British agent Alec Leamas refuses to come in from the Cold War during the 1960s, choosing to face another mission, which may prove to be his final one.
A major arms control treaty is in the works. The foreign service is for it, so Burnside is against it. What can he do? Work with the KGB who also want to scuttle the treaty behind the back of the Politburo? Tricky tricky... [more inside]
Burnside gets his annual medical exam. He needs a break. Hey, that post in Madrid just became vacant...
A Briton in Prague has died in a 2 am car wreck after leaving a party at midnight. He was also an excellent intelligence source. The crash scene was only five miles from the party. Where was he for the two hours?
Burnside is approached by an old colleague to place a long-term mole in the Soviet Union. [more inside]
Burnside takes a working holiday to Rhodes with Peele and Wellingham. Willie Caine fills in as D-Ops, and fields a request - and some snark - from the CIA. [more inside]
D-Int takes a working holiday to Malta. Is everything on the up-and-up? [more inside]
Acting on a tip from D-Int, Burnside starts investigating whether Jeff Ross’s wife is being targeted by MI5. [more inside]
C tenders his resignation. Who will replace him? And who does Burnside want? And there's another resignation to follow... [more inside]
Series finale. Roper and his team return to Cairo for the deal, reuniting Pine with an old enemy. Pine risks it all to put his plan in motion. A discredited Burr makes one last stand.
Roper realizes someone close to him has betrayed him, and begins to narrow down the suspects. Jonathan tries to send a message. Jed tries to help. In London, Angela finds herself blocked and menaced. [more inside]
Pine finds himself in the middle of an arms deal, and in other arms as well. Things start to heat up in London, as some of the bad guys are revealed. [more inside]
Burnside has to deal with defector problems: one coming over, and maybe one going over?
Could it? An American senator is murdered. Ross believes it was done by reactionaries in the FBI. There may not be any evidence, but it does seem odd that the Secret Service doesn’t seem to trust the FBI either. Events in West Germany reveal there may be a cabinet minister who has been giving information to the USSR. [more inside]
While he continues to recuperate in Roper's villa, Pine starts to dig up secrets about the other members of the household. Meanwhile, Burr and Steadman seize on an opportunity to recruit a new asset.
Burr makes her pitch to Pine. Pine leaves the hotel under unfortunate circumstances. A holiday excursion for Roper and his friends almost ends in disaster. [more inside]
Ex-soldier Jonathan Pine, the night manager at the Nefertiti hotel in Cairo, is approached by Sophie Alekan, a guest who is the kept woman of businessman Freddie Hamid, and who asks him to copy some documents for her.
A freelancing former US intelligence agent tries to track down a mysterious package that is wanted by both the Irish and the Russians. [more inside]
Burnside receives his annual report and finds that his career prospects have suddenly dimmed. Willie Caine and Karen Milner returning from a conference in Sri Lanka when their flight is hijacked by terrorists and forced to land in Turkey. Burnside struggles to put together a rescue mission when the rest of the government has decided not to act.
Geoffrey Wellingham is kidnapped in Brussels. Complicating matters, in his office is a paper detailing co-operation between the SIS and South African intelligence. Against orders from Peele, Burnside dispatches both Sandbaggers to Belgium to try and track him down. Despite both Sandbaggers being on station, most deem it to be a futile operation given the past history of hostages being murdered. [more inside]
One year after the disastrous mission in last season's finale. The head of the Bulgarian Secret Service offers detailed information on active agents abroad, but demands that a Sandbagger makes the trade, that night. Burnside fears a setup, but ultimately the prospect of the information being offered is too tempting and the mission goes ahead.
An East German photo technician who has been spying for the SIS, becomes convinced he's under surveillance. Laura Dickens is sent into East Berlin to bring him out, together with a cache of photos of a new missile base. [more inside]
A British engineer specializing in missile engines goes missing in Cypress. Around the same time a Russian engineer specializing in guidance systems goes missing in Syria. Willie Caine is sent to Cypress to investigate after a SIS officer stationed in Cypress is gunned down. Meanwhile Burnside and Laura Dickens begin a relationship.
The Ministry of Defence asks the SIS to send a diver to investigate a Russian merchant ship that they suspect has been outfitted to launch espionage operations against NATO and French naval bases. Sir Geoffrey Wellingham asks the SIS to organize a coup in the middle east. A Russian defector walks into the British embassy in Ankara. Dickens, Caine, and Burnside are left with very little time to sort through murky and contradictory information about internal and external plots. [more inside]
After the deaths of two Sandbaggers, Burnside and Caine seek new agents for the special section. The only suitable new recruit, Laura Dickens, will be the first woman to be recruited as a Sandbagger. While shorthanded Burnside has to deal with two crises, as the #2 Algerian SIS officer is murdered in Gibraltar and Jeff Ross alerts Burnside possibility that the SIS may hae been compromise. The CIA has discovered that Colin Grove, a highly placed operations officer, has been seeing a psychiatrist that may be a KGB spy. [more inside]
The chief scientific advisor of the British government is spotted in Vienna when he is supposed to be on vacation in Scotland. While investigating the possible defection, Burnside attempts to get approval to assassinate an East African head of state in retaliation for the murder of British citizens.
