Collateral Attractions: Hermione Norris

During location filming for Spooks 7 in Moscow. Source: Radio Times

Departing slightly from my usual “all Mr. Armitage, all the time” coverage, I wanted to move briefly to a mention of something I’ve discovered because of his work. I’m going to call these “collateral attractions.” At the moment one of the most important of these is Ros Myers in Spooks 7, as played by Hermione Norris.

I was just blown away by this character the second I set eyes on her (to quote Harry Kennedy). I am impressed by her incredible gravitas and power. So is Mr. Armitage, apparently.

The place where I’d been viewing Spooks 7 on the web has disappeared, so I’ll summarize instead of putting up pictures.

My favorite Ros Myers moments:

Spooks 7.1: Ros immobilizes her attacker in Moscow–after discovering him in the reflection on a winebottle–with a FORK. Then, in London, she does the same thing with a pen.

Spooks 7.2: She takes Lucas out with a Taser.

Spooks 7.3: She runs that whole operation to disable the suicide bombers without blinking an eyelid, and then SCHOOLS the Home Secretary.

Spooks 7.4: Lucas asks her which she’s better at, the real thing or faking it. I think she manages both in the bomb scene!

Spooks 7.5: She games Alexis Meynell to save the British economy. She’s as cool as a cucumber and ready to have her head blown off to save England. Plus points for disarming Asa Darlek.

Spooks 7.6: She calmly walks up to the limousine with Claude Denizet, offs his assassin, pushes the disabled assassin into the backseat of the limo, climbs in after him, and tells Denizet to keep his mouth shut.

Spooks 7.7: She figures out who the Sugarhorse mole is. Brains as well as bravado!

Spooks 7.8: Once again, she’s ready to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save London.

Ros is amazing. My first sight of her was one of less then a handful of times in my life when I’ve wished I could be tall, thin, and physically powerful. It’s not how she looks, it’s how she uses her body. I only wish she’d been able to see her way to getting together with Lucas!

As for the actress: My best friend tells me that Hermione Norris was fantastic in “Wire in the Blood.” And now I see that she played the title role in “Clarissa” way back in 1991. I’m looking forward to exploring more of her work.

~ by Servetus on April 9, 2010.

20 Responses to “Collateral Attractions: Hermione Norris”

  1. I was a Spooks fan before I was an RA fan, but I didn’t care for Ros until about halfway through Series 7. I think Richard Armitage does a great job of highlighting her strength. Am I biased or what? But seriously, I think his character goes a long way toward elevating hers to her rightful place. Oh, granted he wasn’t with her in Moscow, but the little things he does to pay her homage or defer to her made a hit with me. Rupert Penry Jones just didn’t pull that off. Maybe it was the writers’ fault.

    Nevertheless, I don’t mean to take anything away from Hermione Norris. I guess I just didn’t like her fit, if you will, with the others on the grid, and I couldn’t surmount the awkwardness of it until Lucas showed up.

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  2. I really desperately need to see all of Spooks before season 7. I am only halfway through season 2, so I can’t comment. I do think she and Mr. Armitage act really well together. I just saw the last episode of season 8 last night and their relationship was a prominent theme.

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  3. Oh, and for sure, something that would be worth discussing would be gender relations on the grid. In episode 8 that also seems to be an element of the anti-Americanism of the scripts.

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  4. I love Hermione Norris from her “Wire in the Blood” days — she was so gorgeous and self-possessed and smart. No wonder the crazy criminal psychologist was so smitten. I could never understand why that show seemed to frame things as if *she* was the one smitten with *him* — that was so much more improbable.

    Love the blog!

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    • As you know I haven’t watched those yet, but I have read all of Val McDermid’s (excellent!) Carol Jordan novels, and so I suppose they were following the strand of the novels that suggests that the criminal psychologist has severe psychiatric problems that make “real” relationships impossible for him?

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  5. Hermione Norris was indeed marvellous in Wire in the Blood. There were many comments on various sites, pertaining to her “cold” “ice-maiden” persona. I felt she was both a very professional Spook, as well as a human character.

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  6. I think Ros comes into her own in S7. I love all the moments you mentioned. I found her a compelling character in the previous series but developed a big ole lady crush on her from S7 onwards. The writers (and HN) really love Ros and it shows. Part of me would have liked to have seen a R & L get together too, but Ros was previously with Adam and it would have felt repetitive for her bed another senior section D spook. I’m so gonna miss Ros if/when she leaves!

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  7. FYI – Hermoine was Clarrisa’s friend Ann in the Sean Bean starred “Clarissa”. The best thing about Series 7 and 8 is the banter between Ros and Lucas — I will definitely miss it.

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  8. fitzg: Speaking as a professional woman, those comments about Ros really irritated me. You have a woman who is fantastic at her job and people snipe at her for not being friendly enough. For crying out loud, she’s a senior spy! No one would ever have criticized Lucas for being too cold.

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  9. Hermione Norris portrayed in Spooks a leading professional who happens to be woman. We don´t see that kind of roles for women that much. Therefore, and I don´t like to say it, her role functions almost as a rolemodel.
    She was also great in the tv-series ´Cold Feet´. I´ve seen her in 5 seasons. Look out for the 5th season with RA. As you don´t mention it, I guess you haven´t seen it yet.

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    • I absolutely agree about the role model point, Violet. Great remark. I’ve only seen the youtube cutouts with Mr. Armitage in Cold Feet, so I knew they were in it together, but not really anything about her actual role. Loved the brown-haired Armitage, the role, not so much.

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  10. @bzirk: “the little things he does to pay her homage”, “toward elevating hers”. So perceptive of you, indeed. Two accomplished actors playing beautifully off each other. Their sense of timing and screen chemistry (which isn’t necessarily about sex) is a treat for audiences.

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  11. […] us some beautiful lines, stunning moments of truth, and great performances (happily, many of them Hermione Norris‘s), I have to admit that re-watching this series didn’t alleviate my confusion on the […]

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  12. […] the same time, and I can see why it would have been popular. It gave me another view of my beloved Hermione Norris. I mention this because it struck me repeatedly this summer that even when I am watching […]

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  13. […] of information (mutatis mutandis) that you could find out about me if you knew my real name. Yup: like Hermione Norris, Annabel Capper has become a collateral […]

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  14. […] to Ros on severtus’ blog here. I also found a similar blog post on cheeky Ros/Lucas banter on the spooks fan blog […]

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  15. If anyone is jonesing for this kind of thing: Genevastar has written some truly exceptional Ros/Lucas fics that make the two of them together very believable. The author has written novella-length fics for series 7 and 8 that are “between-the-lines” and completely consistent with canon. The series 9 is AU, but cleverly so, incorporating much of the canon but not assassinating Lucas’s integrity, and the series 10 is a completely new plot. All are at the level of quality of the show itself: these fics are truly an impressive achievement, and Ros’s narrative voice is spot-on.

    http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2441361/

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  16. […] this started to happen to me, namely, after seeing Hermione Norris for the first time as Ros in Spooks 7.1, I termed the phenomenon “collateral attraction.” When it happened initially, it was […]

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  17. […] 2010: I inaugurated the “collateral attractions” tag on the blog with a post about a mini-crush on Hermione Norris. […]

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