doyle times a narcotics bust at a strip club so he'll be in the dressing room when the girls come offstage.
  • Cultured Badass: Bodie, Doyle and Cowley can all rattle off poetry as easily as they can win bar brawls.
  • Da Chief: Cowley.
  • Dead Man's Switch: In "Old Dog with New Tricks," a nurse is taken hostage by a lunatic armed with a hand grenade with the pin removed. Bodie and Doyle make a reckless bid to free her because the longer he holds down the safety lever, the more cramped his hand will get.
    Doyle: The right technique is to keep him talking, play him and tire him out.
    Bodie: Yeah and suppose his left hand tires first? It takes about four pounds of pressure to keep a hand-grenade lever clamped down. But after an hour, it feels like eight... and then twelve... and then cramp sets in. And then suddenly it's raining Nurse Emma Bolding!
  • Deathbed Confession: "Everest Was Also Conquered" starts with the former head of MI-6 saying "I killed Suzie Carter" on his deathbed. Suzie Carter was a witness at a 1953 corruption inquiry who supposedly committed suicide. This causes a series of murders as the other conspirators race to cover up their involvement.
  • Destination Defenestration: The fake suicide version opens "Everest Was Also Conquered" when a whistleblower to an impending corruption inquiry gets thrown out the window by her police protection detail, who've been bribed or blackmailed into the act.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • "Everest Was Also Conquered" has a witness forced out the window by her police protection detail, who have all been bribed or blackmailed into the act.
    • In "Servant with Two Masters" Cowley himself falls under suspicion, and Bodie and Doyle are ordered to investigate their boss.
    • In another episode the Villain of the Week turns out to be a police officer that Doyle testified against, out for revenge.
  • Don't Ask: Bodie trolls Doyle with this trope in "Hunter/Hunted."
    Bodie: How did you get on last night? [Doyle gives him a Disapproving Look] Well don't ask me, will you? Heh? How I got on last night?
    Doyle: [wearily] How did you get on last night?
    Bodie: Don't ask.
  • Don't Come A-Knockin': Referenced in "Servant With Two Masters." Bodie has a thug Bound and Gagged and throws him in the back of his car for safekeeping. Then Doyle comes along and finds the vehicle rocking as the thug struggles to free himself.
    Doyle: Don't tell me he's found a milkmaid?
  • Drives Like Crazy: And not just during car chases either. Our heroes can't drive a car without squealing tires.
  • Due to the Dead: In "Heroes", Psycho Sidekick Tommy gives his life to save Bodie and Doyle when they're pinned down by hitmen armed with automatic weapons. As Tommy is about to be loaded onto a hearse with the (now dead) hitmen, Bodie snaps, "No, don't put him in with them!"
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • 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 has Cowley timing several CI5 agents (including Bodie and Doyle) through a kind of assault course. 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.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Zigzagged. Bodie is ex SAS and ex para. Doyle is a regular ex police constable, and Cowley an ex regular officer. Truth in Television as Lewis Collins was a Territorial Army Paratrooper and had even passed selection to 21 SAS - the only reason he couldn't serve was because he was too famous to be in a covert special forces unit.
  • Embarrassing First Name: William Andrew Philip Bodie only ever went by Bodie.
  • Empty Quiver: A white supremacist group steals enough plutonium to make an atomic bomb in "Stakeout."
  • Everybody Owns a Ford: The Ford Granada. A rare unintentional example, as the producers had trouble using their other preferred vehicle because the supplier had an unfortunate habit of sending them a replacement vehicle of the wrong colour or year of manufacture if the first got damaged or had a breakdown. This made continuity too big a headache and an unspoken retcon stated that CI-5 had bought a large batch of Granadas for the motor pool.
  • 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".
  • Excuse Me While I Multi Task: In "The Female Factor" Bodie fights a drunk in a pub without spilling the pint in his hand.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: In "The Untouchables":
    Rahad: Mr Cowley! I have heard of you. You are... much smaller than I imagined.
    Cowley: So was Henry the Eighth.
  • External Combustion: In "The Purging of CI5, Bodie and Doyle have just escaped a bomb in their phone, and Doyle worries there might be another in the car they've just gotten into. He suggests Bodie wait across the street while he starts the ignition. Bodie just gives him a contemptuous look and says, "Oh just stick it in!" (There was no bomb.)
