The BEST Episodes of The Professionals

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jun 4, 2020

Network: ITV1

The Professionals (1977 - 1983) - "Anarchy, acts of terror, crimes against the public. To combat it I've got special men - experts from the Army, the Police - from every service. These are The Professionals." - George Cowley. The Professionals was one of British television's most popular and successful action series of the 1970s and 80s. At their peak in 1980 The Pros were earning as many as 17.6 million viewers. The Professionals began life in early 1977, provisionally titled The A-Squad, in an idea conceived by Brian Clemens, the then head of the independent TV company Avengers Mark I Productions. His aim was to create a rival for Thames television's hugely successful long-running police series The Sweeney. Bodie, Doyle and Cowley could have looked very different to how we remember them as. A number of very different actors were considered for the three central roles, with neither of the final chosen team being the original choices. The final three were more or less drafted in when the first choice stars either declined or were axed. Gordon Jackson (formerly the distinctly unmenacing Butler Hudson in Upstairs Downstairs) and Martin Shaw (whose first TV appearance was as a hippie in 1960s Coronation Street) were first to be cast. During the filming of the first episode, Old Dog with New Tricks Bodie was in fact played by Anthony Andrews. Unfortunately, old mates Shaw and Andrews spent much of the time cracking up with laughter - hardly a recipe for ensuring the renowned edgy banter between the two leads. Lewis Collins (best known by this time as Gavin Rumsey in comedy series The Cuckoo Waltz) was brought in to play Bodie, with Andrews being given the heave-ho. Collins and Shaw had previously worked together just months earlier in an episode of The New Avengers, and were cast alongside each other again thanks to the 'sparky, abrasive' on-screen partnership that they generated. In other words, they didn't particularly like each other! But with the central cast c

Private Madness, Public Danger

#1 - Private Madness, Public Danger

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Dec 30, 1977

Charles Nesbitt, an expert on chemical weapons, threatens to contaminate the water sources of London with a lethal hallucogenic drug and in order to back up his claims, plans several small 'demonstrations' in warning to the local authorities - including CI5.

star 7.43
143 votes
Writers: Anthony Read
The Female Factor

#2 - The Female Factor

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 6, 1978

An Iron Curtain agent is using a young girl to extort secrets from, and ultimately destroy the career of, a future British Prime Minister, unaware that the girl is the long-lost daughter of a well-known local prostitute.

star 7.13
113 votes
Directors: David Wickes
Writers: Brian Clemens
Hunter/Hunted

#3 - Hunter/Hunted

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 7, 1978

Cowley assigns Doyle to test a brand new high-tech laser beam rifle. But the rifle is stolen from his flat and the thief decides to 'test' it on Doyle, sending him on a cat-and-mouse chase around London.

star 7.12
40 votes
Directors: Anthony Simmons
Writers: Anthony Read
A Man Called Quinn

#4 - A Man Called Quinn

Season 5 - Episode 10 - Aired Jan 30, 1983

A former colleague of Cowley's who is now a patient in a mental hospital reappears in London, going on the run when he believes that the KGB have drugged him.

star 7.12
34 votes
Directors: Horace Ové
Writers: Tony Barwick
Killer With a Long Arm

#5 - Killer With a Long Arm

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 20, 1978

CI5 become aware that an assassination plot on a group of visiting Greek Royals is being planned using a rifle that has a range of over two miles. But they must find out who is the gunman and what is his target - before it is too late.

star 7.09
107 votes
Directors: David Wickes
Writers: Brian Clemens
Discovered in a Graveyard

#6 - Discovered in a Graveyard

Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired Dec 5, 1982

Whilst investigating a bombing plot Doyle is shot and left for dead in his flat, and as the hospital fights to save his life, he seems unable to decide whether he wants to live or die...meanwhile, Bodie goes on a chase to find Doyle's assailant.

star 7.06
31 votes
Directors: Anthony Simmons
Writers: Christopher Wicking
The Ojuka Situation

#7 - The Ojuka Situation

Season 5 - Episode 9 - Aired Jan 23, 1983

A sacked former African Head attempts to get reinstated in office using the help of the British Government, but the plan is sidetracked by one particular civil servant who now wants him dead.

star 7.06
33 votes
Writers: David Humphries
Involvement

#8 - Involvement

Season 4 - Episode 4 - Aired Sep 28, 1980

In the midst of a shoot-out during a drugs smuggling investigation, Doyle meets and falls for Ann Holly, only to discover that CI5 suspect her of being closely linked to the scam herself.

star 7.03
30 votes
Directors: Chris Burt
Writers: Brian Clemens
Mixed Doubles

#9 - Mixed Doubles

Season 4 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 7, 1980

Bodie and Doyle are undergoing intense training in preparation for an assignment where they are protecting a foreign official...at the same time, two potential killers are receiving similiar training to prepare them for the assassination of the same official.

star 7.03
31 votes
Directors: Roger Tucker
Writers: Brian Clemens
The Acorn Syndrome

#10 - The Acorn Syndrome

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 7, 1980

The daughter of a British Government engineer who is working on a defence protect is kidnapped, and the only way she will be safely returned is if he agrees to betray secrets to enemy agents.