Neil Burnside (Roy Marsden), The Director of Operations for the Special Intelligence Service, notices he's being tailed on his way to work. The tail turns out to have been set by the new chief of Norway's intelligence service, Lars Torvik, seeking to train his agents on MI6 personnel. Torvik asks for Burnside to assist in training his agents in exchange for intelligence the Norwegians are in the process of gathering. When the Norwegian operation goes wrong, Torvik asks the Burnside to put together a dangerous rescue mission in Soviet territory, but soon becomes frustrated by Burnside's apparent lack of action. [more inside]
The green light is given, and Esterhase's team moves in on Grigoriev. Will he help them unlock Karla's secret? Can George finally bring down his nemesis and redeem his career, his Western values, his very being? This is George Smiley's last chapter. [more inside]
George Smiley finally has the whole story, and now must work to put a plan in place. Circus Chief Saul Enderby takes Maude for a spin around the "garden," earning his cold shoulder from Part 4 and blessing him with his totally-deniable approval of the plan to snare Karla (as well as free access to the Reptile Fund). Commence file-digging with Peter Guillam, target-shadowing with Toby Esterhase, and totally ignoring Oliver Lacon at dinner. [more inside]
Sleepless and relentless, Smiley races across West Germany and finally tracks down Otto Leipzig. He's still a step behind Karla for now, but with a flurry of aliases and feints and a little—OK a lot of help from Peter Guillam (Michael Byrne) all of the bits scattered by the death of General Vladimir are finally being swept up into one place. [more inside]
George drinks his way through three interviews while piecing together the story that General Vladimir died trying to get to him. Bernard Hepton and Beryl Reid reprise their roles from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as Toby Esterhase and Connie Sachs, respectively, and then Smiley ventures overseas in search of Otto Leipzig and the Ginger Pig's confession. [more inside]
Straight from the briefing with Lacon, Strickland, and Mostyn, George steps out onto the Heath in the light of day and attempts to reconstruct the General's movements from the night before. Then, from the week before. He had two proofs. [more inside]
George Smiley is once again retired from The Circus, living peacefully in his Bywater Street home. But a letter from Paris sets in motion a chain of events that, once again, calls George back into the game. If a rogue elephant... charges at me out of the thicket of my past and gives me a second shot at it, I intend to shoot it dead—but with the minimum of force. [more inside]
Smiley springs his trap and then goes about picking up the pieces and putting The Circus back together. Poor George! Life is such a puzzle to you, isn't it? - Lady Ann
With a new light cast on the aftermath of Operation Testify—who told Jim Prideaux to forget it, man... forget it! and move on with his post-Circus life—George Smiley knows who in the Merlin/Witchcraft circle to approach first. But before he heads down that path, a bit of follow-up is in order with old-boy lamplighter and drunkard footie newsman Jerry Westerby. [more inside]
George Smiley conducts two interviews, first with old hand Sam Collins, the duty officer on the night Jim Prideaux was shot, then with Prideaux himself. Between the two testimonies a clearer picture is painted of the events of that night, the fateful, failed Operation Testify, as well as its fallout.
In search of more information about Operation Testify, George sends Peter back to The Circus for the archived file. Waylaid mid-operation by the three of them and Alleline, Peter is read in on and then interrogated about some ultra-ultra-sensitive Witchcraft material. Patrick Stewart makes a brief, silent, and rather intense appearance during Smiley's relation to Guillam of the time in Delhi when he met Karla in the flesh. [more inside]
Smiley sends Guillam to The Circus headquarters at London Station to covertly follow up on Ricky Tarr's story, while he visits Oxford to pick the brain of former Head of Research Connie Sachs. Connections begin to appear as they compare notes, and George fills Peter in on Merlin, Witchcraft, and Percy Alleline's insufferable angling for Control's chair. There are three of them, and Alleline. Control's words. [more inside]
Four men in a room quickly filling with smoke: George Smiley, newly un-retired right-hand man to The Circus chief, Peter Guillam, disgraced head Scalphunter for The Circus, Oliver Lacon, Intelligence Service overseer, and Ricky Tarr, officially absent without leave, on the Wanted list, recently resurfaced Circus spook extraordinaire. Ricky has a story he thinks might change all their lives. [more inside]
Two to six men in a room filled or quickly filling with smoke. There is terse, slow conversation, interrogations mostly, punctuated by short, uneventful drives on the streets of Cold War-era London. Spies! George Smiley (ret.), played elderly and formidable and ironically reticent by Sir Alec Guinness, looms and frowns at the goings-on and pieces together the legend of a mole, right at the top of The Circus. [more inside]
A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught in the international war on terror. As the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish his true identity: oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist? Philip Seymour Hoffman's last starring role. Based on John le Carré's novel.