  • Failsafe Failure: The components of Doyle's car are rigged to fail one by one as he's going down a hill. Justified though as the killer isn't trying to fake a car accident; he's just playing with Doyle before he kills him.
  • Finger Wag: In "Servant with Two Masters", Bodie knocks out a mook and throws him Bound and Gagged into the back of his van. Later Doyle comes along and sees the van rocking in a suspicious manner as the mook struggles to free himself. Thinking his partner is getting some on-the-job nookie, he waggles his finger through the tinted window saying, "Naughty, naughty!" only to be attacked by two more mooks who've come to rescue their colleague.
  • Flashback: "When The Heat Cools Off" has mulitiple flashbacks to 1971 when Doyle was still a uniform policeman.
  • Game of Chicken: In "Spy Probe," Bodie and Doyle drive their Ford Capris at each other, braking with the cars only four inches apart.
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: In "Old Dog With New Tricks," the gas leak excuse is lampshaded by Cowley as to why the street outside a hostage situation is deserted. However the goal is not to cover up what happened, but to remove witnesses to the ruthless (and illegal) tactics CI5 will use to end the situation.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Woman: In "Close Quarters" Bodie slaps his Hysterical Woman Girl of the Week Julie. He also slaps a hysterical hostage in "Old Dog with New Tricks", but at least he has a good excuse that time. He had to knock her out out fast to get the live hand grenade that had just fallen into her blouse.
  • 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).
  • Glasses Pull: Cowley does this all the time with his specs.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: CI5, an organised crime, terrorism, and spy fighting agency.
  • He Had a Name: "Killer With a Long Arm" has a variation. A forensics expert dismisses a murder victim as "nobody," meaning he was unconnected to their main case. Doyle immediately snaps "Nobody's nobody," haranguing him about the fact that the victim had a wife and children. Of course, since Doyle was the one who asked who the dead man was, we never do learn his name.
  • Heroic BSoD: Doyle briefly slips into one in 'The Rack' after a suspect dies in custody. Bodie snaps him out of it.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: A major appeal of the series is the bantering friendship between Bodie and Doyle, two men who would kill and die for each other, which of course is fertile ground for...
  • Homoerotic Subtext: A long-time favourite for Slash Fic writers, even without Bodie and Doyle's tendency to camp it up on occasion. The Comic Strip Presents parodied this in "The Bullshitters", with 'Bonehead' and 'Foyle' resolving their burning sexual tension before the final shootout by getting shirtless and snogging each other while rolling around in a pile of gravel.
  • Honey Trap: In "The Female Factor," a young prostitute is used to seduce a politician so he can be blackmailed into passing secrets to the KGB.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Most notably The Lady.
  • Hostage Situation: In "Old Dog with New Tricks", a crime boss tries to free his brother from prison by holding the Home Secretary hostage. Unfortunately he captures Cowley instead. While Doyle holds a Sawn-Off Shotgun at his brother's head out on the street, Cowley informs the crime boss that if there's one shot from inside the building, they're going to blow off his brother's head, storm the building and kill all the criminals, then blame it on them.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Invoked by Doyle when Bodie was about to kill the man who killed a woman he loved. This is sheer Early Installment Weirdness - thankfully Doyle never has such a tedious bout of sanctimony again.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: For "Professionals" their habit of tossing loaded guns to each other is somewhat disturbing. On one occasion Cowley does this with a rifle, and when Doyle winces points out that he knew the safety was on. As a former soldier Cowley should have known that safeties can be unreliable.
    • Even part of a nuclear bomb gets thrown about.
  • I Made Copies: In "Not A Very Civil Servant", a Corrupt Corporate Executive arranges for The Dragon to kill off an accountant who knows too much. Later the executive goes through the accountant's files and finds evidence that he had been making photocopies of every document as Betrayal Insurance. When The Dragon asks how he knew to look in the first place, the executive reveals that he's been taking exactly the same precautions against his smarter Dragon betraying him.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!
    Bodie: "Permission to be admiringly insolent, sir. You're a brave old bastard."
    Cowley: "Permission denied. Anyway, it's inaccurate. I'm not brave."
  • If I Had a Nickel: From "Servant of Two Masters":
    Plumb: My name's Plumb.
    Brodie: Hello, Victoria.
    Plumb: I wish I had a pound for every time I've suffered that one...
  • Impairment Shot: In "Private Madness, Public Danger", an executive has been drugged with a hallucinogen placed in the company coffee dispenser. He sees his fellow board members distorted via a fisheye lens effect.