star 7.03
35 votes
Directors: Martin Campbell
Writers: John Kruse
First Night

#11 - First Night

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 21, 1978

CI5 are left to dig deep when an Israeli Minister is kidnapped, and the only clues to his whereabouts are a shadowy photograph and a coded tape message.

star 7.03
37 votes
Directors: David Wickes
Writers: Gerry O'Hara
The Gun

#12 - The Gun

Season 4 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 9, 1980

A drug addict is murdered by a pusher who then hastily discards the gun, only for it to be found by a young boy-who then accidently shoots his friend in the process. The pusher then goes in search of the boy in an attempt to retrieve the gun and at the same time has to try to avoid his own people who are in pursuit of him.

star 7.00
31 votes
Directors: Dennis Lewiston
Writers: Christopher Wicking
The Purging of CI5

#13 - The Purging of CI5

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 27, 1979

CI5 and their agents find themselves under attack from a vendetta of bombings and assassination attempts. Bodie and Doyle are on a chase to find out who the perpetrators are before they end up as the next victims.

star 7.00
35 votes
Directors: Dennis Abey
Writers: Stephen Lister
Servant of Two Masters

#14 - Servant of Two Masters

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 15, 1979

Bodie and Doyle are shocked to discover that Cowley appears to be selling nerve gas to a group of East Germans in order to line his own pockets, and are assigned by his rival Plumb to track their boss's every move.

star 7.00
34 votes
Writers: Douglas Watkinson
Wild Justice

#15 - Wild Justice

Season 4 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 14, 1980

Bodie's mental state is called ino question when he becomes obsessed with a local Hell's Angel motorcycle gang, gradually sending him further and further behind in training. Is he cracking up?

star 7.00
31 votes
Directors: Dennis Abey
Writers: Ranald Graham
Kickback

#16 - Kickback

Season 4 - Episode 14 - Aired Dec 20, 1980

Bodie and Keller, an old acquaintance from his days in the SAS, go undercover in order to trap a would-be assassin by posing as hitmen offering to do the job themselves - in order to fake the killing. But Keller turns out to have an ulterior motive.

star 7.00
31 votes
Directors: Ian Sharp
Writers: Stephen Lister
The Untouchables

#17 - The Untouchables

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Jan 16, 1983

Bodie is offered the opportunity to clear up all his gambling debts by a foreign diplomat - who in exchange wants to have some vital secrets from CI5.

star 7.00
32 votes
Directors: William Brayne
Writers: Brian Clemens
The Rack

#18 - The Rack

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 14, 1978

A suspect being held under CI5's supervision is found dead in his cell - apparently after a fatal blow administered by Doyle. A public inquiry ensues and an influential lawyer calls for CI5 to be shut down. It's left to Cowley in fighting to save the organisation he founded.

star 6.97
35 votes
Directors: Peter Medak
Writers: Brian Clemens
Take Away

#19 - Take Away

Season 4 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 12, 1980

A team of Hong Kong police join CI5 in London to help crack a local heroin supply and protection racket. It's down to Bodie and Doyle to expose a scheme to smuggle drugs to the US by teams of Triads and European agents.

star 6.97
31 votes
Writers: Roger Marshall
Lawson's Last Stand

#20 - Lawson's Last Stand

Season 5 - Episode 4 - Aired Nov 28, 1982

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lawson has gone missing without trace...and is armed with vital military secrets from NATO. Can CI5 seek him out before he tells all?

star 6.97
31 votes
Directors: Ian Sharp
Writers: Ranald Graham
Cry Wolf

#21 - Cry Wolf

Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired Jan 9, 1983

A young woman contacts the police, saying she is being stalked and is in fear for her life, but they think she is making the whole story up.

star 6.97
31 votes
Directors: Phil Meheux
Writers: Paul Wheeler
Fugitive

#22 - Fugitive

Season 4 - Episode 3 - Aired Sep 21, 1980

A CIA agent is murdered in London, prompting CI5 into launching a fake arms deal with the terrorists who were responsible for the killing. But the gang uncover the plot in time, taking Bodie hostage and using him as their meal ticket to escape the country.

star 6.97
30 votes
Directors: Dennis Lewiston
Writers: Gerry O'Hara
Need To Know

#23 - Need To Know

Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 5, 1980

Cowley finds himself under suspicion when a former colleague of his is arrested for being a double agent. So just how deeply involved is the CI5 Chief?

star 6.97
30 votes
Directors: William Brayne
Writers: Brian Clemens
Black Out

#24 - Black Out

Season 4 - Episode 7 - Aired Oct 19, 1980

CI5 discover that a possible terrorist attack is being planned, and the only clue they have in solving it is a German girl who is found collapsed in a church and suffering from amnesia.

star 6.97
30 votes
Directors: William Brayne
Writers: Brian Clemens
Blood Sports

#25 - Blood Sports

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Oct 26, 1980

CI5 move in to protect the daughter of a South American President after his son - and her brother - is assassinated on the field of a polo match.

star 6.97
30 votes
Directors: Phil Meheux
Writers: Gerry O'Hara