  • 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.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms:
    • In one episode, the Bulgarian secret service mooks at a prisoner exchange are holding StG-44s. This weapon was used in a few Warsaw Pact countries, but only as an interim substitute for the AK-47 and they were long gone by the 1970s.
    • "Fall Girl" had the odd incidence of British Special Branch agents armed with Soviet TT-33 pistols.
    • The MacGuffin of "Hunter/Hunted" is an American 180. Because a blank-firing version of this highly restricted automatic weapon would not have been available in Britain at the time, an AR-10 rifle is given a top-mounted Thompson drum magazine and a mock laser sight. For plot-related reasons it's also stated to be a long-range rifle instead of a submachine gun.
  • Interrogation by Vandalism: In "Killer With A Long Arm", Doyle is interrogating a Greek restaurant owner, and decides to carry out the Greek tradition of plate-smashing.
  • Interrogation Montage: In "Private Madness Public Danger" between Cowley and Doyle interrogating a drug pusher at CI 5 headquarters, and Bodie interrogating a junkie at a hospital.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Bodie and Doyle are driving a New Old Flame of their boss George Cowley to the airport after she's survived an assassination attempt, and she begins to say, "Tell George I..." before being drowned out by a police siren. She doesn't repeat herself, and the two debate afterwards what they should tell Cowley. They decide not to mention the comment.
  • Ironic Echo: Doyle insists on investigating the death of a prostitute he once knew, using CI5's blanket authority to investigate any incident "It's in the small print on our cards". Cowley starts tearing strips off them ("Don't you quote small print at me. For every sentence of small print you produce, I can produce smaller!") until he happens to look at the phone number written on a notepad — the Prime Minister's private line. Suddenly Cowley rounds on the CID detectives and announces that CI5 are taking over the case. "Can't you read the small print on our cards?"
  • Is This Thing Still On?: In "Heroes", Bodie isn't happy about being told by Cowley to work with a Psycho Sidekick, and starts venting accordingly until...
    Cowley: The radio is still open, Bodie. But continue with your interesting assessment. Cowley is...?
    Bodie: Would you believe: warm and considerate?
  • It Has Only Just Begun: In "Private Madness, Public Danger", when CI5 captures the Villain of the Week, Cowley tells him it's all over. The man shouts back, "All over? IT HASN'T EVEN BEGUN YET!" as he's just activated a Time Bomb.
  • 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.
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: In "Not A Very Civil Civil Servant", the Villain of the Week uses a combination of threats and bribery to arrange for several jurors to sway the others.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": Bodie dials the first number of his phone and suddenly realises it's booby-trapped. Fortunately, he's got his radio to call Doyle for help, who disarms it with their usual exchange of banter (though somewhat terser).
  • Laser Sight: The intimidation factor of a "laser-lock" sight (at the time a cutting-edge technology) is a major theme in "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".
  • Leave No Witnesses:
    • In "Heroes", several citizens foil the robbery of an armored car (actually a disguised political assassination). Because one of the criminals was partially unmasked during the raid, Cowley decides to tell the press that the man can now be identified, in the hope of flushing out the criminals who have gone to ground. Unfortunately a newspaper has published the names and addresses of these heroic citizens, so CI5 has to scramble to protect them when the criminals start murdering them.
    • In "Everest Was Also Conquered", a former intelligence officer makes a Deathbed Confession that he murdered a witness to a corruption inquiry in the 1950's. As Bodie and Doyle investigate, they find they're in a race against a hitman who's killing off the other conspirators in the murder.
  • Live-Action Escort Mission: Bodie and Doyle are assigned by their boss Cowley to protect an Arab dignitary. They find themselves being pursued by a number of assassins (possibly Mossad), and later discover that even Cowley isn't giving all the support he could because they're serving as The Bait. At the end of the episode it's even suggested that the dignitary was a fake as well.
  • Loophole Abuse: CI5 is authorised to fight crime and terrorism by any means necessary. "That's our loophole," as Crowley puts it.
  • Magical Security Cam: In "Heroes" an armoured car robbery is witnessed by a member of the public with a handheld 8mm camera. When we see CI5 watching the footage, it includes shots taken in an amateurish fashion (people in the way, jerky film, etc) but also scenes from the robbery it would have been impossible for the cameraman to have filmed (such as the shooting of a security guard who is inside the armoured car) but which we saw in the previous action sequence.
  • Make It Look Like a Struggle: Doyle enters a Bad-Guy Bar and hauls a customer into the storeroom. Turns out he's an undercover cop and the two of them start knocking things off the shelves to make it sound like Doyle is beating him up. When it's time to leave, Doyle goes to inflict the required facial injury, and the cop tells him not to hit his good side as he's got a date tonight.
  • Manly Tears: When Bodie is knifed in "Klansmen", Ray weeps openly as he walks beside Bodie's hospital gurney.
  • Mean Boss:
    Cowley: Nothing is personal, Doyle. When you joined CI5, I made that perfectly clear. The department owns you — I own you! I can sell your body to science if I want — while it's still alive.
  • Mr. Fanservice: In its initial run, young women generally fancied one of Bodie and Doyle.
  • Mr. Smith: In "Servant with Two Masters", Cowley orders Bodie and Doyle to keep surveillance on an Arab businessman called Mahlik, but won't say why. Bodie notes that Mahlik is the Arabic equivalent of Smith.
  • Naughty Birdwatching: At the end of "Killer With A Long Arm" Cowley catches Bodie and Doyle sniggering over a long range sniper rifle they've captured. He takes a peek through the telescopic sight and sure enough finds it pointed at a scantily-dressed girl in an apartment a couple of miles away. Cowley chews out the shamefaced pair...then corrects their estimation of the girl's dimensions.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Cowley makes it clear that this is the line that CI5 does not cross.
  • 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.
  • Old-Fashioned Copper
  • Old Flame: Cowley's old love Annie in "Look After Annie". (Yes, Cowley had a Girl of the Week, don't faint with amazement.)
  • Opening Narration: One given by Cowley on the first few episodes
    Cowley: Anarchy. Acts of terror. Crimes against the public. To combat it, I have special men. Men from the army, the police, from every service. These are The Professionals.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Doyle is carried like this after he's knocked out and captured by the villain he's impersonating.
  • Perp Sweating: Lots of this, usually Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.
    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?"
  • Playing Drunk: In "The Female Factor," Doyle pretends to be drunk when visiting a high-class call girl, whom CI5 want to interrogate.
  • 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.
  • Pub Brawl
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Cowley once more.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: "The Madness of Mickey Hamilton" - a grieving widower blames medical staff for his wife's death and his daughter being permanently crippled/dying due to an accident during childbirth, and goes on a killing spree.
  • Red Shirt: The three main characters have Contractual Immortality but pity any other CI5 agent who turns up, because there's a fairly high chance he'll snuff it before the end of the episode. (This doesn't apply to the staggeringly rare occasions we see a woman agent.)
  • Room 101
  • Rogue Agent
  • Rule of Cool: Martin Shaw (who'd done research into tactics used by the SAS) complained about scenes where they'd be silhouetted in doorways. The producer replied that few people would know it was a stupid idea anyway.
  • The '70s: 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.
    • The Professionals is itself something of a Spiritual Successor to The New Avengers. Both were created by Brian Clemens, and The New Avengers is noticibly more of a Seventies Action Series than a Sixties Spy Drama. The New Avengers actually resembles The Professionals more than it resembles The Avengers (1960s). Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw even guest-starred in an episode together.
  • The Stakeout: The episode "Stakeout" has Bodie and Doyle staking out a bowling alley because it's somehow connected with a conspiracy to build a nuclear weapon. They run through the expected distractions and red herring suspects before nailing down the real culprits.
  • 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 Professionals pleasantly uncomplicated viewing.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Do NOT call Mr Cowley 'Cowley' within his earshot. He will be...displeased.
  • 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:
  • Wild Hair: Doyle.
  • Witty Banter
    Cowley: Bodie. Doyle. Hold on a moment. World Chemical Products. Man just fell out of a seventh-storey window.
    Doyle: That's police business.
    Cowley: He jumped.
    Bodie: That's his business.
    Cowley: Somebody had slipped him a drug. Him and half the staff there.
    Bodie/Doyle: That's drug squad business.
    Cowley: What are you two, some kind of music-hall act?
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Mickey Hamilton.
  • Worthy Opponent: Subverted when Cowley says of a KGB opposite number, "Terkoff. He was a good man." As his partner has just been shot by Terkoff, Bodie angrily points at where Doyle is lying and snaps, "Yeah? Well, there's a better man back there!"


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